While many states are starting to get rid of mandatory mask-wearing requirements, Apple is trying to make an update that will allow iPhone users to unlock their devices while still wearing a mask.
Apple’s iOS 15.4 update hopes to make sure the feature can work without forcing the wearer to remove their mask, nearly two full years after the pandemic began.
However, this feature remains in beta testing and may not be available to the public for several weeks or even months.
A CNN tech reporter tried out the new Face ID feature with several different masks and found the experience to be “inconsistent.”
“Despite the fact that I unlocked the device incognito wearing sunglasses and a hat on the first try, this feat was also not repeated,” Samantha Murphy Kelly of CNN wrote.
People wearing masks are photographed in Times Square.
Masks have made it harder for users to unlock their iPhones.
“I was later told by Apple that the software update was designed to work with glasses, but might work with sunglasses in certain situations where Face ID could collect enough information to identify the user,” she added. “However, it is designed to work with a hat. The combination worked about half the time.”
Facial recognition software usually only works by combining several different facial features to create a consistent image.
A world where masks are worn all the time has forced Apple and other tech giants to focus on using only the eyes and nose.
Apple said that because Face ID with a mask uses less biometric information, there will be times when the user is not as easily recognizable as when their full face is visible, and so the user may be required to enter their passcode.
In 2021, the Apple Watch used a partial solution to allow people to authenticate themselves without losing their mask.
Most facial recognition software uses several facial features of a person to create a consistent image.
A CNN reporter is testing a new technology that allows you to open an iPhone while wearing a mask.
It comes just days after a senior California health official said he “expects” to be able to phase out the state’s controversial school mask policy in as little as two weeks.
The move will force the Golden State to join a growing list of blue states emerging from the ranks of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Masked Biden Administration — both of which have yet to budge despite a sharp drop in daily Covid infections across the country. .
“The disguise requirements were never set to be there forever… the question is not if. It’s just a matter of time,” said Dr. Mark Galy, secretary of the California Department of Health and Human Services.
Reports indicate that a decision could be made soon. Many California school districts have a week-long February break either this week from the 14th to the 18th or next week from the 21st to the 25th. It is possible that upon returning from a break next week, these mask requirements will be lifted.
Some other states are also starting to listen to calls from parents and the wider community. Connecticut and Massachusetts made plans to end mandatory school masks on February 28 last week.
Neighboring Delaware did the same last week. Ned Lamont, Connecticut’s governor, told Squawk Box last week that the northeastern states’ decision was made jointly.
Other states such as Illinois, New Jersey and New York also eased mask requirements last week but did not remove face coverings from schools.
Covid cases have been declining in all 50 US states over the past two weeks, with 46 of them halving over that period.
Oklahoma, Nebraska, is seeing the sharpest falls, with both daily infections dropping by more than 80 percent in the past 14 days. Oklahoma was one of the last US states to still maintain an upward trend during the Omicron surge.
In 17 states, cases have dropped by more than 70 percent in the past two weeks. These astronomical numbers are likely to start dropping soon as Covid cases start to reach such low numbers that they are likely to stabilize soon.
The deaths are finally starting to move in the right direction. The figure, which often lags cases by weeks, has recently leveled off and is now showing the first signs of a downward trend.
The US is currently averaging 2,365 Covid deaths per day, down six percent from last week. In recent weeks, this indicator has fluctuated in the range from 2400 to 2500, and now there are first signs that it will start to fall.
Only three US states still report more than one daily Covid death per 100,000 residents. Each is a southern state with low vaccination rates.
Mississippi continues to lead the nation in Covid deaths. The state of Magnolia records 1.76 daily Covid deaths for every 100,000 residents, by far the highest of any state. In addition, only 51 percent of residents were vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in the country.
West Virginia, where only 56 percent of residents are vaccinated, and Arkansas, which has a 53 percent vaccination rate, also have high Covid death rates.