How to Unlock Your iPhone with Your Apple Watch


Apple’s Face ID technology on iPhone doesn’t work unless users take off their masks. Luckily, those who have an Apple Watch can now unlock their iPhone just by waking it up.

Apple has recently released iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4, which comes with a nifty feature that lets you use your Apple Watch to unlock your Face ID-protected iPhone, even when you are wearing a mask. If you are tired of entering your passcode every time you need to use your iPhone, this simple integration will make it a lot simpler.

If you are interested, read on to learn how you can unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch in just a few steps.


If you wish to take advantage of Apple’s new “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You need an iPhone X or a more recent model (with Face ID support) and update it to iOS 14.5 or later.
  • You also need an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer with watchOS 7.4 (or later) installed.
  • The Apple Watch should be linked to your iPhone. Both devices also need to have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled.
  • You must have Wrist Detection enabled, and Passcode set up on your Apple Watch.
  • The mask you are wearing needs to cover both your mouth and nose.
  • Your Apple Watch has to be on your wrist and unlocked for the feature to work.

Set up “Unlock with Apple Watch” on your iPhone

As long as you meet the following conditions, setting up “Unlock with Apple Watch” is pretty straightforward. The following instructions will tell you how to do it:

  1. First, go to the Settings app from your iPhone Home Screen.
  2. Next, find and tap Face ID & Passcode on the main Settings page. You will then need to confirm your passcode to access the menu.
  3. Now scroll down to the “Unlock with Apple Watch” option and tap the toggle switch next to your Apple Watch’s name.
  4. If you don’t have Wrist Detection enabled on your watch, follow the on-screen prompts to turn it on.

That’s it! You have now successfully enabled the new “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature. Move on to the next section to learn how you can use it. 

Steps to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch

Once you have turned on the feature on your iPhone, here’s how you can unlock it with your Apple Watch:

  1. First of all, make sure you are wearing a mask, and you have your Apple Watch on your wrist and unlocked.
  2. Now wake your iPhone by tapping the screen or simply raising it.
  3. After that, look at your iPhone to unlock it as you would normally do, then swipe up from the bottom of the screen to start using it.

What you should know about “Unlock with Apple Watch”

The following feature is quite helpful for those who own an iPhone and an Apple Watch. However, it’s worth noting that the way it unlocks your device is less secure than Face ID since the feature doesn’t use it to recognize your face under a mask.

Apple’s workaround to this issue is simple. Your Apple Watch has to be on your wrist, and it should be within a few meters of distance to your iPhone.

Furthermore, whenever you use your watch to unlock your iPhone, it gives you haptic feedback and prompts you about the unlock. If you didn’t do it, simply tap the “Lock iPhone” button on your watch to lock your device. However, you will need to confirm the passcode on your iPhone the next time you wish to unlock it.

The warning message that appears upon enabling the feature

In our opinion, this feature does have a security trade-off, but it makes it far more convenient for users to unlock their iPhone without entering the passcode or taking their mask off for Face ID, especially amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, bear in mind that “Unlock with Apple Watch” works only for unlocking your iPhone. You will still have to verify your identity by either entering your iPhone passcode or using Apple Watch to make payments via Apple Pay and open password-protected apps.