Fully automatic: Sign in to the Mac with the Apple Watch

Since I've had the Apple Watch, I've been using the option to automatically log into my Mac with it. After recently having to make a change to my Apple ID, the option was disabled for security reasons. It was only in the three days until I reactivated it in the system settings that I noticed how much I like the function. That's why I'll explain below how you can unlock your Mac with the Smartwatch;)

An extremely practical feature: With the Apple Watch, the Mac - in my case the MacBook Pro - can be automatically unlocked (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

An extremely practical feature: With the Apple Watch, the Mac - in my case the MacBook Pro - can be automatically unlocked (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

Automatic unlocking - how it works

So that you can unlock the Mac with the Apple Watch or log into your user account, both devices must be logged in to the same WLAN and Bluetooth must be activated. Then they both recognize each other (along with the shared Apple ID) as trustworthy devices and interact. If you are then with your Apple Watch on your wrist near an Apple Mac, iMac or MacBook, you no longer have to enter a password to dive into macOS.

Does my Mac support With-Watch Unlock?

Before you go through the steps listed below and only then notice that your Apple computer does not support automatic unlocking at all, here's a tip: Check the computer's system information to see whether it says "Automatic unlocking: Supported". You can get to the system information by holding down the Option key (Alt, ⌥) and clicking on the Apple menu (Apple at the top left). The first point is thanks to the keyboard shortcut "System Information ..." instead of "About this Mac". Click on it and this overview will open up:

Does your Apple Mac support automatic unlocking? If so, you can use the Apple Watch to log in.

Does your Apple Mac support automatic unlocking? If so, you can use the Apple Watch to log in.

Requirements

Apple shows in the relevant support document HT206995 which requirements must be met so that the login on the Mac works with the Apple Watch. In summary, these are the following points:

  • Apple Watch with macOS 3 or newer operating system
  • Mac mid 2013 or newer with macOS 10.12 Sierra or newer
  • Two-factor authentication in the Apple ID
  • Activation of WLAN and Bluetooth on the Mac
  • The computer and watch are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID
  • The watch is secured with a code
  • Screen sharing and internet sharing are not turned on on the computer

News: Apple Watch Series 5 - Current Rumors and Leaks

Sign in Apple Watch to Mac - Settings

Has the checklist been completed? Well then there is basically only one thing left to do. Open the on the Apple Mac System Settings from macOS, click there Safety and then continues in the tab General the tick next to "Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac". 

In the macOS system settings you select the item Security.

In the macOS system settings you select the item Security.

Then check the box next to "Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac".

Then check the box next to "Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac".

Do you have any questions about the topic, the Apple Mac, the Watch, the iPhone or iPad? Feel free to write me your request and I'll help you find a solution!

Update 18.10.2019/XNUMX/XNUMX: Unlocking a Mac with the Apple Watch does not work with Catalina

I heard from a reader that this feature appears to be a bit "buggy" under macOS Catalina and may not work. My reader Norbert found a workaround that restores functionality for him:

As soon as he has opened the "System Preferences> Apple ID" window, unlocking with the Apple Watch works as usual again.

I assume that Apple will soon fix the bug with a bug fix for Catalina, but if you still don't want to do without this convenient function, you can try it out to see if the trick works for you.

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2 comments

  1. Peter says:

    I have several Asus ZenScreens in use on the MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the login with the Apple Watch does not work for shared desks. (Or I haven't found the right settings yet)

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hi Peter! Actually, that should be independent of this, but I don't have a second, external monitor and therefore can't test it.

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