The New York Public Transportation Agency would like Apple to come up with some way of unlocking phones that does not involve passengers lowering their masks to use Face ID, according to ABC News.
Face ID encountered some problems during the coronavirus novel pandemic, namely that is not really capable to identify users who have a mask. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs subways, buses and railroads in and around New York City, is concerned that passengers usually take off their masks to unlock their phones with Face ID, spraying breathing points everywhere, each of which may contain the virus.
MTA President Patrick Foye wrote his letter to Apple that he wants the company to come up with an alternative method it does not require the lower half of a human face to function, according to ABC and New York Post.
“Updates that enable users to unlock their phone while keeping their masks secure by covering their nose and mouth would be useful in all public spaces, not just public transportation,” Foye wrote. MTA, who may or may not be aware that all iPhones can already be unlocked with a four- or six-digit passcode, offered to promote whatever solution Apple comes up with through digital bulletin boards and billboards.
“There is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our customers,” Apple said. which solved and created this problem, said ABC News in a statement. “We are fully committed to continuing to work with the MTA to support their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
This might not have really become a problem if Apple had not Touch ID removed from many recent iPhone models after aggressively pushing Face ID as a next generation technology.
It is possible that Apple may come up with a version of Face ID that scans only the upper half of a user’s face (which is harder than it sounds) or bring back the Touch ID on future phones (which doesn’t really help anyone right now). There is also custom masks that’s supposedly compatible with Face ID, but their disinterested boredom outweighs any convenience related to the phone they can offer.
Alternatively, motorcyclists may realize that removing their mask to scan their phone potentially exposes them and others to the virus and there is probably more time than typing in the passcode. But really, do not rely on it.