How to unlock a Mac with Apple Watch

How to unlock a Mac with Apple Watch

It is one of the most interesting news of macOS Sierra, the possibility of unlocking your session from any Mac using your Apple Watch, without having to enter the user password. However, this function is not available on all computers and there are a number of requirements that you must meet in order to activate. We explain step by step how you can configure your Mac computers with macOS Sierra so that your Apple Watch will identify you when you log in, and also not only we show you with captures but you can see the whole procedure and how it works in an explanatory video.

Minimum requirements

It is the most important point, because if the requirements are not met you will not even be able to activate the option, because it will not even appear in the settings menu. The most important thing is to have the necessary hardware, but you also need to have the right software and have set the security of your Apple account to the highest level.


If we talk about Apple hardware requires have a computer from 2013 onwards. So even 2012 computers already with Bluetooth 4.0 are left out of this novelty. You can check the year of manufacture of your computer in > About this Mac. Obviously you will also need an Apple Watch and an iPhone. Although the Apple phone does not intervene a priori in the procedure, it is necessary for the Apple Watch to "work." Once we have verified that our hardware is compatible, we have to meet the software requirements: macOS Sierra, iOS 10 and watchOS 3, that is, the latest versions available for our Mac, iPhone and Apple Watch.

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We arrive at one of the most important points and almost the only one that requires our intervention: double factor authentication. It should not be confused with two-step verification, they are not the same. It is an essential requirement to have our Apple account protected with this type of security to be able to use Sierra's automatic unlocking with our Apple Watch. To verify this we must enter our Apple account, which we can easily do from our iPhone.

double factor

To check if you have double factor authentication enabled you must access the Settings menu of your iPhone, and within iCloud click on your account, enter the “Password and security” menu and check if the option is activated as shown in the image . If it wasn't, you will have to activate it in your account, which we have perfectly explained in this tutorial that you can access from this link.

Turn on automatic unlock

If we have already overcome all of the above, what we have left is already very simple, because it is only about activating an option in the system settings. We access the "System Preferences" panel and enter the "Security and Privacy" menu, where we will see in the middle part of the window the option we are looking for. It should appear deactivated, and pressing would activate. If it does not appear to us it is that we do not meet all the requirements that I mentioned before, so check them one by one to make sure everything is correct.


How automatic unlocking works

Automatic unlocking with the Apple Watch doesn't have much science, since everything happens without us having to intervene almost for nothing. We must ensure that our Apple Watch is well placed, and unlocked, and every time we want to activate the session of our Mac the clock will be in charge of entering the password for us, opening our desk automatically.


The first time we open the session after a restart we will have to enter our user password, but once done it will no longer be necessary. Every time we unlock the screen or lift the lid of our laptop we will only have to wait a second for the session to activate, and we will receive the notification on our Apple Watch indicating that it has been used to unlock the Mac. It is one of those little things that are not given much importance but that make our daily tasks much easier.

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