Just a day after its release of iOS 15.3, Apple’s begun the beta cycle again. The first beta release of 15.4 dropped for developers early this afternoon. The new features are mainly geared toward developers, but a handful will be tremendously helpful for the general public. For example, iOS 15.4 will allow folks to use Face ID with a mask even without an Apple Watch.
Use Face ID With a Mask Even Without Apple Watch
For some time, Apple Watch owners could unlock their phones even while masked. New to iOS 15.4, though, is a feature allowing you to use Face ID with a mask even if you don’t have an Apple Watch.
As noted by Twitter user Brandon Butch, Apple has changed Face ID to account for masks. A new setup screen notes that the biometric feature is “most accurate when it’s set up for full-face recognition.”
Well this is new 🤔 (iOS 15.4 Beta 1) pic.twitter.com/MSe7hmPGlR
— Brandon Butch (@BrandonButch) January 27, 2022
However, users will be able to set up their iPhones to instead recognize “the unique features around the eye area” to unlock their device.
Another option allows iPhone owners to set up Face ID with their eye glasses, for those who wear different frames at different times. Since it needs to see the eyes, though, Face ID can’t be configured to work with sunglasses.
Digital Vaccination Records for the EU
Also new in iOS 15.4 beta 1, verifiable health records in HealthKit now support adding vaccination records in the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) format. This allows users to store their vaccination records in the Wallet and Health apps.
Apple does note that, at least in this beta build, EU Digital COVID Certificates issued by Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Cape Verde, North Macedonia, and Palestine currently can’t be verified or added to Wallet.
Should I, or Shouldn’t I (Install This Beta?)
We rarely recommend users install beta software, especially on their “daily drivers.” This is especially true with first beta builds. In fact, the release notes for the iOS 15.4 beta already note issues with Home, Messages, Health, and iCloud.
It’s probably best to wait to jump on this beta bandwagon until a couple more builds come out.