Rumor: Apple is testing Face ID sensor that works with face masks for iPhone 13

Apple may be testing improved Face ID hardware for the upcoming iPhone 13. With those sensors, the face recognition function should work, among other things, when users wear masks or have fogged glasses on.

Jon Prosser of FrontPageTech writes that Apple is testing the sensors in a kind of prototype case for the iPhone 12, which contains the improved Face ID array. He emphasizes that this case has only been developed for internal testing purposes. The hardware used in these tests would match the Face ID sensors in the upcoming iPhone 13.

Apple employees are asked to try out the updated Face ID hardware, according to Prosser. According to the analyst, employees must set up Face ID without a mask on, and then test the facial recognition function with ‘obstructions’ such as masks and fogged glasses. So it is not the case that users have to set up Face ID with a mouth cap on for this to work.

Currently, Face ID does not yet work with mouth caps on. Apple previously released a feature that allows users to disable Face ID when wearing a face mask. Since iOS 14.5, iPhone users can also unlock their device via an Apple Watch. In the iPhone 13, these work-arounds may no longer be necessary, if the new Face ID hardware is indeed processed in that device. The iPhone 13 is expected to be released in September.

A render of the prototype case with the updated Face ID hardware. Image via FrontPageTech and RendersByIan