Apple Watch authentication for more actions tipped for macOS 10.15

Posted:
in macOS
The Apple Watch could be used to perform more authentication for the Mac in macOS 10.15, as it is thought the operating system update will expand the usage of the wearable device to authenticate users for more tasks than just unlocking the Mac without entering a password.

Unlocking a MacBook with an Apple Watch


Since the introduction of macOS Sierra, the Apple Watch had the ability to unlock a Mac when it is work by the user and positioned nearby to the device. As a worn piece of biometric security, it was able to be used as a security token and to automatically unlock the Mac, saving users from authenticating manually each time.

The Apple Watch can also be used to authenticate an Apple Pay transaction on a Mac, using the double-click action similar to an in-store payment, and can also be used instead of a Touch ID authentication for the payment with some MacBook models.

For the next major release of macOS, the functionality may be expanded to allow the Apple Watch to be used as authentication for a wider selection of tasks. Sources speaking to 9To5Mac allegedly familiar with the development of macOS did not mention what kind of items could use the presence of an Apple Watch as authentication, but it is likely to be able to cover practically any instance where Touch ID would be an acceptable authentication measure.

Due to the potential for some transactions to not be secure enough to automatically be authorized by the existence of an Apple Watch, it is plausible a new user interface element will be introduced to watchOS to authorize transactions from the Apple Watch display.

If Apple is to introduce expanded Apple Watch-based authentication, it is likely the company will show off the feature alongside other new functions at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which will start from June 3rd. Current speculation has Apple introducing standalone Music, Podcasts, and TV apps in macOS, as it separates out some of the functions of iTunes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,290member
    I use the unlock feature every day (except Mondays - I guess there's some kind of time limit) Love not having to type in my password all the time.

    Also I paid for Mexican food the other day on my Mac from my Watch Series 0. Pretty cool. More Watch integration will be pretty sweet. Something else the WinDroid world can't touch. 

    Edit - I guess the payment functionality might theoretically be possible on certain devices, but I'd like to see someone do it on 5S/series 0 vintage devices.
    edited April 18 racerhomie3watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,569member
    All of those words, and not a single new "feature" announced/speculated. Seems like a waste of an article.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    I guess it would be nice if I didn’t have to type my password in to, say, open Keychain or install software.

    My hopes aren’t that high as unlocking my Mac rarely works for me. It happens so infrequently that I had forgotten it’s a feature. It went from rarely to working to working frequently when I upgraded my Watch from a Series 3 to a Series 4 but slowly started working less and less frequently.

    It’s the same story with my AirPods. They used to connect all the time and then I gradually had issues. They won’t connect to my Mac at all anymore. Restarts don’t help and I even reset the AirPods, nothing.

    I wonder if the issues for the AirPods and unlocking with Apple Watch are related.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    ANY new features for the Apple Watch Series 4 would be a welcome addition IMO. Great device...changed the way I think about watches in general.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,296member
    I’ve had mixed results using my watch to unlock my computers. Half the time on my desktop it either fails or it’s just slow for some reason and it’s quicker & easier to type in my password. Ditto my laptop, and since my laptop has touchID I just use that rather than wait to see if my watch would work. TouchID is awesome when combined with keychain and 1Password. It’d be nice for the watch to do the same thing with my desktop, but given my experience it wouldn’t help much.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    kent909kent909 Posts: 709member
    I guess it would be nice if I didn’t have to type my password in to, say, open Keychain or install software.

    My hopes aren’t that high as unlocking my Mac rarely works for me. It happens so infrequently that I had forgotten it’s a feature. It went from rarely to working to working frequently when I upgraded my Watch from a Series 3 to a Series 4 but slowly started working less and less frequently.

    It’s the same story with my AirPods. They used to connect all the time and then I gradually had issues. They won’t connect to my Mac at all anymore. Restarts don’t help and I even reset the AirPods, nothing.

    I wonder if the issues for the AirPods and unlocking with Apple Watch are related.
    Same with my Apple Watch 4. Rarely opens my Mac. I have spent hours with Apple tech support with no solution.

    StrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 21
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,181member
    My experience with unlocking my two eligible Macs is hit and miss.

    I use my MacBook daily, and it almost always unlocks, sometimes faster than others. That disappoints because when it works as I think it's supposed to, it's very fast.

    My iMac gets much less use, sometimes only once a week. My Watch has unlocked it twice, out of 20 times. And unfortunately, I don't know if this a feature or a bug.

    This may be like the 'security layer' of the iPhone requiring your password to entered instead of using TouchID. Apple is less than forthcoming about a lot of it's supporting documentation, and I haven't see any time-out mentions for the Watch to Mac functionality from tech pundants.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    macgui said:
    This may be like the 'security layer' of the iPhone requiring your password to entered instead of using TouchID. Apple is less than forthcoming about a lot of it's supporting documentation, and I haven't see any time-out mentions for the Watch to Mac functionality from tech pundants.
    I don’t think it is. I can type my password into my iMac, do whatever, walk away, return 30 minutes later and my Watch still won’t unlock it. Just to give a little balance, a friend of mine raves about how his Watch unlocks his 15” MBP and would miss that feature if it went away. 
    edited April 18 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    gutengelgutengel Posts: 255member
    When I tried to use my AW for authenticate my MacBook it was a pain because I had to cancel 2 factor authentication. After a while I had to change it back and loose the unlocking feature, I can't remember why. It was a very cumbersome experience, rare from Apple. I'm not sure if they improved it lately. Also, this means you AW is the wear link on password protection since you only need 4 digit password to access your computer.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    gutengel said:
    When I tried to use my AW for authenticate my MacBook it was a pain because I had to cancel 2 factor authentication. After a while I had to change it back and loose the unlocking feature, I can't remember why. It was a very cumbersome experience, rare from Apple. I'm not sure if they improved it lately. Also, this means you AW is the wear link on password protection since you only need 4 digit password to access your computer.
    Yeah this is not what anyone else's experience is like. At all. Apple Watch unlocking Mac is absolutely flawless.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    gutengel said:
    Also, this means you AW is the wear link on password protection since you only need 4 digit password to access your computer.
    You can set a longer passcode than 4 digits for your Watch. 
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    I had the problem of my Series 3 Watch not unlocking my Mac. I worked diligently (and calmly) with Apple Support. The performed some telemetric functions, getting data from my Watch and my Mac, and we eventually worked things out. Once the procedure started working again, it has never failed for me. I even sent a thank-you note about the great service I got to Tim Cook, and a few days later, got an email from his address acknowledging my comment. That was in May 2017, and my Watches (I now have a Series 4) have unlocked my Mac perfectly ever since.
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 583member
    This is really cool until you realize that most of these functions would be covered by FaceID if they ever got around to adding it to @#!%@% Macs
  • Reply 14 of 21
    Just to say that my Apple Watch (series 3) unlocks my iMac and my MacBookPro every time with no bother at all. I think it's probably the most useful feature on my watch (not being an athlete or prone to river swimming!). When I'm not wearing my watch for some reason (e.g. immediately after a shower) it seems a real pain to have to type in my password! At my age time is precious! : )
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,980member
    Another flawless Apple Watch Mac unlocker here.  When I first got my AW and tried it a couple of years ago, it didn't work all that well, but they seem to have worked out all the issues I was having since then.

    One thing to note is that a lot of Wi-Fi routers and other network devices cause problems for Apple's device discovery technology (Bonjour).  I'm not sure if this is the cause of the AW unlocking problems some people are experiencing, but I know I'm always weary of Wi-Fi routers being the source of any networking problems I'm having (just don't trust the companies manufacturing them to have attention to detail).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 21
    thttht Posts: 3,168member
    Sigh. Jealously looking at the other side of the train tracks here, at all the people using their fancy gadgets to do fancy things. In the meanwhile, my newly work issued 2018 MBP15 is running High Sierra, Touch ID is disabled, Watch authentication is disabled, Siri is disabled, and I have to carry around a USB secure card reader dongle everywhere I go. Mind as well be using a machine from 2009.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,319member
    gutengel said:
    When I tried to use my AW for authenticate my MacBook it was a pain because I had to cancel 2 factor authentication. After a while I had to change it back and loose the unlocking feature, I can't remember why. It was a very cumbersome experience, rare from Apple. I'm not sure if they improved it lately. Also, this means you AW is the wear link on password protection since you only need 4 digit password to access your computer.
    Yeah this is not what anyone else's experience is like. At all. Apple Watch unlocking Mac is absolutely flawless.
    It’s not. It rarely works on my MBP for reasons I don’t understand. 
  • Reply 18 of 21
    riverkoriverko Posts: 63member
    Well, my MBP Retina 2012 cannot be unlocked with AW. The ‘problem’ is that it still has lot of power, not seeing any slow-down, so no real reason to change. Except of course the from beginning bad display, which Apple never acknowledged as a problem... 
  • Reply 19 of 21
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,414member
    mazda 3s said:
    All of those words, and not a single new "feature" announced/speculated. Seems like a waste of an article.
    Your post adds nothing and is factually incorrect to boot. Seems like a wasted effort.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,296member
    gutengel said:
    When I tried to use my AW for authenticate my MacBook it was a pain because I had to cancel 2 factor authentication. After a while I had to change it back and loose the unlocking feature, I can't remember why. It was a very cumbersome experience, rare from Apple. I'm not sure if they improved it lately. Also, this means you AW is the wear link on password protection since you only need 4 digit password to access your computer.
    Yeah this is not what anyone else's experience is like. At all. Apple Watch unlocking Mac is absolutely flawless.
    umm... look at the comments here. 
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