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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple is currently testing new Face ID hardware that could allow users to unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask or foggy glasses, according to leaker Jon Prosser.


Render of the upgraded Face ID prototype case.

Via his website, Prosser explained that Apple is testing more advanced Face ID hardware using a case that fits snugly around an iPhone 12. The case allows the iPhone to bypass its built-in Face ID system to use that of the case instead.

Prosser believes that the prototype Face ID array matches the exact layout depicted in CAD files of the iPhone 13 from earlier this year. This is because the prototype Face ID hardware in the case is considerably narrower than that of the iPhone 12, which would line up with the slimmer notch that is expected on the iPhone 13 models.

The external Face ID hardware was apparently needed due to large-scale tests that were being performed to collect as much data as possible. This is said to have allowed Apple to give a large number of employees new hardware without distributing an unreleased iPhone.

Participating employees were asked to wear combinations of face masks and glasses in a range of conditions to test the new hardware. Employees were simply asked to perform the tests but were not told what specific changes had been made to the Face ID sensor array in the case.

The new hardware reportedly allows iPhones to unlock with Face ID while wearing a mask, without the aid of an Apple Watch, and with foggy glasses.

While Prosser highlighted the striking similarity of the case's Face ID hardware with the expected smaller notch on the upcoming iPhone 13, it is not clear if this improved Face ID will arrive with the iPhone 13 or a future iPhone model.

The tests were apparently conducted recently, so Prosser suggested that if the improved Face ID is not immediately available with the iPhone 13, it could be introduced with a later software update.

Prosser elected to not share the images of the alleged prototype unit due to identifying marks found on it and shared a number of renders based on the images instead.

Article Link: iPhone 13 May Feature Upgraded Face ID That Works With Masks and Foggy Glasses
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Reactions: AmazeSE and Apple$


macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2009
Midwest, USA
So… we’ll need that giant case on top of the phone to unlock it? Or that was just for internal testing? I sincerely hope the latter
It's for testing. This allowed for many Apple employees to help test new hardware without having to hand out prototype iPhone 13 models to everyone. Hence the article saying "large scale tests." It seems multiple people in the comments here didn't even read the post.


macrumors member
Sep 19, 2013
But the pandemic (and thus the need for masks) will magically end in 2022 once everybody gets vaccinated, right? 🙄 Just kidding. Masks and COVID itself will be here to stay (in all its mutated forms) thanks to the misinformed and downright selfish anti-vaxers who plague this country.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 15, 2012
The fact that this can't be done in software coupled with the R&D investment in hardware suggests that there is no intention to relegate mask-wearing to the dumpster of history.

Not sure who’s supposed to “relegate” and have “intentions” here.

The only thing that needs to be relegated to the dumpster of history is the virus itself and people that stubbornly helped the virus spread along the way.

Mask-wearing and other mitigations are not something you can negotiate with the virus (it doesn’t care about people’s feelings apparently) or just end because “it’s been too long”.

Good that Apple looked into a way to adapt to a masked world. Would have been dumb not to. Let’s hope it won’t be needed for much.


macrumors 6502
Nov 17, 2015
iPhone 13 is in FULL production, if they are TESTING this right now, next year it might come… Prosser, what are you talking about?
I think that since the hardware is locked , that theyre just training the new face id algorithm, the testing case around the ip12 has the same array as the iphone 13 CADs so maybe the new hardware is already there


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