Update: Apple is working on a fix for iPhone 13 unlocking the Apple Watch, which should be addressed in iOS 15.1 beta. It's not clear when this iOS update will be available to all
The iPhone 13 has only been on sale for a little bit, but already it’s facing some issues. First we learned that the ProMotion display on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max wasn’t always running at 120Hz, though there’s a fix from Apple on the way that should help.
And now we’re learning that the iPhone 13 series isn’t working properly with ‘unlock with Apple Watch.’ And this is strange because it appears the iPhone 12 and older iPhones are not affected at this time.
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As reported by The Verge, Apple has identified an issue where the “unlock with Apple Watch” feature might not work with the new iPhone 13 devices. This is according to a note on Apple’s own support page.
The page details that “you might see ‘Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch’ if you try to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask.” Or you might not be able to set up the feature at all.
A popular thread on Reddit was one of the first sources online that flagged this iPhone 13 problem, with one user saying that fully resetting your iPhone can fix the issue.
Apple says that the iPhone 13's unlock with Apple Watch issue will be fixed in an upcoming software update, but no timetable has been given. For now, the company says “you can turn off Unlock with Apple Watch and use your passcode to unlock your iPhone 13.”
Our iPhone 13 review was largely positive, but we've pointed out that the lack of Touch ID is a flaw for the new iPhone. We wish that Apple would have added Touch ID support in the power button, as it has done in the iPad mini 6, or included an under-display Touch ID sensor.
As someone who is wearing a mask right now while traveling, having to punch in a passcode each and every time I want to unlock the iPhone 13 is annoying.
Here’s hoping a fix for this issue is released soon.
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Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.