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How to unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch


Mar 31, 2022
Hardware Software 3Hardware Software 3

Modern MacBooks and even the latest desktop Macs have a Touch ID sensor on their keyboard, which is very useful for logging into your Mac or entering your password when performing system-level operations such as installing applications. It works well, but what about older Macs? Your Apple Watch may just be the next best thing.

Even on a Mac with Touch ID, your Apple Watch can be more convenient: it logs 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 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 later and watchOS 3 or later. That means almost any Mac introduced after 2014 and any Apple Watch, as long as you’ve updated the OS since 2016.

While almost anyone with a Mac and Apple Watch will meet the hardware and OS requirements, there are also some system settings you should check.

Check your device settings

You must have certain settings enabled to use Unlock with Apple Watch. Check the following three items:

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on on your Mac (System Preferences > Network & System Preferences > 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 enable the Unlock with Apple Watch feature. You may need to restart your Mac if you’ve made some changes.

Turn on Unlock with Apple Watch in System Preferences

Once you’ve set up all your settings, you can turn on “Unlock with Apple Watch” by opening System Preferences, clicking Security & Privacy, and checking the “Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac” box.

Apple Watch unlock System Preferences


Once you’ve done this, you can unlock your Mac just by being nearby with your Apple Watch on (your watch should already be unlocked). This works when your screen times out and turns off or switches to the screen saver, or when your Mac goes to sleep. If you restart or log out your Mac, you’ll need to type your password the first time you log in.

You can also use your Apple Watch to approve any macOS request that asks for your administrator password. For example, when unlocking a locked note, approving an app installation, or unlocking settings in System Preferences. You’ll get a prompt to approve with your Apple Watch, which will grab your attention with a bit of haptic feedback. Double-click the side button on your watch to approve the request. If you prefer to type in your administrator password, click the Use Password… button.

Apple Watch Security Popover


This post How to unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch

was original published at “https://www.macworld.com/article/625389/how-to-unlock-mac-apple-watch.html”

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