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It’s not just you – You can’t use the Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone 13 right now

Yes, you’ll have to use your PIN in the meantime.

apple iphone 13
Image: KnowTechie

Just so you know, if your Apple Watch isn’t letting you unlock your iPhone 13, it’s not just you. Apple knows that the “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature is broken on some iPhone 13 models, and promises a fix in an “upcoming software update.”

Apple added this handy feature earlier this year, to easily unlock your iPhone while you’re wearing a mask. Once set up, lifting your iPhone will turn on the screen, and also vibrate your Apple Watch so you know it’s been unlocked.

It seems that the feature doesn’t work on some iPhone 13 handsets, although Apple didn’t mention which models or even which software configurations it could be caused by.

It’s self-evident if your new handset is one of the affected ones though. Simply try unlocking your iPhone while the Unlock with Apple Watch feature is activated and see if your screen says “Unable to Communicate with Apple Watch” or not. You might not even be able to get that far if your iPhone 13 doesn’t let you set the feature up.

So far, it doesn’t appear to be an overall iOS 15 bug, as users of older iPhones say they can still use the feature (thanks, Gizmodo). Users of the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 Pro Max, and iPhone 12 Pro Max have all said it works on their devices.

If you’ve got an iPhone 13 and can’t use the feature, you’ll just have to wait until Apple fixes the glitch in a future software update. How long you’ll have to wait is anyone’s guess at this point. Until then, you’re advised to turn off the Unlock with Apple Watch feature and use your passcode to unlock your iPhone while you’re wearing a mask.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at

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