Auto Unlock in macOS Sierra Will Make You Buy an Apple Watch


One of the most exciting features Apple announced at their WWDC keynote is Auto Unlock, part of macOS Sierra.

Apple SVP Craig Federighi explained how the workflow process for many Mac users involved waking up their machines and entering in their system password (sometimes twice due to a typo). But the experience will soon be better, as Auto Unlock utilizes the device we already have securely authenticated on our wrists—Apple Watch.

This Continuity feature of macOS Sierra means by the time you open up your MacBook lid or get within the vicinity of your desktop—it’ll automatically unlock your system without the need for entering a password:

Auto Unlock lets you simply walk up to your Mac while wearing your authenticated Apple Watch and be automatically logged into your desktop.

Screenshot 2016 06 13 16 17 10

Federighi explained Auto Unlocked used “time of flight networking” to detect your Apple Watch’s proximity. On Apple’s Sierra preview page, it says “Auto Unlock with Apple Watch” to “log in before you even sit down”.

Get instant access to your Mac when you’re wearing Apple Watch. Just wake up your Mac and you’re ready to go. Take a quick call or step away, then get right back to work. No password typing required.

This feature alone is a timesaver, especially for those who frequently leave their workstations. If you don’t have an Apple Watch now, Auto Unlock will definitely make you want to buy one (plus, watchOS 3 actually looks to make apps load instantly now).


  • yamadori

    Yeah, no, will take more than that to make me buy $600+ watch. I’m quite capable of unlocking my computer.

  • Mamba

    $600 and I don’t have to type my password?


  • Ian

    The first paragraph of the article says ….

    “One of the most exciting features Apple announced at their WWDC keynote is Auto Unlock,”

    Wow, that is pretty sad if that was the most exciting part of the conference

    Glad I didn’t waste any of my day watching that streaming video

  • bbousquet

    Quite frankly, those keynotes are usually underwhelming (mind you, I attended WWDC last year). The real keynote for devs is the “Platforms State of the Union” in the afternoon. That’s where the cool stuff is explained.

  • Shameer Mulji

    What the public saw was the Keynote. The real meat & potatoes is at the sessions during the Conference which they most likely won’t see.

  • winnertakesteve

    i’m sure its a fine feature for existing watch users, but it certainly isn’t changing my mind about the apple watch.

  • toysandme

    I can’t live without my Apple Watch so this will be a nice feature indeed.

  • tim


  • Corey Beazer

    Why wouldn’t they add the ability to your phone? Its always next to me when I am at my mac

  • Dingleberry

    “This feature alone is a timesaver, especially for those who frequently
    leave their workstations. If you don’t have an Apple Watch now, Auto
    Unlock will definitely make you want to buy one”

    WTH Gary? Be a little more critical next time rather than sucking down that bitter Apple gravy next time. Time Saver? Oh the precious minutes you shaved off your lifespan. It’s a neat value adding feature, and not at all a deciding factor to go out and buy an Apple Watch. You sound like the guy that bought Microsoft Office because of the Paperclip Assistant.

  • winnertakesteve

    normally i’ll call a spade a spade and pile on when they artificially withhold a feature. but in this case i can see the logic that the watch sensor on your wrist is in a constant state of authentication, so there are no UX hoops to jump through. i mean they could do it in the same way they demonstrated authenticating apple pay desktop purchases on the iPhone, but i even find that a little clunky.

  • Jack

    LOL, and you sound like a Fandroid!!! Somebody’s having a bad day…

  • Haters gonna hate, I love Clippy!

  • Dingleberry

    Na, only device I have from Apple is their phone, and I’ve been with iPhone since the 3G. Just gotta call out Gary when he’s goes and writes BS like this. I would have much rather him build on István’s article and simulate how watchOS 3 will benefit current Apple Watch owners. Much like how Tesla’s model X has auto opening doors, no one basis their purchase of that car based on just that, and for Gary to do so is irresponsible as a consumer and a reporter.

  • Nilay

    I was long term Mac ID app user for this functionality and sort of excited to see this coming . Unfortunately it does not work with my Watch and Macbook Air yet.. Both running latest betas, I dont see any settings also..

  • Quattro

    All I have to do with my MS Surface is open it and it instantly recognizes me… I don’t need to be saddled with no stinkin’ watch.

  • Quattro

    It’s not in beta until July.

  • buda alin

    half that price will make you change your mind or you already have a watch ?

  • Mamba

    Half price of anything could make one change their minds, and we all know that’s never gonna happen with Apple. But regardless, still a no. Smartwatches are not for me.

  • Coupeman

    Yeah, but is has crappy windows on it which still can’t handle scaling properly, and don’t tell is can, I have a Surface and its crap!

  • Coupeman

    Its not in public beta until July, I’m currently running macOS 10.12 and iOS 10 dev preview

  • Coupeman

    Yeah, sounds like someone who can’t afford a $600 watch……..

  • Quattro

    It’s unfortunate than your experience has been less then desirable.