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Masks and facial recognition

Masks and facial recognition

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Wearing a mask is a drag when you have a phone that unlocks with facial recognition.

It’s doubly a drag when you also use your phone multiple times each day to pay for things at stores and restaurants, which is exactly when you’d be wearing a mask.

My iPhone XS Max does not have a home button, so I can’t use my fingerprint to unlock the phone or activate Apple Pay.

When you can’t use your face or a fingerprint, Apple requires a passcode to unlock the phone or use Apple Pay.

When I set up my phone, Apple recommended a six-digit passcode to protect my login. My passcode had numbers from both sides of the number pad that comes up when you need to enter the code.

Because the phone is big, my thumb can’t quite reach from one end to the other, so I end up needing two hands to unlock the phone or pay for my iced tea at the convenience store.

Don’t ask me why, but I mess up entering that passcode about 1 out of every 4 times I try.

I think it’s because I always feel under pressure to enter the code quickly, especially when I’m paying at the grocery store.

There are online tutorials that try to teach us how to get an iPhone to recognize a face while wearing a mask.

I’ve seen some YouTube videos showing a person covering up the right half of their nose and mouth with a mask and doing the Face ID setup, and then covering the left half while setting up the alternate Face ID.

This didn’t work for me.

My iPhone kept telling me my face was obstructed and it wouldn’t complete the Face ID setup even once.

So, after setting up my Face ID with an unobstructed face, I decided to make things a little easier on myself and reset my passcode to one using numbers I can easily type with one thumb.

I can’t tell you how much this little change has improved my life. I kick myself for not thinking of this months ago.

You do have the option of a four- or six-digit passcode.

When you set up your passcode or want to change it, Apple will ask you to set a six-digit passcode, but you will see an option on that page to change the passcode option to set a four-digit code instead.

Now, I just have to remember my new passcode.


Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at

Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at

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