How to set up my iPhone face recognition with a mask

In this guide, I will show you how you can set up your iPhone to work with a mask. Wearing masks is currently a necessity to remain safe but there are times when you might have to access your iPhone and it fails to identify you with a mask on.

Although the facial recognition software is good and it will work with these instructions, I found it is hit and miss and might not work every time. There are instructions below to get your iPhone to recognize you with a mask on.

How to set up my iPhone face recognition with a mask

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Face ID & Passcodes.
  3. Enter your pin.
  4. Scroll down and select Set Up an Alternative Appearance.
  5. Now you will need to put the mask on half of your face, like photo 1 below. Please note this might take a few goes. It is fine to hold the mask with your hand but try to keep the bridge of the nose and the other side of the face clear including half the nose and chin.
  6. Once you see the circle appear you can move your face around in circles until the iPhone confirms ‘First Face ID Scan Complete’
  7. Click continue.
  8. Now put the mask on completely but pull it down slightly on the nose, like photo 2 below. So that the upper part of the nose is not covered. Move the head in circles until the iPhone confirms Face Scan complete.
  9. You will now be able to unlock your iphone with your masked face.

Photo 1

Photo 2

iPhone warning that my face obstructed?

It is possible that you are getting this warning because part of the mask is covering the other side of the face or your hand is covering the lower part of the covered cheek. I found that by leaving half the side of the nose uncovered it worked smoother.

Are there any risks to setting your iPhone face recognition to work with a mask?

Yes, security is reduced and you use these instructions at your own risk. However, I am led to believe that the security risk is that members of your family with very similar eyes and bone structures might be able to open your iPhone. However, I am unable to test this.

iPhone and Covid dangers

With some models of the iPhone being able to be washed without causing harm and the fact the facial recognition software will identify you with a mask on, I believe this makes the iPhone X and above the best phones for use during covid.

However, I would advise that using your phone to make calls when your hands have been potentially exposed to the Covid virus could mean that you bring the virus close to your face. I am again unable to test this, but I would urge caution and recommend using a hand sanitizer.

What if the iPhone does not recognize my face whilst I am out?

Remember that you can always use the pin entry system by swiping up and double-tapping when you see the padlock.

Will my iPhone still remember me when I don’t have a mask on?

Yes, you should be able to set up two face IDs with the iPhone. If you have problems remember you can reset the iPhone face ID and start again.


I want you all to be as safe as possible and as we find ways to adapt to the new world we live in it is important to remember that talking on the phone in public places could be a distraction and put you in danger. But, if like me you use the phone to store your shopping list or pay for items then I hope this guide on how to set up your iPhone to work with a mask helped.

Please let me know in the comments below.

Add Comment