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Monday, September 25, 2023

Inside MacOS: Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch

Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch just by sitting in front of your computer.

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Apple Watch isn’t all about fashion or tracking fitness or your heartbeat. You can unlock your Mac without the need of entering your password for a very convenient workflow. How it works is that your Mac can sense when you are nearby and automatically logs you in . With the soon to be released iOS 14.5, you can also unlock your iPhone using Face ID even if you’re wearing a face mask.

Before you begin

Before you start to use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac, make sure that you are using a Mac from 2013 or later and is running macOS Sierra or later and all models of Apple Watch running watchOS 3 or later. Newer Apple Watches need watchOS 4 or higher. Also note that your Mac must have WiFi and bluetooth turned on.

You have to ensure that you enable two factor authentication on your iCloud account. This is an extra layer of protection Apple employs to make sure your computer is as safe as it can be. Both the Apple Watch and your Mac should also be signed in to the same iCloud account and both have a passcode. Two factor authentication is the newer version to the previous two-step iCloud verification.

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To find the model year of your Mac, click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your computer, then choose About This Mac. The year your Mac was made is listed next to the model. You can also go to the Apple Menu > About This Mac, then click System Report. In the sidebar, in the Network section, click WiFi, then look on the right for “Auto Unlock: Supported“.

Enable Auto Unlock on your Mac

Once you’ve ensured your system meets the needed requirements, you are ready to setup Auto Unlock. This feature is not enabled by default but setting it up is very easy.

Enable Auto Unlock on your Mac

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  1. Click on the Apple menu > System Preferences > Security and Privacy. If the lock at the bottom left of the menu is locked, click it to unlock the preference pane.

  2. Click on General, then select Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac. If you have watchOS 3, 4, or 5 installed, the option becomes Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. (You can’t approve app requests.)

Using Auto Unlock

After enabling the above, using your Mac gets away with the tedious process of entering your password or placing your finger on the Touch ID. We believe it is a more secure way of logging in as entering your password in a public place has the chance for others to see what you’re typing.

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When your Mac is asleep, simply press any key on your Mac or lift your Apple Watch as if you were checking the time. The watch will confirm that the computer has been unlocked.

For newer Apple Watch users, there’s an added feature of authenticating apps to view passwords, unlock notes, or preferences and approve app installations. Just double click on the side button of your Apple Watch to approve the task request.

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