Unlock Your Mac With Your Apple Watch

With Sierra and watchOS 3 you can set up your Mac so it unlocks automatically for you while you are wearing your Apple Watch.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Unlock Your Mac With Your Apple Watch.

So there is a handy new feature for users that have a Mac running Sierra and you've got an Apple watch that's running OS 3, the latest version that just came out.

You can unlock your Mac instead of entering your password you're watch does it automatically.

Now there are a lot of catches. For instance, you have to be using two factor authentication with your Apple ID. NOT two step authentication which is the older version that Apple had and still has both. But two factor authentication and you've set everything up correctly then it can work. It's kind of tricky.

So you set it up in System Preferences. It's actually only in one spot in System Preferences under Security and Privacy. Under General you've got Allow Your Apple Watch to Unlock your Mac. Now you may or may not see this present. Everything has to be setup just right.

So you have to have two factor authentication turned on and that should appear. Sometimes people report that even if you've turned on two factor authentication recently you need to restart your Mac before you'll see this and even after restarting it might take a few minutes for it to show up as certain checks are done before it actually shows you this in System Preferences.

But when this does happen there's really no other setting for it. You sit down at your Mac which is asleep, you hit the space bar to wake it up and instead of getting your password prompt you'll get a sound from your Apple watch and a message like this that shows your machine was unlocked by your Apple watch.

If it doesn't work you might get a message saying that your Apple watch hasn't been signed into yet because you haven't entered in your passcode yet today or logged in with your iPhone or some other message. You simply have to enter your password as before. So the worst case scenario is you have to do exactly what you did before, enter in your passcode on your Mac. The best case scenario is your Mac unlocks for you automatically every time you sit down at your desk.

For more information you can go to this Apple support page which has some more details and troubleshooting tips.

Comments: 3 Responses to “Unlock Your Mac With Your Apple Watch”

    3 years ago

    I tried all the fixes that I could find on the web, but just couldn’t get the “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac” box to appear on my iMac. After wasting a couple of hours on this, I called Apple Support. It took them another 40 minutes or so, but they finally sent me a “.mobileconfig”link I had to install on my iPhone. Even then the iMac wouldn’t show the option, so I was told to put the watch on the charger for 15 minutes or so. Afterwards, it appeared and I activated it.

    Mr. Luigi
    3 years ago

    I love this feature. Unfortunately, if your Mac is older than a 2012 model, this functionality won’t work. I believe this is because of the Bluetooth version used in those older machines.

    Mr. Luigi
    3 years ago

    Whoops, I meant to say “older than a 2013 model.” My bad.

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