The iPhone 13 series of phones has just launched, but it appears to break one of the neatest forms of communication between Apple’s phones and the Apple Watch.
Apple’s Unlock with Apple Watch feature, where the Watch is used to keep your phone unlocked, is not working for many users. The problem is widespread enough for Apple to address it on its own support pages, as noted by MacRumors.
If you try to unlock your iPhone 13 with an Apple Watch, you may see an “unable to communicate with Apple Watch” error message.
Apple’s advice, for now, is pretty basic: turn off Unlock with Apple Watch. This is done in the Face ID & Passcode section of an iPhone 13’s settings menu. However, Apple does say an “upcoming software update” will address the problem.
As launch issues go, this iPhone 13 blooper is minor. The series has a new Apple A15 Bionic processor and may have entirely different wireless chips inside too, even if the standards it supports are the same. New hardware and software rarely come without issues that need fixing.
Apple has not announced a date for the fix, but as with small fixes for big releases, it is unlikely to take long.
The Unlock with Apple Watch feature was introduced as a way to let Face ID appear to work seamlessly even if you’re wearing a face mask. It uses the watch as a security key of sorts, as a replacement for the full face scan, it can’t make when there are three layers of cloth covering your mouth.