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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming watchOS 7.4 update to public beta testers, with the new beta coming a few days after the release of the first developer beta.

applewatchse.jpg

The ‌watchOS 7‌.4 update can be downloaded after upgrading your iPhone to the public beta version of iOS 14.5. After installing iOS 14.5, the watchOS 7.4 software should show up as long as you have the Apple Watch profile installed. To update to the new software, the ‌Apple Watch‌ needs to have 50 percent battery life, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the ‌‌‌‌‌‌iPhone‌‌‌‌‌‌.

Alongside iOS 14.5, watchOS 7.4 introduces a new "Unlock with Apple Watch" feature that lets an iPhone with Face ID use an unlocked and authenticated Apple Watch as a secondary authentication measure when you're wearing a mask, alleviating the need to enter a passcode to unlock the iPhone.

iphone-apple-watch-unlock.jpg

Face ID does not work when wearing a mask, but this new Apple Watch feature provides an easy but still secure way to access the iPhone without the hassle of a passcode. It's similar to the Apple Watch unlocking on Mac and can be enabled in the Settings app under Face ID & Passcode.

An unlocked Apple Watch paired with Face ID can unlock the iPhone when a mask is worn, but it's only for mask usage. The Apple Watch cannot be used to authenticate Apple Pay or App Store purchases, nor can it be used to unlock apps that require a Face ID scan. In these situations, the mask will need to be removed or a passcode/password will need to be used instead.

iphone-apple-watch-unlock-2.jpg

When the Apple Watch unlocks the iPhone, you'll feel a haptic tap on the wrist and will receive a notification on the watch, similar to how it works when using the watch to unlock a Mac.

For those who use Apple Fitness+, the watchOS 7.4 update combined with iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 enables AirPlay 2 for Apple Fitness+, so workouts can be streamed to an AirPlay 2-enabled TV or set-top box. Apple Watch metrics do not show up on the screen when AirPlayed, however, and that feature is limited to iPhone/iPad/Apple TV.

watchOS 7.4 is going to be available in a beta capacity for several weeks, with Apple planning to release the update in the early spring.

Article Link: Apple Releases First watchOS 7.4 Public Beta With iPhone Unlocking Feature
 
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Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2003
1,087
127
Can't wait until I pull out my iPhone that waits for a response from my Apple Watch only to fail after 5 seconds like my MacBook does.
Agreed. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or what, but this happens all the time. They're like 6 inches from each other and still nothing.

I applaud any way to unlock with a mask, but this just makes it even more obvious that abandoning TouchID was a terrible mistake, IMO.
 
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coachgq

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2009
299
515
But it wasn’t a mistake they could see coming and personally, without the mask, I prefer faceID over touchID all day.
Agreed. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or what, but this happens all the time. They're like 6 inches from each other and still nothing.

I applaud any way to unlock with a mask, but this just makes it even more obvious that abandoning TouchID was a terrible mistake, IMO.
 
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windywalks

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2004
497
369
I've had the developer beta for a couple of hours now and I've had a slight delay maybe once or twice out of countless times I pulled the phone out of my pocket to unlock it with my masked face, iPhone 11 Pro Max and Watch Series 4 combo.
I'm totally on board with this solution - typing in my passcode felt like regressing back to the iPhone 4 times.
This brings back the comfort we've had in the first place.
 
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Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2003
1,087
127
But it wasn’t a mistake they could see coming and personally, without the mask, I prefer faceID over touchID all day.
I understand some like it, but it adds so much latency to getting into the phone. It's not a dealbreaker, but I can't think of a single advantage it offers over TouchID (at least for how I use my phone - I'm curious why you like it more). IMO it's what we have to put up with in exchange for an edge-to-edge screen, not a feature unto itself. With TouchID the phone is unlocked before it's even all the way out of my pocket. The speed is improved on the 12s, but it's impossible to compete with "already unlocked." Then the mask stuff happened and added an even more severe check in the Cons column.

Really hoping the iPhone 13 TouchID rumor is true.
 
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Peepo

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2009
1,071
509
I've had the developer beta for a couple of hours now and I've had a slight delay maybe once or twice out of countless times I pulled the phone out of my pocket to unlock it with my masked face, iPhone 11 Pro Max and Watch Series 4 combo.
I'm totally on board with this solution - typing in my passcode felt like regressing back to the iPhone 4 times.
This brings back the comfort we've had in the first place.
I have exact same combo as you - just installed public beta on both iPhone 11 Pro Max and watch series 4 and no issues so far.
 
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BC2009

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2009
1,978
355
I think it’s hilarious that this article points out that you cannot use your watch to unlock Apple Pay on the phone. If I am wearing my watch I am going to use that 100% of the time to pay at a terminal over using my iPhone — especially since Face ID made Apple Pay at a terminal way more awkward than Touch ID and then it went from awkward to unusable with masks.

Apple Watch is by far the best way to use Apple Pay. I still have people look in me in awe and say “you can pay with the Apple Watch?” because they have been paying with their iPhone “like an animal”.

Only time to use Apple Pay on the phone is when shopping on a website in safari that takes Apple Pay. So not very often.
 
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zaxxon72

macrumors member
Oct 5, 2007
69
32
but I can't think of a single advantage it offers over TouchID (at least for how I use my phone - I'm curious why you like it more)
I have apps that unlock functionality with additional authentication, e.g. banking.

So this app has a 'login' button that usually uses username+password but can be switched to Face/TouchID. I have two phones that I use the app on, a 12 and a 6s.

After hitting login on the 12, it opens immediately. on the 6s, I have to move my thumb down and wait for the authentication.

does this qualify for 'single advantage'? ;-)
 
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BranCracker

macrumors member
Oct 15, 2020
64
26
Canada
Just for unlocking eh? It'd be nice to have it authenticate the iPhone side button double-presses for stuff like the wallet; though I can understand the further security risks there haha
 
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saxman211

macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2010
258
58
Just on iOS 7? I hope they give this feature to all of the apple watches. I need this now....
 
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lhammer610

macrumors member
Aug 30, 2003
87
41
Lexington, VA
I would just be thrilled if my Apple Watch would unlock my Mac like it used to, and like Apple claims it does.

After three months of online support, still no fixes.
 
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Uccle

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2012
353
113
After playing around with this it is my impression that it only requires WiFi the first time you open your phone using this method (or after phone reboot, or maybe daily?). After that it works even with WiFi and cellular turned off on the watch. Phone does have to be connected to either cellular or WiFi tho' (works with WiFi off but not when in airplane mode). I haven't tried every variable 🙄 but it appears that if you have a WiFi only watch, use it once to open the iPhone when masked when you are connected to WiFi network and then leave the house (no WiFi connection) it'll work.
 
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tivoboy

macrumors 68040
May 15, 2005
3,301
306
Does this only work with devices that have FACE ID? or does it also work with devices that use TOUCH ID? My iphone 8+ doesn't seem to be able to enable either, on phone or watch to try this out.
 
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