How to easily unlock your MacBook and iPhone with your Apple Watch

Most people buy the Apple Watch for its convenient messaging options and great fitness features. These features are great, but that’s not all the Apple smartwatch can do. It is also deeply integrated with the Apple ecosystem and has several productivity features to save time and make your life easier. One of our favorite aspects is the ability to unlock and authenticate your Mac with your Apple Watch. You can also do the same with your iPhone. Find out how below.

Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch

Before you can use your watch to unlock your Mac, you need to turn on AutoLock on your Mac.

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

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

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

  • Make sure to wear your Apple Watch when sitting in front of your Mac.
  • Open the cover or press the key to wake up your Mac. It should open automatically without needing to enter your password.

Approve apps and authentication requests

You can use your watch when a macOS app requires authentication, such as displaying 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.

Mac connection troubleshooting

Having trouble unlocking your Mac or approving authentication requests with your Apple Watch? Then you should check a few settings before giving up this handy feature.

  • Make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned on on your Mac.
  • Make sure your Mac and Apple Watch are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID,
  • Confirm that your Apple ID uses two-factor authentication. Otherwise, you will need to enable this security feature.
  • Make sure your Apple Watch is on your wrist and unlocked, and that it uses a password.
  • You should also be near your Mac.

Unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch

Unlocking your iPhone with your Apple Watch is limited only when wearing a face mask. This feature was added to iOS 14 after iPhone owners complained that Face ID didn’t work with a mask.

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

  • First of all, you need to wear a mask when you unlock your phone.
  • Your Apple Watch should be on your wrist and close to your iPhone.
  • Your watch must also be unlocked and an access code must be configured.

Here’s how to set it up.


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