iPhone 12

Apple is planning to further enhance its Face ID technology to assist iPhone users wearing masks and dealing with fogged-up glasses, according to a new report.

Noted Apple leaker John Prosser reckons the iPhone 13 will include a Face ID hardware update that will make it easier to unlock the handset even if the camera cannot fully see your face.

Via this FrontPageTech website (via MacRumors), Prosser said Apple has been testing the functionality among employees with an additional front-facing sensor array that’s been attached to the current iPhone 12.

In an image posted by Prosser today (below), that mocked-up external sensor shows the slightly narrower design that’s expected to contribute to a slimmer notch on the iPhone 13.

The report doesn’t say how Apple is planning to enable the technology to recognise the user’s face with so much of it obscured, so it would be interesting to see the company’s explanation should it.

It’s unlikely Apple would compromise the security of Face ID in any way, but ensuring the same level of protection when the phone cannot see the user’s mouth, nose or eyes would be inherently more difficult.

Face ID prototype John Prosser
Image credit: Jon Prosser / Front Page Tech

The report says: “Internally, Apple employees are being asked to wear masks AND glasses to test the new hardware. Some tests are conducted with masks on / masks off. Others are conducted with glasses on / glasses off while wearing a mask.”

Any prospective update would be unrelated to the Apple Watch workaround that enabled Face ID to remain functional for those wearing a mask, if the handset detects the user’s smartwatch in close proximity.

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Apple could, of course, bypass all of this by just adding an under-display fingerprint sensor as many of its rivals have done in recent years.

However, recent rumours have suggested Apple still isn’t ready to pull the trigger on the technology that would lessen the demand on Face ID if masks are here to stay.

Improved Face ID? or the return of Touch ID under the display? Which should Apple focus on? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.

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