How to Easily Unlock Your MacBook and iPhone with Your Apple Watch

MacBook iPhone Apple Watch Credit: Guillaume Issaly / Unsplash
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Most people buy the Apple Watch for its convenient messaging options and outstanding fitness features. Those features are great, but that is not all the Apple smartwatch can do. It’s also deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem and boasts several time-saving productivity features that’ll make your life easier. One of our favorite aspects is the ability to unlock and authenticate your Mac with your Apple Watch. You can do the same with your iPhone, too. Find out how below.

Unlock Your Mac with Your Apple Watch

Before you can use your Watch to unlock your Mac, you need to enable auto-lock on your Mac.

  1. Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Select Security & Privacy, then select General.
  3. Select “Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac” or “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.

If you have more than one Apple Watch, you will need to select the Watch you want to use to unlock your apps and Mac. You’ll also need to turn on two-factor authentication for your Apple ID. Follow the onscreen instructions, then try selecting the checkbox again.

Unlocking your Mac should happen automatically once you have enabled the feature, as detailed above.

  • Make sure you are wearing your Apple Watch when you sit down at your Mac.
  • Open the cover or tap on the key to wake up your Mac. It should open automatically without the need to enter your password.

Approve Apps and Authentication Requests

You can use your Watch when a macOS app requires authentication, such as viewing a password or unlocking a setting in System Preferences.

When you need to approve an authentication request, you can simply double-click the side button on your Apple Watch when prompted.

Troubleshooting the Mac Connection

Are you having problems trying to unlock your Mac or approve authentication requests with your Apple Watch? Then you should check a few settings before you give up on this very convenient feature.

  • Make sure that your Mac has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on.
  • Check that your Mac and Apple Watch are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID,
  • Confirm that your Apple ID is using two-factor authentication. If not, you will have to enable this security feature.
  • Ensure your Apple Watch is on your wrist and unlocked, and is using a passcode.
  • You also need to be near your Mac.

Unlock Your iPhone with Your Apple Watch

Unlocking your iPhone with your Apple Watch is limited to only when wearing a face mask. This feature was added to iOS 14 after iPhone owners complained about Face ID not working with a mask.

Just like unlocking a Mac, there are a handful of requirements if you want this remote unlocking to work reliably.

  • First, you need to wear a mask while unlocking your phone.
  • Your Apple Watch must be on your wrist and in close proximity to your iPhone.
  • Your Watch also must be unlocked, and it must have a passcode set up.

Here’s how to set it up.

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