How to use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac […]
Unlocking with the Apple Watch might be the most useful feature you don’t use.
Modern MacBooks and even the latest desktop Macs have a Touch ID sensor on the keyboard, which is very convenient for logging into your Mac or entering your password when performing system-level operations, such as installing programs. This works well, but what about older Macs?
Your Apple Watch is perhaps the next best solution.
Even on a Mac with Touch ID, your Apple Watch could be more convenient – it logs you in without touching anything! It’s like having Face ID on your Mac.
Here’s how to unlock your Mac by wearing your Apple Watch and how to use it to quickly approve macOS system requests.
What you need
Fortunately, almost every Mac and Apple Watch supports this feature these days. You need macOS Sierra or higher and watchOS 3 or higher. This means that almost every Mac introduced after 2014 and every Apple Watch will be supported, provided that the operating system has been updated since 2016.
Although almost everyone who owns a Mac and an Apple Watch meets the hardware and operating system requirements, there are some system settings that you also need to check.
Check your device settings
In order for you to use unlocking with the Apple Watch, certain settings must be enabled. Check the following three points:
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled on your Mac (System Settings > Network and System Settings > Bluetooth).
Your Mac and Apple Watch are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID, and your Apple ID uses two-factor authentication (System Preferences > Apple ID > Password & Security).
Your Apple Watch uses a passcode (watch app on your iPhone > Passcode).
If all these settings are correct, you should be able to activate the “Unlock with Apple Watch” function. You may need to restart your Mac if you have made some changes.
Enable unlocking with Apple Watch in System Settings
Once you have made all the settings, you can activate the “Unlock with Apple Watch” function by opening the system settings, clicking on “Security and Privacy” and checking the box “Use Apple Watch to unlock applications and Mac”.
Once you have done this, you can unlock your Mac by staying close to it with your Apple Watch (your watch must already be unlocked). This also works when your screen turns off or switches to the screensaver, or when your Mac goes to sleep. When you restart your Mac or log out, you will need to enter your password the first time you log in.
You can also use your Apple Watch to confirm any macOS request that asks for your administrator password. For example, when you unlock a locked note, approve an app installation, or unlock settings in the system Settings. You will receive a confirmation prompt with your Apple Watch, which will attract your attention with a little haptic feedback.
Just double-click on the side button of your watch to confirm the request. If you prefer to enter your administrator password, just click on the “Use password” button.
*Jason has been writing professionally about technology for over 20 years. His goal is to find out how complicated technologies work and explain them in a way that everyone can understand.