iPhone 13 Users Experiencing ‘Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch’ Bug With Mask Unlocking

My wife got an iPhone 13 on Friday and the move from her iPhone XR was smooth except for one thing, She lost the ability to unlock her brand new iPhone 13 using her Apple Watch because she wasn’t able to enable the feature. When she tried, she got this error:

Un-pairing and re-pairing her Apple Watch didn’t help. But the watch worked otherwise. I figured that this wasn’t an isolated issue and a trip to Reddit confirmed that. This appears to be a very widespread issue and a real black eye on Apple as they market this feature as something that allows Face ID users to unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask. Something that is kind of important seeing as the planet is in the middle of a global pandemic. It took until Sunday for Apple to acknowledge the issue. But the fact they admitted that they had a problem is a good first step because Apple usually doesn’t acknowledge that they have problems. In any case, this will be fixed in a future software update.

If you can’t wait until the software update to come, another option is this one. Which for the record, I consider to be bordering on a nuclear option:

  1. Backup iPhone using iCloud or Mac or PC
  2. Unpair your Apple Watch
  3. Connect iPhone to your Mac or PC and restore your iPhone.
  4. Restore the backup that you made in step 1
  5. Pair your Apple Watch with iPhone.
  6. Activate unlock with Apple Watch.

I broached this option with my wife and she opted for the software fix whenever that appears. Which for iPhone 13 users can’t come soon enough seeing as iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max users who bought phones because of the 120Hz display discovered that non-Apple apps can’t take advantage of that. Apparently there will be a software fix issued for this, but developers also have to do some work on their end. And that was on top of the fact that Apple had to push out another software update on launch day to fix some other issues. Clearly Apple had a bunch of issues slip through QA which creates a negative user experience for all those who just got a brand new iPhone 13.

UPDATE: Apple released iOS 15.0.1 on Friday October 1st which fixes this bug. I have confirmed this with my wife’s iPhone 13.

2 Responses to “iPhone 13 Users Experiencing ‘Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch’ Bug With Mask Unlocking”

  1. […] on Sunday said that this bug which was plaguing iPhone 13 owners with Apple Watches would be fixed in “in an upcoming […]

  2. […] or will admit to. I’m not going to do that as that was the suggestion for people who had the unlock with Apple Watch issue and they fixed that in this update that hit the streets yesterday. So I fully expect Apple to come […]

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