How to update to iOS 13.5 and unlock your phone with a face mask on

Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored
Wed May 20, 2020

Apple is rolling out iOS 13.5, which provides a partial solution to unlock your iPhone and iPad while wearing a face mask.

We say "partial" because you still can't use Face ID to unlock your device with a mask on. However, it will detect you're wearing a mask and immediately present an option to swipe up to unlock with a passcode.

This should make the task of getting into your iPhone or iPad while wearing a face mask much less of a chore. Currently, you have to wait for Face ID to fail a few times before it presents you with a passcode option.

This update essentially fast tracks the unlock with passcode option.

Additionally, Apple threw in fun new Memoji stickers, along with an update to iCloud Drive file sharing. Among other new expressions, you can use your Memoji to celebrate with confetti and a party blower, or express your frustration with steam coming from your nose. Apple even added the option to show an emotion behind a Mac laptop. Fun stuff.

Fortunately, updating is quite simple.

Unlock your device and navigate to the Settings app. The app is likely on your home screen — it looks like a series of gears. Then scroll down the list and tap the General option (it also has a gear next to it). On the next screen, near the top, select Software Update.

Once in Software Update, your phone will check for an update and then present you with a description of iOS 13.5. You can then tap Download and Install to start the process. You'll be prompted to enter your passcode, after which the update will download to your iPhone or iPad.

After it's done, it'll prepare the update — this may take a few minutes. It will even present you with an estimated time frame.

You'll know the preparation is done when the Install Now option shows up. Tap it and you can immediately install the update or choose to install it later.

Once again, this doesn't fully solve the problems face masks present to unlocking your iPhone. But this new swipe option is a big step in the right direction.

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