How to use an Apple Watch, iPhone and Mac to unlock each other

If biometric authentication didn’t exist, we would unlock our devices to the classic: with an unlock code. But Touch ID and Face ID have made our lives more convenient since we can use our fingerprint or even our face to access our terminals.

And now that we have so many devices with us, it is possible combine their functions so that they unlock each other. And at certain times this is very useful. We will see all cases where this is possible.

Unlock a Mac with an Apple Watch

You can use an Apple Watch to unlock a Mac even if it has Touch ID. For this you need:

  • A Mac with macOS 10.12 Sierra or later installed
  • Use the same Apple ID on your Mac and iPhone, with no pending password requests
  • Two-factor authentication enabled

If you meet these requirements, simply go to System Preferences (System Preferences in earlier versions of macOS) on your Mac and find the “Touch ID & Password” or “Sign-in Password” option, depending on whether your Mac has Touch ID or not :

Unlock Mac Apple Watch

There you should find your Apple Watch listed, along with the option to enable it to unlock your Mac. Remember that Apple Watch must be passcode protected and unlocked on your wrist to work correctly.

Unlock an iPhone with an Apple Watch

It’s one of the few perks the pandemic has brought us: Apple rolled out a way to unlock iPhones with the Apple Watch while wearing a mask, while exploring ways to refine facial recognition, and we can look over them activate the settings:

Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch

That way, if you’re wearing a mask (or scarf now that the cold has come), the iPhone can fall back to the Apple Watch if it doesn’t recognize your face well. Please note that Face ID must be enabled for this option to work.

Unlock an Apple Watch with an iPhone

This might be the option you’ll be using the least, but it’s worth noting: you can unlock an Apple Watch through iPhone. For those who have mobility issues, this can bring a lot of convenience.

To activate it you need to enter the iPhone Watch application in the “Code” section and there you will find the option “Unlock with iPhone”:

Unlock Apple Watch with iPhone

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There are combinations that aren’t currently possible, like unlocking a Mac with an iPhone, or any interaction with an iPad. The main idea here is not to gain comfort, but to make unlocking easier in more complicated moments, e.g. B. when we wear masks or when we can’t move our wrist well when we want to unlock the Apple Watch. But it’s always good to know all these possibilities.

image | brina blum

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