How to Unlock an iPhone With an Apple Watch

Unlock your iPhone with your watch even when wearing a mask

What to Know

  • Set up your iPhone to unlock via Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Unlock with Apple Watch.
  • Wear your Apple Watch near your iPhone for it to unlock automatically.
  • It only unlocks your iPhone. It doesn't verify your identity, which limits its capabilities.

This article teaches you how to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask using an Apple Watch and the limitations involved in using such a method. 

How Do I Unlock My iPhone With Apple Watch and Mask?

To unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch while wearing a mask, you'll need first to set up the feature via your iPhone. Here's how to do so.

  1. On your iPhone, tap Settings.

  2. Scroll down to Face ID & Passcode and tap it.

  3. Enter your iPhone's passcode.

  4. Scroll down to Unlock with Apple Watch and toggle it to the green on position.

  5. Tap Turn On.

    Steps required to enable unlock with Apple Watch on iPhone

Can You Use Apple Watch to Unlock iPhone?

Once you've set up your iPhone to unlock via your Apple Watch, it's simple to use your Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone. Here's what to do.

Your watch needs to be near to your iPhone and on your wrist as well as unlocked.

  1. Wear your Apple Watch on your wrist, and make sure you're also wearing a face mask.

  2. Wake your iPhone by raising it or tapping its screen.

  3. Look at your iPhone to unlock it. Slide up from the bottom to use it. 

What Limitations Are There When Unlocking an iPhone This Way?

While unlocking your iPhone using your Apple Watch, all while wearing a mask, is very convenient, there are some limitations associated with doing so. Here's everything you need to know about what's involved in using the method and what it doesn't enable you to do. 

  • You need to have a relatively recent iPhone and Apple Watch. iPhone X and later has Face ID support. Older iPhones can't be unlocked using this method because they don't support any form of facial recognition. Apple Watches older than the Apple Watch Series 3 can't update to the relevant watchOS to use the feature either. 
  • Your devices need to be up to date. Your iPhone needs to be running iOS 14.5 or later, with your Apple Watch running watchOS 7.4 or later. 
  • Security must be set up. Your Apple Watch needs to have a passcode, and you must switch on wrist detection.
  • You must be wearing things appropriately. Wear your Apple Watch on the correct wrist, and you must be wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • The first attempt requires a passcode. The first time you use this method each day or after any time you remove your watch, you'll need to enter your passcode on your iPhone. All subsequent attempts will unlock seamlessly.
  • The method only unlocks your iPhone. Using this method solely unlocks your iPhone. It doesn't verify your identity for use with Apple Pay, passwords stored in the keychain, or any password-protected apps.
  • You'll need to enter a passcode for certain features. To use the above features, you'll still need to use your iPhone passcode to do so. 
  • I bought a used Apple Watch and need to remove Activation Lock, but can't reach the previous owner. What do I do?

    First, make sure Activation Lock is the problem. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap All Watches, then tap the information icon (i). If Find My Apple Watch is an option, Activation Lock is indeed enabled on the Watch. If you have proof of purchase, Apple may be able to help; try submitting an Activation Lock support request. Some third-party online tools claim to remove Activation Lock; it's essential to thoroughly research these services and read user reviews before trying them.

  • How do I unlock an Apple Watch with an iPhone?

    To unlock an Apple watch with an iPhone, go to the Watch app on your paired iPhone, select Passcode, then toggle on Unlock with iPhone.

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