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Now anyone can try Apple’s Face ID with Mask and Universal Control – here’s how


Apple has launched the first public beta for iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3, giving anyone the chance to try two eagerly-anticipated new features.

The public beta for iOS 15.4, which arrived for developers earlier this week, brings support for the new Face ID option that accounts for people wearing face coverings.

The feature gives iPhone users the option to “use Face ID with a mask” and select a version of the biometric security feature that focuses on the eye area to identify the device owner.

The feature description explains: “Face ID is most accurate when it’s set up for full-dace recognition only. To use Face ID while wearing a mask, iPhone can recognise the unique features around the eye area to authenticate.”

It’s a long time coming for iPhone users who’ve struggled to use Face ID-centric features like Apple Pay while masked-up, but comes just as mask mandates are ending in many parts of the world.

For iPad and Mac users, there’s a special treat in the iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 public betas, although you’ll need both devices to really benefit.

These releases finally brings the long delayed Universal Control to proceedings, which, as the name would suggest, enables a Mac and iPad to be controlled with a single mouse/trackpad and keyboard. You can move the cursor across the two devices, with the iPad acting as an additional screen, while it’s also possible to quickly move content between the two devices.

So, you can illustrate on your iPad and move quickly to your MacBook and integrate it into your presentation. You can see Craig Federighi demonstrate Universal Control at WWDC last year, below. It also works if you’re using more than one Mac.

To get all of the public betas, you’ll need to sign up via Apple’s website. The Apple Beta Software program offers access to all of the public betas. You’ll need to sign-up using your Apple ID, install the relevant profiles on your devices and then install the update as you normally would.

Remember, you’ll be installing a version of the software running incomplete features, so you can expect bugs and glitches you might not see on the polished final releases.


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