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How to unlock your iPhone without a PIN or face recognition

There are times when your iPhone’s face recognition utterly fails and you have no free fingers to tap in a PIN. For example, this can happen when you’re wearing a mask and need to unlock your phone quickly. Or, perhaps you’re at an amusement park, the sun is baking your brain, your sunglasses are on so your eyeballs don’t melt, and your iPhone has no clue who you are. Wonderful.

In this guide, we show you how to unlock your iPhone without a PIN or face recognition. It’s a neat trick that makes the iPhone enter your PIN for you after speaking a command. This method should never entirely replace face recognition or entering a PIN manually, but it’s helpful when you’re out and about.

This guide is based on the iPhone X and iOS 13.6.

Set up voice control

Chances are your iPhone doesn’t even have Voice Control turned on. Follow these steps to get started.

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Scroll down and tap Accessibility. It’s located just under General.

Step 3: Scroll down and tap Voice Control. It’s located in the Physical and Motor section.

Step 4: Toggle on Voice Control or tap Set Up Voice Control if you’ve never used this feature.

Create the command

The tricky part will be emulating the way you enter the PIN. When you get to that point, the screen goes black, so there are no numbers. The best advice here is to first clean the screen, eat a plate of chicken or greasy fries, and then unlock your phone with a PIN using your nasty fingers. Press hard so you get nice, thick smudges you can see.

Once you’re asked to emulate your PIN entry gesture, angle the phone until you can see those fingerprints, and then tap in those spots.

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Scroll down and tap Accessibility. It’s located just under General.

Step 3: Scroll down and tap Voice Control. It’s located in the Physical and Motor section.

Step 4: Tap Customize Commands.

Step 5: Tap Custom on the following screen.

Step 6: Tap Create New Command.

Step 7: Type the phrase you want to speak and then tap the blue Done button.

Step 8: Tap Action shown on the same screen.

Step 9: Tap Run Custom Gesture.

Step 10: Emulate your PIN entry by tapping on the black screen.

Step 11: Tap Stop in the bottom right corner to complete the recording.

Step 12: Tap Save in the top right corner to save this gesture.

Step 13: You return to the Action screen. Tap New Command in the top left corner to go back.

Step 14: Tap Save.

Disable the command

You can keep the command stored in an iPhone and simply toggle off Voice Control when it’s not needed.

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Scroll down and tap Accessibility. It’s located just under General.

Step 3: Scroll down and tap Voice Control. It’s located in the Physical and Motor section.

Step 4: Toggle off Voice Control.

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