How to unlock your Mac computer with an Apple Watch using the ‘Auto Unlock’ feature

If you have a compatible watch and Mac, you can use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac computer.

caption
If you have a compatible watch and Mac, you can use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac computer.
source
Apple

You probably purchased your Apple Watch for its activity tracking, or to easily use Apple Pay. But its advancements are growing year by year.

Did you know that you can now unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch? Apple’s recent “Auto Unlock” feature allows you to unlock your Mac just by sitting down in front of it with the watch on your wrist, if you have compatible devices. Pretty cool, right?

If you want to try the new function for yourself, make sure you can answer “yes” to the following questions. Then, read on to learn all about “Auto Unlock.”

How to tell if you can use ‘Auto Unlock’

Are your devices compatible?

  • Your Mac must be running macOS Sierra or later and have been manufactured in 2013 or later.
  • If you have an original Apple Watch, or a Series 1 or 2, it must be running watchOS 3 or later.
  • Apple Watch 3 requires watchOS 4, and the compatible Mac must be running High Sierra.
  • Apple Watch 4 ships with watchOS 5 and also requires High Sierra on your Mac.

Are they signed in to the same iCloud account?

Make sure your Mac and your Apple Watch are signed in to the same iCloud account. You’ll also need to have two-factor authentication set up on your iCloud account (this is different from two-step authentication). This requires your iPhone to be running iOS 9 or later.

Do both devices have a passcode?

Ensure both devices have a passcode set up. If you don’t use Apple Pay, you may not have set one up for your Apple Watch. You can set a passcode using the Watch app on your companion iPhone.

Are you wearing your Apple Watch?

Make sure your Apple Watch is on your wrist and that it is unlocked. Your Mac will then be able to detect the device and turn on “Auto Unlock.”

How to turn on ‘Auto Unlock’ and unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch

Now that you know you have two compatible devices prepared, turning on “Auto Unlock” is a painless process:

1. Log in to your Mac.

2. Open to the Apple menu in the top left corner of your display.

3. Click “System Preferences.” It may also be pinned to your menu bar (it’s a grey gear).

Open your System Preferences.

caption
Open your System Preferences.
source
Christine Kopaczewski/Business Insider

4. Open “Security & Privacy.”

5. Click on the “General” tab at the top of the window.

6. Click the lock in the bottom left corner, enter your admin password and click “OK.”

7. Tick the box that has the description “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.” Note: if you don’t see this option, it’s because your Mac isn’t detecting your Apple Watch. Go through the preparation questions above.

Check the box that allows you to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch.

caption
Check the box that allows you to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch.
source
Christine Kopaczewski/Business Insider

8. You will now be able to unlock your Mac just by wearing your Apple Watch near your Mac.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech: