When Apple announced macOS Sierra and showed us all the new features that would be included, there was one feature that stood out immediately as one that I would use many times every single day... unlocking my Mac with my Apple Watch! To say that I love this feature is an understatement.
If you read my post on improving security (click here), then you know that longer passwords are better (i.e.: more secure) than shorter passwords. The expected side effect... it's less convenient and takes longer to log in to your Mac. This tip will save you a ton of time (not to mention digit fatigue)! In this post, I will explain how it works and walk you through the steps you'll need to go through to make it work for you.
First, there are 4 requirements:
- your Mac must be running macOS Sierra (10.12)
- your Apple Watch must be running watchOS 3
- your Mac needs to be mid-2013 or later
- you need to have an iCloud account
If you meet those 4 requirements, then you're good to go! Keep reading.
Before we can use our Apple Watch to unlock our Mac, we need to enable two-factor authentication on our iCloud account (click here for more information on two-factor authentication). There are two ways to enable two-factor authentication:
- on your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details
- on your iPhone, go to Settings > iCloud, then tap on your account
- visit appleid.apple.com
Note: two-FACTOR authentication is NOT the same as two-STEP verification. If you have two-step verification enabled, you'll need to disable that before enabling two-factor authentication. You can do this by going to appleid.apple.com. Not sure if you have either of these enabled? Visit appleid.apple.com, log in and check your security settings.
With two-factor authentication enabled for your iCloud account, all that's left is to enable the unlocking feature on your Mac. To do this, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Enable the "Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac" option, as shown below:
That's it! Now it's time to test it. As long as you are wearing your Apple Watch and your Watch is within 4 feet of your laptop when you open the lid or unlock it from screensaver, the unlocking process is completely automatic without a single key to press!