How to Unlock macOS Sierra with Your Apple Watch

If you’re tired of entering your password every time you open your laptop, macOS Sierra allows you to actually unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch.

To use this feature however, you will need to meet certain criteria.

First, your Mac must be a 2013 or newer model. Sadly even if your 2012 Mac is Bluetooth 4.0-enabled, it won’t work with the auto unlock feature. To see when your Mac was built, click the Apple menu in the upper-left screen corner and then About This Mac.


You must also have upgraded your Mac to macOS Sierra and your Watch to watchOS 3.

Both your Watch and Mac must be connected to the same iCloud account, and two-factor authentication must be enabled for your Apple ID.

Finally, you must also have a password assigned to your Mac’s profile and a passcode on your Watch.

The rest of the process is as simple as checking a box and entering your system password. First, open the Security & Privacy settings in your System Preferences.

Click on the General tab, and check the box that says, “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac”.

Next, confirm you want to make this change by entering your system password.

Once successful, the option will be enabled in the Privacy & Security settings.

To test everything, put your Mac to sleep. Make sure your Apple Watch is turned on and nearby. When you wake your computer, it should tell you almost immediately that it is unlocking with your Watch.

You will also receive a notification on the Watch confirming it unlocked your Mac.

If it doesn’t work, make sure you meet all the requirements we spelled out earlier. Also, both your Mac and Watch need to be previously unlocked, meaning that you cannot unlock your Mac if you’ve just restarted it.

Beyond that, while it works quite seamlessly and painlessly, it still requires you wear your Watch. And, while it doesn’t take the place of something like Touch ID, it can still be a nice time saver if you frequently take breaks and return to find your Mac locked.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.