iOS 16 is getting this handy Face ID upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

Apple's WWDC 2022 was filled with major updates. The keynote alone unveiled iOS 16, macOS Ventura, iPadOS 16 and watchOS 9 alongside a brand new Macbook Air 2022 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022. What Apple didn't announce during the keynote was a cool new Face ID feature: it will work in landscape on iOS 16.

This feature is set to be a major benefit for iPhone users, who between watching Netflix or Disney Plus or playing their favorite games, spend a lot of time with their phone tilted sideways. With this update to Face ID, iOS 16 users can add unlocking their phone and making payments to the list of things their iPhone can do in landscape. Currently in iOS 15, you have to orientate your iPhone vertically to use Face ID, which can be disruptive if you’re using it with some form of game controller attachment, for example, the Xbox Wireless Controller

There could be one slight catch. On its iOS 16 preview page, Apple states that this update to Face ID only works with supported iPhone models. Unfortunately, that description is purposefully vague. That probably means that using Face ID in landscape will work on any iPhone that has the Face ID sensors in the infamous display notch. (iOS 16 will work with the iPhone 8 and newer models.) But, there may be other limiting factors that prevent specific models from using this feature that we do not know yet.

Still, for those who have a supported iPhone, this small quality of life feature should be a welcome addition — especially for mobile gamers. Mobile gaming has never been better, especially with controllers such as the Razer Kishi making it so easy to enjoy gaming on the go. Apple is even rumored to be working on its own gaming controller, which would likely operate with the phone in landscape orientation.

The benefits are not just limited to mobile gamers. Apple is updating its Apple Maps navigation system in iOS 16 to allow users to refill transit cards in their wallets directly from the Maps app. This is a feature that will likely require Face ID, and now users will be able to use it while keeping their Maps open in landscape rather than needing to rotate.  

FYI: iOS 16 adds support for Nintendo Switch controller connectivity. And here are 5 surprising things Apple just revealed about the iOS 16 Lock Screen

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.