Does Apple Watch unlocking of Mac actually work for you?

According to Apple’s documentation, the watch should unlock the Mac after I wake it.

I just got a new iMac and have the latest Watch as well. On my older iMac half the time it would say “unlocking”, put up a spinning wheel, and then give up and ask for my password. On my new iMac sometimes it works as it should however other times it immediately puts up the password window and states that I must enter the password in order to unlock with my watch and other times my iMac gets unlocked by my watch without touching it (it will unlock if I’m in the adjacent room right behind my iMac, with nobody at the iMac at all.)

So does anyone actually use this feature and have it work correctly? Is it worth seeing the Genius to get correct operation.

It works very well for me, not 100% of the time, but easily 99 times out of 100.

It works for me as long as both machines are connected to the same router. At my work we have a large extended network and it often doesn’t work because the watch and laptop connect to different devices.

If a background task like Carbon Copy Cloner starts up when my 2018 MBP is asleep, if I’m in the room my watch will unlock it. It pretty quickly unlocks it if I wake it up as well. But after reboots and some amount of elapsed days it will aka for my password.

My prior 2013 MBP was very unreliable with this feature.

I’ve found it works often but nowhere near 100% of the time.

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Virtually always. Probably 99/100 times.

I would say 95% of the time

This isn’t to discount your experience, but there is no technical need for the devices to be connected to the same router, the same WiFi network, or (I believe) to any WiFi network at all, though WiFi must be turned on for both devices. At my workplace my watch does not connect to the WiFi network at all, and it works for me.

I believe that the only thing that WiFi is used for for this feature is to determine the proximity of the watch to the computer (which is why 802.11ac support is required).

Even though I seem to have few problems with this feature, it does seem to be one of the more finicky ones, with some people just not ever being able to get it working, or working reliably.

Unlocking my late 2013 MBP with my Series 2 watch worked great. Seems to be hit or miss with my new MacMini.

Works pretty well on my 2015 rMBP, AND 2018/9 iMac Pro. I’d say 90% of the time.
Since it uses Bluetooth and WiFi, USB-3 devices and other 2.4GHz devices can interfere, even including monitors.

Along the same lines, when I use Duo on my watch for 2FA, it makes me happy. Especially when I (or keyboard maestro) can ask for a push, and I only have to tap Approve.

30% of the time… it works all the time. Seriously, about 30% of the time it unlocks my MacBook Esc 2016.

Works like 60% of the time for me (Macbook Pro Mid 2014)

When I still had my old MacBook Air it only worked at 60-70% of the time. Now with an iMac it works 95-99%. I even had the funny situation that me and my spouse were cleaning the house and she accidentally tapped the space bar of my keyboard and it unlocked my Mac, although I was in a different room than my iMac. :smile:

On my MBP 2016 it was like 80%, but on both my 2019 MBPs (work and home) i’m at about 100%

This is my experience also. FWIW, here are the settings I use, and Help (click the “?”) has important info about configuring the feature.

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Was completely borked for about 3 months, sometime early last year. Couldn’t get it to work again, until jumping through several hoops with Apple support. And boy, did I miss it when it wasn’t there… Typing in your password, like some kind of animal. :sunglasses:

Very pleased to report than since then, works just about every time for me – with the occasional “Wifi signal isn’t strong enough” message, maybe 1/2 a month?

I’d say it works about 9 times out of 10 for me (Series 1 Watch, 2015 MacBook Air). Probably the most common scenario under which it doesn’t work is when I’ve been using the Mac at work and then take it home and don’t open it again until the next day — so, basically, Saturday mornings. I’ve always appreciated that when the little wheel is spinning, you can just start typing your password on the Mac. You don’t have to wait for the password field to appear. That mitigates the friction, somewhat.

It works for me pretty much 100% of the time. I’ll put my watch on shortly after I get up, get some coffee, then sit down at my iMac (which went to sleep for the previous night). As soon as the screen comes alive, there is a message saying Unlocking with Watch (or words to that effect), and the iMac unlocks. At the same time, there is a message on the Watch indicating it unlocked my iMac.

It has never worked for me but I think my Mac is too old to support it (Mid-2012 MacBook Pro non-Retina)

Yep. That feature requires a mid-2013 or newer Mac. Hit up Santa this year, bro. :grin:

Here’s Apple’s support article on this subject