MTA Needs Apple’s Help to Unlock iPhones without Removing Masks

New York’s mass transit agency has a problem with iPhone users removing their masks on trains in order to unlock their phones, and it wants Apple to do something about it, according to the Associated Press. MTA officials are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus on buses and subways.

“We understand Apple is working to address the issue and know that Apple has a range of technologies at its disposal as a global leader among tech companies,” MTA Chairman Patrick Foye wrote in the letter to Apple. “We urge Apple to accelerate the deployment of new technologies and solutions that further protect customers in the era of COVID-19.”

Apple officials say there is nothing more important to the company than ensuring the safety of its customers. As a result of the pandemic, Apple released its iOS 13.5 in May that automatically shows the passcode field after the user swipes up from the bottom of the lock screen as an alternative to face ID, which obviously requires removing a mask. Apple Pay Express Transit also allows riders to pay with their iPhone or Apple Watch without waking the device, according to CBS News.

MTA officials have been concerned about ridership in recent months with a loss of more than 90 percent of its subway ridership since the pandemic began. However, more riders are now slowly returning to public transit. Despite this, officials say it will take years to make up for the loss.