After upgrading to macOS Sierra, users will be able to unlock their Mac using their Apple Watch. The new shiny feature is called Auto Lock. This feature was originally announced during the WWDC keynote. Some people were able to give Auto Lock a test drive using their Apple Watch on watchOS 3 beta 2 and Macbook on macOS Sierra (beta).
The first thing that I noticed was the setting up process. If you’re not familiar with activating Auto Lock on your Mac, you will have a hard time unlocking the computer using your Apple Watch.
Even though Apple has made the process relatively easy, some users still have trouble getting Auto Lock to work on their Mac and Apple Watch. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to troubleshoot that problem.
The first thing we’re going to do is turn on Auto Lock on your Apple Watch. Be sure to follow the instructions below.
How to enable Auto Unlock on Apple Watch
- Make sure your Apple Watch is running watchOS 3 or higher. You can also find available firmware update by going to the Watch app (on your iPhone) > General > Software Update.
- Turn on Passcode for your watch. It’s in the Settings app under the Passcode page.
- On your Mac, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General, and look for Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.
- Click on the checkbox right next to it. If prompted, enter your Mac’s password.
To see if Auto Lock is working or not, close your Mac or log out and lift the screen back up.
If you see a message that says, “Unlocking with Apple Watch” and the lock screen turns into a regular Mac screen, then everything is working as expected.
If Auto Lock is Not Working on your Mac
In case Auto Lock doesn’t work on your Apple Watch or macOS computer, here are a few things you need to know to fix that problem.
- Apple Watch needs to run watchOS 3 beta 2 or higher
- Your Mac needs to have macOS Sierra Developer Preview Seed 2 or later
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication or 2FC for your Apple ID (see this)
- Auto Unlock will not work if the Apple Watch is not on your wrist
- If your Mac is awake but on the lock screen, click Cancel to activate Auto Unlock
As long as you satisfy the software requirements and features, then Auto Lock should start working again or for the first time.
If you see the error message that says, “Your Mac was unable to communicate with your Apple Watch,” it means either your Keychain is off (you will need to turn it on), or you should disable and re-enable Handoff from Settings > General.
Is My Mac Compatible with Auto Lock?
We forgot to mention that not all Macs will contain the Auto Lock feature.
To check if your Mac supports Auto Lock on the Apple Watch, do the following:
- Click on the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner of the screen
- Choose About This Mac
- Under the Overview page, click System Report…
- From the sidebar, select Wi-Fi option and look for Auto Unlock
- If your Mac does support this functionality, it should say “Supported” as shown below.
Be sure to let us know what you think and if this article has helped you fix problems with Auto Unlock.
Unlocking your Mac with an Android Phone
A lot of people sent me this:
I love Auto Lock, but I don’t have an iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock the device securely.
Well, here is an interesting application I recently discovered on Product Hunt.
DroidID is an Android application that allows you to unlock your Mac computer “with your device’s fingerprint sensor.”
Why is this important?
It depends on the person, really. If you own a Macbook or iMac you obviously also own an iPhone or Apple Watch.
This is nothing new!
I also happen to know a few people who owns a Mac yet an Android phone at the same time. One thing they complain a lot about was the ability to unlock their Mac with their Android device. I hope they can shut up now.
DroidID unlocks your Mac when:
- Your Mac is sleeping
- Screensaver is running
- Resume the power via a click or mouse movement
By default, the app will not unlock your Mac on the first boot-up. If you want to change that, just add DroidID to one of the Login items (Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups)
How to Use DroidID on Android and Mac
Unlike the Auto Lock feature, DroidID isn’t a built-in feature. This means you will have to connect both apps from your Mac and Android phone.
- Click here to download the Mac client app
- On your Android phone, click here or go to the Play Store and install DroidID
- Go through the on-screen setup process
A few more things to keep in mind:
- For Android: the device has to be running Marshmallow (or above) / Lollipop (or above)
- For Mac: running El Capitan or above
So far, I think DroidID is the easiest and safest way to unlock your Mac using your Android phone’s fingerprint sensor.
You can skip the process of entering your password each time, especially if it’s long and complicated.
P.S: Support for Windows is coming soon.