The installation of iOS 14.7 can paralyze the automatic unlocking of the Apple Watch by the iPhone. Only iPhone models with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner are affected, as Apple announced. These include, for example, iPhone SE 2020, iPhone 8 and older model series. Newer top-of-the-range models rely instead on Face ID, which means that the parallel unlocking of a paired watch still seems to work.
Affected users have to type in the code to unlock the watch by hand, Apple explains. An upcoming software update will remove the bug. Anyone who has forgotten the four or six-digit device code for the watch must reset the watch and set it up again.
Problems with company iPhones possible
However, the workaround may not work for iPhones that are managed by the employer using Mobile Device Management (MDM). If the MDM profile requires the use of an alphanumeric password on the iPhone, the watch must be unlocked via the smartphone – the Apple Watch itself does not support entering alphanumeric passwords when unlocking.
Accordingly, those affected only have to ask their administrator to remove the specification of an alphanumeric iPhone password, like Apple in a support document that is now also available in German. Only then can the watch be decoupled, deleted and replaced. In this case, however, it makes more sense not to install the problematic operating system update in the first place: admins can postpone importing them to managed iPhones, Apple notes. iOS 14.7 should close critical security gaps, however, the manufacturer has not yet given the details.
A reason for the bug was not listed. iOS 14.7 brings a new security feature when unlocking the watch via iPhone: The automatically unlocked watch can now be locked again directly from the iPhone via a notification.