Mac Security

Unlock Your Mac Using Your Apple Watch or Android Wear Device

Tim Brookes 01-06-2015

Typing a password is just so much hassle 13 Ways to Make Up Passwords That Are Secure and Memorable Want to know how to make up a secure password? These creative password ideas will help you create strong, memorable passwords. Read More , don’t you wish you could use your iPhone, Apple Watch or simply have your Mac unlock when you walk near it? It turns out you can!


Whether you’re lazy, security-conscious or have a hideously long password, The 5 Best Online Password Generators for Strong Random Passwords Looking for a way to quickly create an unbreakable password? Try one of these online password generators. Read More  you won’t need to enter your password when settling down at your desk with one of these solutions.

First: Secure Your Mac

I’m going to make the presumption that you’re reading this article because you either have a legitimate reason to want to secure your Mac Does Your Mac Really Need Tools Like MacKeeper? System cleaning tools and utility suites aren't just for Windows PCs. But what do these tools do, exactly? And should you use them? Read More , or you like the novelty of being able to lock and unlock it in unorthodox ways. Regardless, computer security is not to be taken lightly.

You can set a password on your Mac of up to 31 characters in length, so if you’re sitting there in a tinfoil hat you’d better hope your password is of decent length. Change your password now by going to System Preferences > Users & Groups clicking on your username and choosing Change Password.

Unlock Your Mac Using Your Apple Watch or Android Wear Device macpassword

The more secure your password, the harder it is for snoopers to guess it. There’s just one thing: as an administrator, this is the password you’ll occasionally need to type in order to authorize changes on your computer (deleting and installing applications, making changes to settings and so on) so make sure you can comfortably type it when required to do so.


Users who are interested in truly securing their Mac should head to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault and enable encryption. This will prevent other users from accessing your volume without the password What Is FileVault on macOS and How Do I Use It? Here's what you need to know about the FileVault disk encryption feature on your Mac and how to enable and disable FileVault. Read More , even if they take the drive out of your machine and plug it into another.

Knock 2.0 ($4.99, iPhone & Apple Watch)

Chances are you’ve heard of Knock before, the app kicked up quite a storm when it arrived on the scene and allowed you to unlock your Mac using your iPhone. While many solutions require you reach into your pocket, unlock your phone and launch the app before you’re in, Knock does not and even works in your pocket.

The app runs in the background and uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate with your Mac. To unlock your computer, simply knock twice on your iPhone — that’s it. Better yet if you’ve got an Apple Watch, you can use Knock to lock and unlock your Mac too. Just use the Knock Glance, accessible by swiping up on the main watch app.

Knock 2.0 is compatible with:

  • iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, 5c, 4s
  • 2015 MacBook (single port) or newer
  • 2011 MacBook Air, Mac Mini or newer
  • 2012 MacBook Pro, iMac or newer
  • 2013 Mac Pro or newer

No Android Phones?

According to Knock Software, “Currently most Android phones do not support Bluetooth Low Energy—should this change, we’ll happily devote our energy to Knock for Android.”

MacID ($0.99, iPhone & Apple Watch)

Just like Knock, MacID uses battery-friendly Bluetooth Low Energy to unlock your Mac not with a knock but a scan of your fingerprint. Once you have downloaded both the iOS app and OS X companion app you’ll be able to open your iPhone, launch MacID and wake or sleep your computer with a swipe and a tap.

MacID can also be used to set a unique pattern-based unlock code for your Mac, as often seen on Android phones and tablets. You can also use your phone to remotely control audio, share clipboards and start your screensaver from across the room.

Unlock Your Mac Using Your Apple Watch or Android Wear Device macid watch


Recently the app was updated to include Apple Watch support, allowing you to unlock your Mac and check on connected devices on your wrist.

MacID is compatible with:

  • iPhone 6, 6 Plus 5s, 5c, 5 and 4s
  • iPad 4th generation, Air, mini or newer
  • 2015 MacBook (single port) or newer
  • 2011 MacBook Air, Mac Mini or newer
  • 2012 MacBook Pro, iMac or newer
  • 2013 Mac Pro or newer

NearLock (Free with In-App Purchases, iPhone)

NearLock is initially free to use, but you’ll want to pay the $3.99 for Pro Mode in order to enable the app to run in the background (and thus function to its fullest). It doesn’t use TouchID or a physical knock to unlock your devices, instead they unlock and lock automatically based entirely on proximity.

NearLock uses the signal strength of its Bluetooth Low Energy connection to determine your distance from your Mac computer. Walk away from your desk and NearLock’s companion app will lock your computer, and you can configure this distance based on your own preferences. The app doesn’t do much else, but it doesn’t really need to.


NearLock is compatible with:

  • iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, 5c, 4s
  • 2015 MacBook (single port) or newer
  • 2011 MacBook Air, Mac Mini or newer
  • 2012 MacBook Pro, iMac or newer
  • 2013 Mac Pro or newer

Also consider: Tether (Free)

Tether is a completely free solution that, just like NearLock, enables you to lock and unlock your Mac based on your proximity to it. The only problem is that the app lacks the fine tuning features found in NearLock, and many report that it doesn’t work that well. It might still be worth a look, but fingers crossed the app gets a much-needed update soon.

TokenLock [No Longer Available]

TokenLock is a bit different to the other solutions on this list in that the only software you need is that which runs on your Mac. The app promises to use any Bluetooth device simply by monitoring the signal strength, and you don’t even need to pair that device in the first place.

It’s not clear whether or not the app uses Bluetooth Low Energy, or whether there’s an option to use it on supported devices, so it’s possible that this solution will have a detrimental affect on both your Mac and Bluetooth device’s battery. As it’s advertised to work with “any” Bluetooth device, that includes Android phones but also means it’s more than likely using old, thirsty Bluetooth rather than newer efficient technology.

Also consider: handyLock (Free)

Just like TokenLock, handyLock uses any Bluetooth device in order to lock and unlock your Mac. Unfortunately development appears to have slowed on the project over the past year, and devices will need to be paired with your Mac in order to work — but at least it’s free!

Umwelt (Free, Android Wear)

Umwelt (which means “environment” in German) is a bit of an oddity in that it appears to be the only Android-based solution to unlocking your Mac hands-free. The software only works with smartwatches at present Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? In the market for an Android Wear smartwatch? Let's compare all the options available now and make the decision easy. Read More , apparently due to many Android smartphones not having Bluetooth Low Energy support.

The app has been tested with LG smartwatches and the Pebble smart watch, though the developer has said that it should work with all low energy Bluetooth wearables. The developer is currently working on a Windows version too.

Do you use a traditional password to unlock your Mac, or do you use something a little smarter?

Related topics: Apple Watch, Computer Security, iPhone, OS X Yosemite.

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  1. Anonymous
    February 27, 2016 at 1:01 am

    I can't connect my iPhone 6 & Mac book air Yosemite over Bluetooth

  2. Aibek Esengulov
    June 2, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Bookmarked the post. Will give it a try once my Apple Watch arrives :)

    • Aibek Esengulov
      June 2, 2015 at 5:48 am

      it will take a few weeks (