Apple has made some changes to the iPhone 13 Face ID setup in terms of both hardware and software, and it is causing problems for some disabled and seriously ill users.
In particular, Face ID registration is failing when some owners are wearing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks – used by people with respiratory problems. This is despite the fact that Face ID copes just fine with similar masks on older iPhones, all the way back to the iPhone X…
Apple prides itself on its accessibility features, but a British man who wears a CPAP mask because of respiratory failure says something is wrong with the company’s more compact TrueDepth camera system, or iOS changes designed to protect against spoofing appears to have happened.
Apple user Colin Hughes with severe muscular dystrophy has to wear a mask for most of the day. He said that Face ID worked reliably for him with or without a mask, but that’s not the case with the iPhone 13 Pro.
I wear a CPAP nasal pillow ventilator mask, and from day one with the iPhone X, Face ID has never had a problem setting up and recognizing me with my mask. Always worked perfectly. The noise around the Covid mask passed me as I haven’t had a problem with my mask and many iPhones from 2017 to the present.
Now, I find myself with a 4-year-old iPhone X that will unlock my iPhone with no problem with my CPAP Nasal Pillow Ventilator Mask, and the latest and greatest iPhone 13 Pro that will unlock my iPhone with my face mask on. Refuses to set ID.
Apple is clearly tinkering with Face ID in light of the Covid mask, but it has come at a great cost to accessibility for people like me.
Trying to install a new face on iPhone 13 Pro it says “Face obscuring try to remove anything that might cover your face”. If I do this I will suffocate! I don’t have a plan B.
Some, like people with sleep apnea, only need to wear a CPAP mask throughout the night – but others either need to be worn the entire time or for most of the day. Hughes says he didn’t exactly feel comfortable sharing a photo of himself wearing a bed mask but decided to do so because he feels strongly about the issue, and hopes it will help Apple. Will motivate you to solve this issue.
The problem is not affecting all CPAP Mask users, although others have noted that training takes time.
Hughes has previously described how Apple technology helps people with severe disabilities, and how it doesn’t. Apple has worked with them on a number of issues, so hopefully, there is a software tweak that can restore functionality here. We have reached out to the company for comment.