Apple might let users unlock Mac via Touch ID on iPhone with OS X 10.12

Posted:
in macOS
An OS X feature under construction by Apple may let people unlock their Mac by way of Touch ID on a paired iPhone, a report said on Thursday.

A promo image for Knock's similar third-party option.
A promo image for Knock's similar third-party option.


Under the proposed system, a device link would be established via Bluetooth LE, letting the iPhone unlock the Mac once it's within close proximity, MacRumors said. The site didn't reveal the source of its information, but has previously claimed to have a connection familiar with Apple software development.

The option could appear in the next version of OS X -- commonly dubbed OS X 10.12 -- but since that software's feature set is said to be in flux, the Touch ID unlock option might have to wait until a later release if development isn't finished in time.

It's speculated that Apple might also allow people to unlock a Mac using only an Apple Watch, though the company would have to devise a way to ensure security.

Users can already experience similar technology through Knock, a third-party platform that involves setting up Mac and iOS apps, and then knocking on an iPhone twice to unlock. In April, Knock's developers even added support for the Apple Watch, suggesting no real barrier to Apple adopting the same concept. Indeed native support would effectively kill off Knock, except for customers that haven't updated OS X.

If iPhone unlocks are coming to OS X 10.12, they will likely be revealed at next month's WWDC event in San Francisco, where Apple regularly previews new versions of OS X and iOS. The software is also expected to add Siri support to Macs for the first time, and may be rebranded as MacOS.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,190member
    OK for those who want such a thing, but it obviously opens you up to a court order to open your computer if law enforcement so orders it. Not the case with a password.

    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    edited May 2016 anantksundaramlongpath
  • Reply 2 of 21
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member
    unlock with watch would be better.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 446member
    I've used MacID for a while (it has both iPhone and iWatch programs) to unlock my MBP 15" while traveling.  It works as advertised and is really handy when using my laptop at a clients office.   Whenever I walk away the laptop locks and when I approach it unlocks - its that simple.  
    fastasleepnolamacguylongpath
  • Reply 4 of 21
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,155member
    OK for those who want such a thing, but it obviously opens you up to a court order to open your computer if law enforcement so orders it. Not the case with a password.

    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    Since I don't have any plans to do anything that might cause law enforcement to obtain a court order I would like this feature. Paranoia is not one of my hangups.
    edited May 2016 baconstang
  • Reply 5 of 21
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    But that’s “trendy”. People pay more for pre-ripped jeans than they do for proper ones.
    lkrupp said:
    Since I don’t have any plans to do anything...
    It has fuck all to do with what you plan, want, or actually do and everything to do with what they SAY. How do you not get that?
    edited May 2016 baconstangSpamSandwichlongpath
  • Reply 6 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,190member
    lkrupp said:
    OK for those who want such a thing, but it obviously opens you up to a court order to open your computer if law enforcement so orders it. Not the case with a password.

    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    Since I don't have any plans to do anything that might cause law enforcement to obtain a court order I would like this feature. Paranoia is not one of my hangups.
    "Only the paranoid survive."  —Andy Grove

    As TS said, above, it's not what you plan or don't plan, it's whatever law enforcement considers illegal that previously wasn't.

    Do you have any ripped MP3's? Links to torrent or "hoochie-koochie" sites? Have any sensitive personal or business information? Are you now or have you ever been Hillary Clinton?
    edited May 2016 longpath
  • Reply 7 of 21
    irelandireland Posts: 17,616member
    1. Good. MacID isn't a great piece of software.

    2. Apple really need to make the entire surface of their next get trackpads Touch ID capable. It one of those things that makes so much sense it has to happen—it's too good an idea.

    3. They can additionally provide a feature where a nearby iPhone of Apple Watch can enable one-click unlocking of a Mac, but security would need to be good to account for scams and such.

    4. The Touch ID trackpads can be used for the inevitable Apple Pay for web too when it arrives. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 8 of 21
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,047member
    ireland said:
    1. Good. MacID isn't a great piece of software.

    2. Apple really need to make the entire surface of their next get trackpads Touch ID capable. It one of those things that makes so much sense it has to happen—it's too good an idea.

    3. They can additionally provide a feature where a nearby iPhone of Apple Watch can enable one-click unlocking of a Mac, but security would need to be good to account for scams and such.

    4. The Touch ID trackpads can be used for the inevitable Apple Pay for web too when it arrives. 
    Your comment is the only one that would have any chance of passing any type of computer security process. Just having an iPhone near a Mac to unlock it is not secure unless you also have to use TouchID to initiate the unlock/logon process. The use of CAC cards (look it up everyone) requires the card to be inserted in a reader attached to the computer, not just near it. It also usually requires the use of some kind of PIN (randomly generated is best) for two factor authentication. I haven't looked at MacID but if it does as @emoeller says, it isn't secure at all and for those worried about police accessing your computer, using something that automatically unlocks your Mac when your iPhone is close is absolutely hysterically funny. You might as well leave yourself logged in without any screen saver or other locking process. Of course, unless you're running FileVault, anyone can mount your Mac from another Mac and get into your files. The iPhone is actually one of the most out of the box secure devices around (if you do the installation right and enter a passcode).
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 21
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member

    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    no, they shouldn't have. you need to learn to let go. 
    edited May 2016 mattinozmontrosemacscrowley
  • Reply 10 of 21
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,099member
    ireland said:
    1. Good. MacID isn't a great piece of software.

    2. Apple really need to make the entire surface of their next get trackpads Touch ID capable. It one of those things that makes so much sense it has to happen—it's too good an idea.

    3. They can additionally provide a feature where a nearby iPhone of Apple Watch can enable one-click unlocking of a Mac, but security would need to be good to account for scams and such.

    4. The Touch ID trackpads can be used for the inevitable Apple Pay for web too when it arrives. 
    TouchID requires a very high density sensor so I'm not sure covering the whole surface of the track pad would be practical at this stage.
    Also a bit of overkill given the option to embeded TouchID in say the commandKey of the keyboard.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 796member
    I think this would be a great feature...maybe this is the reason they didn't put a TouchID on the 12" retinal MB.  Maybe this was the plan all along.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    OK for those who want such a thing, but it obviously opens you up to a court order to open your computer if law enforcement so orders it. Not the case with a password.

    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    Why? Showing the iPhone is tougher than blue jeans!
  • Reply 13 of 21
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    lkrupp said:
    Since I don't have any plans to do anything that might cause law enforcement to obtain a court order I would like this feature. Paranoia is not one of my hangups.
    "Only the paranoid survive."  —Andy Grove

    As TS said, above, it's not what you plan or don't plan, it's whatever law enforcement considers illegal that previously wasn't.

    Do you have any ripped MP3's? Links to torrent or "hoochie-koochie" sites? Have any sensitive personal or business information? Are you now or have you ever been Hillary Clinton?
    What worries me most is that law enforcement and prosecutors are often lazy. If they have a suspect in mind they can make the evidence they do have available to them fit a narrative that makes that suspect guilty. The less information they have from you the less likely they are to implicate you in whatever crime they are investigating. If they have access to your computer and phone they essentially have access to your entire life and can pick and choose which ever "facts" they want to prove their case. Then the onus on your to prove their interpretation of the facts are wrong. 
    longpath
  • Reply 14 of 21
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    lkrupp said:
    Since I don't have any plans to do anything that might cause law enforcement to obtain a court order I would like this feature. Paranoia is not one of my hangups.
    "Only the paranoid survive."  —Andy Grove

    As TS said, above, it's not what you plan or don't plan, it's whatever law enforcement considers illegal that previously wasn't.

    Do you have any ripped MP3's? Links to torrent or "hoochie-koochie" sites? Have any sensitive personal or business information? Are you now or have you ever been Hillary Clinton?

  • Reply 15 of 21
    damonfdamonf Posts: 217member
    For the record, Knock has existed on Apple Watch since longer than April of this year.  Maybe it came out in April 2015.  It's definitely been possible to unlock a Mac from a Watch via Knock for many, many months.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    dtidmoredtidmore Posts: 138member
    rob53 said:
    ireland said:
    1. Good. MacID isn't a great piece of software.

    I haven't looked at MacID but if it does as @emoeller says, it isn't secure at all and for those worried about police accessing your computer, using something that automatically unlocks your Mac when your iPhone is close is absolutely hysterically funny. 
    I have been using MacID ever since the author released it.   I am VERY security conscience but I am not of the tinfoil hat variety.  

    As TouchID seems to be LESS constitutionally protected presently, the use of TouchID as a verification method should be used according to the level of user comfort.  Since Apple tightened up the parameters when TouchID is allowed (i.e. time since last use, time since last use of passcode) and MacID inherits those same parameters, the odds of law enforcement getting a warrant to force the use of TouchID before it requires the entry of the passcode now seems very low.  As Apple allows iOS users to set a complex passcode vs a simple number sequence, anyone security conscience user WILL certainly use that option.

    MacID has its own pairing sequence between devices (uses BTLE).  FYI, one iOS device running MacID can control multiple Macs. 

    MacID does NOT auto-unlock on simply proximity.
     It WILL auto-wake the Mac on proximity (i.e. out of sleep mode) but even that feature is user selectable and assuming that the user has the mac setup to always require password verification on wake, this does NOT compromise security.  If the Mac locks for whatever reason, MacID is going to require either TouchID or passcode on the iPhone OR touch on an already associated AppleWatch.  I might add that the Watch side of MacID is NOT a standalone (i.e. it requires comm with the associated iOS device.

    MacID ONLY works when the Mac user is logged in and running the MacID app on the Mac and the iOS device.  If a reboot or logout on the Mac is performed, the user must resort to entering the necessary password...in other words, MacID is simply a tool to unlock the screen, NOT actually log into the Mac. 

    MacID DOES have a user selectable auto-LOCK based on decreasing proximity feature which is very good.  

    MacID does have a user defined Tap-to-unlock feature exclusively for the Mac trackpad as an option based solely on sequence of multiple finger taps independent of where they occur on the trackpad.  As this feature LACKS all the TouchID timeout safeguards, I do NOT use it, nor recommend it use. 

    MacID works with apple watch based on the Apple security model that if the watch has been verified with the associated iPhone (i.e. either passcode on watch OR touchID use on iPhone while watch is ON the wrist) then MacID will unlock the Mac with a simple touch to the popup watch notification from MacID assuming that MacID is running on both the iOS device AND the Mac.  

    I have found that on occasion, the watch side of things is not quite as robust (i.e. working first time, every time) as compared to the iPhone use of MacID.  But overall, it works, does NOT compromise security any worse than TouchID imposes and it is real time saver for those of us that have convoluted, high entropy Mac passwords. 
    edited May 2016 longpathjbishop1039
  • Reply 17 of 21
    ireland said:
    1. Good. MacID isn't a great piece of software.

    2. Apple really need to make the entire surface of their next get trackpads Touch ID capable. It one of those things that makes so much sense it has to happen—it's too good an idea.

    3. They can additionally provide a feature where a nearby iPhone of Apple Watch can enable one-click unlocking of a Mac, but security would need to be good to account for scams and such.

    4. The Touch ID trackpads can be used for the inevitable Apple Pay for web too when it arrives. 
    I'm genuinely curious as to what percentage of Mac users do NOT own iPhones?  Obviously there are iPhone users who must use work provided PCs.  But if your workplace is Mac friendly and/or your personal computer is a Mac, do you really prefer an Android or does your mac supplied workplace force you to Android?

    My point is that a trackpad with Touch ID seems like an unnecessary  added feature when for the reasons emoeller cites, there can be an added layer of security by tying it to a device kept on your person.  The trackpad Touch ID just seems superfluous to me in my small sample size of the Mac user base (rougly 100-150 across several disciplines, education and usages).  I can't think of a single user who does not own an iPhone of that bunch.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,190member

    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    no, they shouldn't have. you need to learn to let go. 
    Never!
  • Reply 19 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,190member
    damonf said:
    For the record, Knock has existed on Apple Watch since longer than April of this year.  Maybe it came out in April 2015.  It's definitely been possible to unlock a Mac from a Watch via Knock for many, many months.
    Knock?

    Not familiar with this, but that must be why people laughed when Google just announced the "Knock, Knock" feature for their new two-way videoconferencing app, which is a slightly slicker version of FaceTime. I think they call their new app "Allo".
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 20 of 21
    longpathlongpath Posts: 225member
    lkrupp said:
    OK for those who want such a thing, but it obviously opens you up to a court order to open your computer if law enforcement so orders it. Not the case with a password.

    Also, that picture (above) with the hole in the jeans bothers me. They should've Photoshopped it out.
    Since I don't have any plans to do anything that might cause law enforcement to obtain a court order I would like this feature. Paranoia is not one of my hangups.
    Time for you to read Three Felonies a Day as you clearly don't realize just how many peaceful behaviors have been criminalized. I'll give you a simple example of an actual felony:
    USPS erroneously delivers junk mail addressed to someone other than you at your home. You, seeing junk mail, do not check who it is addressed to, and throw it out. That's a felony.
    VisualSeed
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