Learn how to Unlock Your Mac With an Apple Watch

Using your Apple Watch, you can make unlocking your Mac a breeze. Here's how to set it up.

Locking your Mac is a great security feature to keep important data outside of your computer safe. Depending on your Mac, you may need to enter a password or use Touch ID to unlock the computer when you're back at your desk.

Unlock Apple Watch Mac

However, if you use Apple Watch, the wearable device can save that extra time. Let's take a look at how to use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.

What you will need

For automatic unlocking, you need a Mac from mid-2013 or later. WatchOS 3 or higher must be installed on the Apple Watch. Your Mac and Apple Watch must both be signed in to the same iCloud account.

Also, make sure Bluetooth is turned on on both Mac and Apple Watch.

Two-factor authentication must also be activated for your Apple ID. If you are not familiar with this feature, it provides an extra layer of security. Even if someone knows your password, they cannot access your account.


If two-factor authentication is enabled, you will need to provide two pieces of information when you sign in to the account with a new device. Along with a password, you'll need to provide a six-digit verification code that will be sent to your phone number or displayed on other signed-in devices.

Two-factor authentication Apple ID

While activation takes a few steps, it is an extremely important security measure to keep your private data safe.

Related topics: Advantages and disadvantages of two-factor authentication types and methods

Set up the automatic unlock function

It's time to go to your Mac and choose those Apple menu and then System settings. Choose security and then General.

To make changes, tap the lock at the bottom left of Click the lock to make changes. You will need to enter the Mac's administrator password.

Mac Security Privacy Apple Watch

Then you can select the Apple Watch under Use Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac. If you have more than one Apple Watch, you can also choose which ones to unlock your Mac.

Unlock a Mac with your Apple Watch

You can now use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. Just bring the watch near your Mac and you'll feel a quick tap on your wrist. A message will appear on the monitoring screen stating the name of your computer and saying that this Apple Watch has unlocked it.

On the Mac screen, you will see Unlock with Apple Watch.

Unlock Apple Watch Macbook Pro

Just a note: when you restart your Mac, you will need to enter the computer password on macOS. After that, you can freely unlock the Mac using your watch.

If you are having problems with the auto unlock feature, there are a few things you should try. First, make sure the Watch is placed near the Mac within a 1 to 2 foot radius. It won't unlock from anywhere in the room.

Next, try restarting both your Mac and Apple Watch. Also, make sure that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on on the Mac and that Bluetooth is turned on for the Apple Watch. If that doesn't help, try pairing your Apple Watch with iPhone again.

Another great Apple Watch feature

The ability to quickly and easily unlock your Mac with the Apple Watch may not have been a feature you knew before. But it's definitely a time-saving option that makes the watch even more useful.

If you want to use your portable device longer without a charger, there are some great ways you should check out some great ways to extend the life of your Apple Watch's battery.


10 ways to save battery on your Apple Watch

About the author

Brent Dirks
(159 articles published)

Brent was born and raised in sunny west Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in Journalism. He's been writing about technology for over 5 years and enjoys everything Apple, accessories, and security related.

More from Brent Dirks

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