Apple Watch to Unlock Your Mac
Apple Watch to Unlock Your Mac

In the world of Apple, everything is designed to work together, creating a seamless ecosystem of devices. This interconnectivity allows your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Mac to work in harmony, opening up a plethora of possibilities. Let’s dive into how to use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac apps and add another level of convenience to your tech life.

Your Apple Watch as a Digital Key

Advantages of Using Apple Watch to Unlock Mac Apps

Not many people realize the full potential of their Apple Watch. Beyond fitness tracking and time-telling, your watch can function as a digital key. It can unlock your Mac and even specific Mac apps, adding an extra layer of security and convenience. Forget typing in passwords; with a flick of your wrist, your apps are accessible.

Setting Up Your Apple Watch and Mac

Preparing Your Devices for Connectivity

Before you start using your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac apps, both devices need to be correctly set up and configured. This involves several steps, including ensuring your devices are compatible, turning on necessary settings, and pairing your devices.

Ensuring Your Mac’s Compatibility

Checking Your macOS and Apple WatchOS Versions

First things first, your Mac and Apple Watch need to be running on compatible versions of their operating systems. Your Mac should have macOS Sierra or later, and your Apple Watch should run on watchOS 3 or later. Also, make sure both devices are logged in to the same iCloud account.

Switching On the Necessary Settings

Activating Two-Factor Authentication

To unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch, you need to have two-factor authentication turned on for your Apple ID. This adds an extra level of security to your account, making sure you’re the only person who can access it, even if someone else knows your password.

Enabling Handoff Feature on Your Mac

Another crucial setting is the Handoff feature on your Mac. This feature allows you to start a task on one device and pick it up on another without losing your work. To enable Handoff, go to System Preferences > General and tick the box next to “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices”.

Pairing Your Apple Watch with Your Mac

Steps to Connect Your Devices

Once your settings are switched on, you’re ready to pair your Apple Watch with your Mac. Open the “Security & Privacy” in System Preferences, then check the box next to “Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac”. Enter your password, and voila! Your devices are now connected.

Unlocking Your Mac Apps Using Apple Watch

How to Use Your Apple Watch to Unlock Mac Apps

Now to the exciting part: using your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac apps. With your devices paired, you can simply double click the side button of your Apple Watch to authenticate on your Mac. You’ll feel a gentle tap on your wrist as confirmation, and your apps will be ready to go.

Official Steps to Unlock Your Mac From Apple

From Source

How to log in with Apple Watch

Just wake up your Mac when you’re wearing your Apple Watch and you’re ready to go—without typing a password.

The first time you log in after you turn on, restart, or log out of your Mac, you must enter your password manually. After that, Apple Watch logs in for you.

How to approve password requests with Apple Watch

You can also use your Apple Watch to approve other requests to enter your administrator password. This works any time you need to type your Mac password, such as when viewing passwords in Safari settings, unlocking a locked note, or approving installation of an app.

When your Mac asks you to approve with your Apple Watch or enter your password, just double-click the side button on your Apple Watch. Your password is automatically entered without having to type it.

Apple watch unlocking Mac computer
Apple watch unlocking Mac computer

How to set up Auto Unlock

Make sure that your devices meet the system requirements for Auto Unlock and are set up as follows:

If your Mac is using macOS Ventura or later:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Settings.
  2. In the sidebar, click Touch ID & Password (or Login Password, depending on your Mac model).
  3. In the Apple Watch section on the right, turn on the setting for your Apple Watch.

If your Mac is using an earlier version of macOS:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Click Security & Privacy.
  3. Select ”Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac” or “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.”

If you need help

If you’re having difficulty getting Auto Unlock to work, turn the unlock feature off and back on:

  1. On your Mac, open System Settings (or System Preferences) and turn off the Apple Watch setting described in the previous section.
  2. Restart your Mac.
  3. Turn the Apple Watch setting back on, as described in the previous section.

If that doesn’t work, install the latest macOS updates and watchOS updates. Also make sure that your Mac isn’t using internet sharing or screen sharing, which are turned off by default.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When Your Apple Watch Fails to Unlock Your Mac Apps

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things don’t always go as planned. If you run into issues when trying to unlock your Mac apps with your Apple Watch, we have some common troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve the problem.

How to Maintain the Security of Your Devices

Tips to Safeguard Your Digital Privacy

While convenience is crucial, so is security. It’s essential to protect your digital privacy while enjoying the benefits of your interconnected Apple devices. Here are some tips to maintain the security of your devices while using your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac apps.

Revolutionizing Your Digital Experience

Explore Further Capabilities of Your Apple Watch

Unlocking your Mac apps is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what your Apple Watch can do. Explore more of its capabilities, like Apple Pay, making phone calls, or controlling your smart home devices, and revolutionize your digital experience.


  1. Can I use my Apple Watch to unlock all my Mac apps? Yes, as long as the apps support this feature.
  2. Why can’t I see the “Unlock with Apple Watch” option on my Mac? Make sure your devices are compatible and running on the necessary operating system versions. Also, ensure you have two-factor authentication and Handoff enabled.
  3. What do I do if my Apple Watch isn’t unlocking my Mac apps? Try some basic troubleshooting steps like checking your settings, unpairing, and re-pairing your devices, or restarting your devices.
  4. Is it safe to use my Apple Watch to unlock my Mac apps? Absolutely! As long as you take the necessary precautions to maintain the security of your devices.
  5. Can I still unlock my Mac apps with my Apple Watch if I leave my iPhone at home? Yes, your Apple Watch and Mac can communicate directly once they are paired.
  6. What other cool things can my Apple Watch do? Your Apple Watch can do a variety of things, from tracking your fitness to controlling your smart home devices.


Learning how to use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac apps is more than just a tech-savvy move; it’s a step towards embracing the full potential of the Apple ecosystem. By unlocking your Mac apps with your Apple Watch, you’re not only opting for convenience but also enhancing the security of your devices. Embrace this seamless interconnectivity and let your devices work smarter, not harder.

Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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