Apple's Face Id has come to be an enormously popular feature since its introduction on iPhone offering more secure security for performing a number of tasks and transactions including unlocking of phones to performing purchases from iTunes Store, App Store as well as payments with Apple Pay. Thanks to an array of TrueDepth sensors contained on the iPhone's notch, the depth-perception 3D technology makes face unlock more secure by identifying the position of facial features like the eyes, nose, chin with pinpoint accuracy.
However, in a pandemic-stricken world where many people are required to wear protective face masks, users have discovered Face ID cannot function with the same accuracy as those masks interfere with the iPhone's ability to identifying faces. Information hints that the release of the next iOS update iOS 13.5 might change that. Among other things, the beta introduces new Face ID behaviour when users are wearing protective masks. Apple hasn't come up with some magical way to make the phone read your face through the mask, of course. Rather, the update fast-tracks you to passcode entry.
Right now, picking up the iPhone to use results in a quick scan with the front-facing TrueDepth sensor to allow user access the phone's content. If the face is obscured, the iPhone will detect Face ID recognition is likely to fail. After Face ID times out, a passcode entry screen will appear prompting the user to swipe up and enter passcode instead.
The iOS 13.5 beta skips a step. Now, it will give the option to swipe up and enter a passcode without waiting on Face ID to finish failing. This is especially important for Apple Pay; contactless payments are a good way to minimize direct contact during the pandemic, but Face ID made them something of a hassle for mask-wearers.
Although it does not sound quite exciting, the end result is your phone prompting you to use the passcode unlock much faster, rather than waiting while it attempts to unlock using FaceID. It will save you a precious few seconds with every pickup.