While you’re wearing Apple Watch, your Mac can sense when you’re nearby and automatically log you in. It is a super handy feature when it works. However, it seems that for some users, the Apple Watch stops unlocking the Mac automatically, and users are forced to unlock their Mac the traditional way by entering the password or using Touch ID. In this article, I’ll explain what you can do if your Apple Watch won’t unlock your Mac.
How does unlock with Apple Watch work?
It’s pretty easy to use an Apple Watch to unlock a Mac. The “Auto Unlock” feature lets you pair an Apple Watch with a Mac that’s signed into the same iCloud account, so you can unlock the Mac just by sitting down in front of it with the Watch on your wrist. To use the feature, you’ll want to make sure all your devices are compatible. Your Mac should be a model from mid-2013 or later and running macOS Sierra at the very least. In addition, Your Apple Watch need to be running watchOS 3 or newer.
Here are all the requirements for the feature to work:
- Your Mac and Apple Watch have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled. The feature won’t work if you’ve only got one turned on and not the other.
- You’re logged into iCloud using the same Apple ID on both your watch and Mac.
- You’ve enabled two-factor authentication for your Apple ID
- Your Apple Watch is using a passcode.
- Your watch and Mac need to be close to each. You may get error messages like Wireless Connection Too Weak for Apple Watch to Unlock This Mac, if they are not close.
- Your watch is on your wrist and turned on.
Setting up your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac is super easy. Better yet, in addition to making it easier to get into your Mac, having this feature turned on also allows you to unlock applications while you’re using the computer, so it speeds up general usage too.
Step 1: Head to Apple menu on your Mac.
Step 2: Click ** System Settings**.
Step 3: Navigate to Touch ID & Password or Login Password.
Step 4: Toggle the switch next to Use Apple Watch to unlock your applications and your Mac under the Apple Watch section.
Step 5: Enter your Mac password.
That’s all there is to it. Now, as long as you’re wearing your unlocked Apple Watch, your Mac will unlock automatically when you’re using it.
What to do if Apple Watch won’t unlock your Mac
If your Apple Watch won’t unlocked your Mac, first make sure that both of your devices are are running the latest software version available:
- To check for updates and update your Apple Watch, open the Settings app On your watch, then select General. Select Software Update, then tap Install if a software update is available. Follow the onscreen instructions.
- To check for updates and update your Mac, choose Apple menu, then tap System Settings. Click General, then click Software Update. If an update is available, follow the onscreen instructions to update your Mac.
Once your Apple Watch and Mac are up to date, follow the steps below to fix the issue:
Step 1: Turn off Auto Unlock. Choose Apple menu > System Settings. In the sidebar, click Touch ID & Password (or Login Password, depending on your Mac model). Turn off the Use Apple Watch to unlock option under the Apple Watch section.
Step 2: Shut down your Mac. Choose Apple menu > Shut Down. A Mac is completely shut down when the screen is black. Now, press the power button to start your Mac.
Step 3: On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings. In the sidebar, click Touch ID & Password (or Login Password, depending on your Mac model. Now, turn back on the **Use Apple Watch to unlock **.
The above troubleshooting steps should fix the problem for most users. However, if you’re Apple Watch still won’t unlock your Mac, then I recommend trying the steps (above) again after doing the following:
Turn on Safe Mode on your Mac and try opening your Mac with your Apple Watch in Safe Mode. Then, exit Safe Mode and try again.
To start up your Mac in safe mode, you need to know what type of Mac you have.
- On your Mac, choose Apple menu > About This Mac.
Look at the information in the window to determine what type of Mac you have:
If you see an item labeled Chip, followed by the name of the chip, you have a Mac with Apple silicon.
If you see an item labeled Processor, followed by the name of an Intel processor, you have an Intel-based Mac.
On an Apple Silicon Mac, shut down your computer and then press and hold the Power (or Touch ID) button. When your volumes appear, click on the one you want to boot. Then hold Shift and choose "Continue in Safe Mode" to boot your Mac.
On an Intel Mac, press and hold Shift while your Mac boots up.
If your Apple Watch still won’t unlock your Mac, reset your Watch by erasing all settings and content and then setting it up again. On your Apple Watch, tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings and follow onscreen instructions.
Before erasing all content and settings on your Apple Watch, your iPhone creates a new backup of your Apple Watch. You can use the backup to restore a new Apple Watch.