How Apple Watch Cleverly Authorizes Apple Pay Without Touch ID


Screenshot 2014 09 10 21 52 22

We told you about some Apple Watch tidbits the company didn’t have time to talk about at their keynote, but here’s another regarding how Apple Pay purchases are authorized by the smart watch.

With Touch ID absent on the Apple Watch, how does it know to authorize payments? Well, the answer lies in your skin. Here’s what Apple told Cult of Mac:

Thanks to sensors on the Apple Watch’s back, the device can tell when it’s being worn and when it has been taken off. When you first put the watch on, you must enter a code. When the watch is removed from your wrist, the watch locks itself and can’t be used for payments unless the code is entered again.

Canada’s Rene Ritchie from iMore got further clarification from Apple:

So basically once you remove Apple Watch and the connection to your wrist is broken, a pin code will be required to re-authorize the device for Apple Pay. Brilliant.


  • CMfly

    Nice I was wondering about that and if it would allow NFC with the 5s. Seems like it will 🙂

  • elrolito

    I think ?Pay will still need a 6 or 6+ because of the extra security chip that’s being used.

  • Erik Kappel

    So since you likely have to charge it every night, stands to reason you’d have to enter your pin the first time you want to pay for something on a daily basis…

  • K4

    But don’t forget ApplePay with AppleWatch is also compatible with iPhone 5, 5c, & 5s 🙂

  • websnap

    Actually, I’d be surprised if you don’t have to enter it right when its put on.