Apple has confirmed that the iPhone 13 models launched this past weekend have a bug that prevents them from using the Unlock with Apple Watch feature.
After upgrading to iPhone 13 with iOS 15.0 (builds 19A341 or 19A346) customers are no longer able to use the feature to unlock their brand new iPhones while wearing a face mask and Apple Watch.
I was trying to get Unlock with Apple Watch working on my new iPhone 13 Pro Max all weekend long. The feature had been working without issue on my iPhone 12 Pro Max with iOS 14.8, Apple Watch Series 5 and 6, and watchOS 7.6.2. Thinking it was something that I did wrong, I posted a short video of the problem on Twitter.
Earlier this morning, I realized that I was not alone with my masked face plight. ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes complained of the exact same issue.
AppleInsider’s Mike Wuerthele noticed a new Apple support article confirming the Unlock with Apple Watch issue yesterday and that they will be releasing a fix ‘soon’.
Apple has identified an issue where Unlock with Apple Watch may not work with iPhone 13 devices. 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 Unlock with Apple Watch. This issue will be fixed in an upcoming software update.
Working in the IT field, I get it, software written by humans will have bugs. The problem with Apple lately, is that they seem so focused on pushing out new products and major software releases on an annual schedule, testing can sometimes fall by the wayside. In the worst case, which is also becoming more frequent in my opinion, a bug is never fixed.
For me, and possibly many of the people who were also upgrading to a new iPhone 13 last weekend, I found this a bit of a letdown and a lousy experience that my brand new out of the box iPhone was less capable than the iPhone it just replaced. During a weekend that I was excited for my new iPhone and family and friends wanted to see it, the impression that they were left with was that a $1,200 iPhone 13 Pro Max didn’t work as well as its successor. And that’s not a great customer experience during the iPhone 13 product launch.