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How to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch

If you regularly wear a Covid mask or sunglasses, it soon gets tedious when your iPhone fails to unlock because your face wasn’t recognized by Face ID. But did you know that if you have an Apple Watch, you can use it to unlock your iPhone automatically when your face is partially covered? There are a few things you need to set up to make it work, which we will cover below. It’s well worth it and very convenient. It’s pretty much Face ID 2.0.

Read more: Apple Watch Series 7 vs. Series 8 — should you upgrade?


If you want to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch, your phone and watch must be compatible and paired. A passcode and wrist detection must also be enabled on your watch. Then when you lift the phone to your face, the watch will unlock it, provided the watch is unlocked itself.

How to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch

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It takes only a couple of minutes to set things up. Then you’ll no longer have to remove your sunglasses or Covid mask when wanting to unlock your iPhone with Face ID. Your Apple Watch will take care of business for you.


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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Let’s first take a look at the requirements for both the iPhone and the Apple Watch to make this work.

  1. Your iPhone needs to have Face ID activated. (iPhone X or later). It also needs iOS 14.5 or later.
  2. Your Apple Watch needs to be a Series 3 or later, with watchOS 7.4 or later.
  3. Both the Apple Watch and the iPhone need to be paired with one another.
  4. The iPhone and the Apple Watch need Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on.
  5. The Apple Watch must have a passcode, and wrist detection enabled. To enable wrist detection, go to Settings > Passcode on your Apple Watch, and enable Wrist Detection.
  6. The Apple Watch needs to be on your wrist and unlocked (the PIN must be entered.)

If your devices meet all of these requirements, move on to the next section.

How to set it up

On your iPhone, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode. Enter your passcode, and on the next screen, scroll down to Unlock with Apple Watch. Toggle on the name of your watch.

ios face id passcode apple watch

Assuming you did all of the requirements in the first section, toggling on the feature on the iPhone screen instantly activates it. From then on, if you are wearing a mask or dark glasses, raise your iPhone to your face. The phone will unlock, and you will get slight haptic feedback from the watch (a rapid double-click sound, like a rattling of dice.)

Read more: Apple iPhone 13 buyer’s guide — everything you need to know


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