You might know about Apple’s feature that lets you automatically unlock your iPhone using the Apple Watch (when you’re wearing a face mask, at least). But you may not have known that this feature has also existed for years on the Mac. As long as you’re wearing your Apple Watch — and it’s unlocked — you can sign in to your Mac user account without even pressing a button. Just lift up the lid of your MacBook (or otherwise wake up your Mac) and your user account will automatically unlock.
Which Macs and Apple Watches can use this feature?
Of course, the “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature doesn’t work for all Macs — and even those that are supported will only work if some system requirements are met.
You need to:
- Enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your Mac
- Use two-factor authentication on your Apple ID
- Give your Apple Watch a passcode
You also need to be using a Mac that was released after mid-2013 and is running macOS Sierra or higher. (You can check your Mac’s compatibility from Apple > About Your Mac. Go to System Report > Network > Wi-Fi, and look for the “Auto Unlock: Supported” entry to confirm.)
How to enable the Apple Watch unlock feature for Mac
The feature can be enabled on individual Mac user accounts. Click the Apple icon in the top menu bar, and choose the “System Preferences” option. Here, go to the “Security & Privacy” section. From the “General” tab, check the “Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac” option.
Mac will ask you to enter your system password. Enter it and click the “Unlock” button — and just like that, the feature is enabled.
The next time you lock and unlock your Mac, you’ll see the “Unlocking with Apple Watch” text instead of the usual password field.
Once this feature is enabled, you’ll be able to approve requests and log in to apps using your Apple Watch, as well. When prompted for a login, you’ll see the request on your Apple Watch. Just double-click the Side button to approve the request without typing in the password.