How to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch

While you’re wearing Apple Watch, your Mac can sense when you’re nearby, then automatically log you in. You can also use Apple Watch to approve other requests for your administrator password. 

 

Auto Unlock works when you're wearing your unlocked watch and are very close to your Mac. If necessary, move your watch a little closer.

 


How to automatically log in

This feature gives you instant access to your Mac when you're wearing your Apple Watch. Just wake up your Mac and you’re ready to go—without typing a password.

The first time you log in after you turn on, restart, or log out of your Mac, you must log in by entering your password manually. After that, Apple Watch logs in for you.

 


How to approve other password requests

You can also use your Apple Watch to approve other requests to enter your administrator password. This feature requires watchOS 6 and macOS Catalina. It works anywhere you need to type your Mac password, such as when viewing passwords in Safari preferences, unlocking a locked note, approving an app installation, or unlocking settings in System Preferences.

For example, when you click the lock  to make a change in System Preferences, your Mac prompts you to approve with Apple Watch or Touch ID:


To automatically enter your password without having to type it, just double-click the side button on your Apple Watch:

 


How to set up Auto Unlock

  1. Make sure that your Mac and Apple Watch meet the system requirements for Auto Unlock.
  2. Make sure that your devices are set up as follows:
    • Your Mac has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on.
    • Your Mac and Apple Watch are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID, and your Apple ID is using two-factor authentication.
    • Your Apple Watch is using a passcode.
  3. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Security & Privacy. Select ”Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac” or ”Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.”

If you're not sure whether your Mac supports Auto Unlock, press and hold the Option key while choosing Apple menu > System Information. Select Wi-Fi in the sidebar, then look for ”Auto Unlock: Supported” on the right:

The Wi-Fi tab in the  System Information window showing the Auto Unlock: Supported information.

 


Learn more

If you're having difficulty getting Auto Unlock to work, try these solutions:

  • In Security & Privacy preferences, deselect ”Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac” or ”Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.” Then restart your Mac and turn this setting back on.
  • Make sure that your Mac isn't using Internet sharing or screen sharing.

Learn about more Continuity features for your Apple devices.

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