While CPAP mask treatment is most well known for being the standard treatment of sleep apnea—which usually occurs outside of regular phone usage hours and doesn’t figure into the Face ID issue—many people stricken with more serious illnesses are confined to CPAP around the clock, rather than just at night.
The modern iPhone’s TrueDepth camera technology works by casting thousands of “dots” onto the user’s face using a dot projector, which are then captured by an infrared camera in the front for pinpoint accuracy in identification.
I wear a CPAP nasal pillow ventilator mask, and since day one with the iPhone X, Face ID has never had an issue setting up and recognising me with my mask on. Always worked perfectly. The noise surrounding Covid masks passed me by as I simply didn’t have a problem with my mask and several iPhones from 2017 to present.
Apple has clearly been tinkering with Face ID in light of Covid masks but it’s come at great cost to accessibility for people like me. In trying to set up a new face on the iPhone 13 Pro it says “Face obscured try removing anything that maybe covering your face.” If I do that I will suffocate! I don’t have a plan B.
Apart from the upgraded hardware on the iPhone 13, Apple has also been toying around with the software during the pandemic in order to allow iPhones to more easily Face-ID mask wearers. That seems to have backfired for people like Hughes, however, who have to wear these larger masks to maintain proper respiratory function.