Apple ID

How to Unlock Your Mac with a Wave of Your Hand

Okay, with a wave of your Apple Watch. It’s magic. You walk up to your Mac, touch a key to wake it up, and upon noticing that you’re wearing your Apple Watch, it unlocks without making you enter a password. Brilliant! For some of us, it’s pretty much reason enough to get an Apple Watch.

Auto Unlock, as Apple calls this feature, lets you protect your Mac with a strong password—recommended for international spies and teenagers alike—without forcing you to type your password repeatedly. (You will have to type it the first time after you turn on, restart, or log out of your Mac.) 

To enable this protection and keep people out of your Mac when you’re away, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and select “Require password after sleep or screen saver begins.” Since your Apple Watch will be doing all the heavy lifting, feel free to set a short time span. Then select “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.” If the stars are smiling on you, that’s all you’ll need to do.

 
 

However, it’s likely that something won’t be quite right for Auto Unlock to function properly, since it has a bunch of requirements.

First, make sure your hardware is new enough and sufficiently up-to-date. Your Mac must be from mid-2013 or later, and it must be running macOS 10.12 Sierra or later. (If you aren’t sure about your Mac, see if that checkbox labeled “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac” is present. If not, your Mac is too old.) Any model of Apple Watch will work, but it needs to be using at least watchOS 3.

Next, you need to turn on two-factor authentication. If you were using Apple’s previous two-step verification, you must switch to two-factor authentication. It adds an extra layer of security to your Apple devices and accounts, including iCloud, and is well worth doing in this day and age of password thefts. Plus, it ensures you don’t have to remember those security questions about your favorite elementary school teacher! The links earlier in this paragraph have more details, but you enable two-factor authentication in System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Security.

Now for the checklist. For Auto Unlock to work:

  • Your Mac must have Bluetooth turned on. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar or look in System Preferences > Bluetooth.
  • Your Mac must have Wi-Fi turned on, even if you’re using Ethernet. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and choose Turn Wi-Fi On if necessary.
 
  • Your Mac and your Apple Watch must be signed in to iCloud using the same Apple ID. Verify that in System Preferences > iCloud on the Mac, and on your iPhone in the Apple Watch app, in General > Apple ID.
  • Your Apple Watch must have a passcode enabled. On your iPhone, in the Apple Watch app, tap Passcode and then Turn Passcode On. So you don’t have to enter your passcode, enable Unlock with iPhone.
 
 
  • Your Mac must not be using Internet Sharing. Verify that in System Preferences > Sharing.
 
 

It’s a lot to check, we know, but you only have to do it once. After that, go back to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and select “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.” It may prompt for your password, and there you have it.

After that, every time you wake your Mac or stop the screensaver, it will unlock automatically with your Apple Watch. If you’re not wearing the Apple Watch, or if your watch is locked (hence our recommendation of Unlock with iPhone), you can still type your password at the Mac’s login screen.

There is one small gotcha. Every time you install a macOS update, Apple disables that checkbox, presumably for some security reason. Just go back into the Security & Privacy preference pane and turn it back on. Happily, that’s nothing for the win of not having to unlock your Mac with your password multiple times per day.

iOS 10 Releases Tomorrow: MUST READ before updating!

iOS 10 comes out tomorrow! This update looks to be pretty exciting with a lot of new features that make communicating even more fun. (See our previous blog post about when we recommend updating).

Here are things you should absolutely consider doing before updating:

  • Have a recent backup of your device
  • Be sure there is enough free space on your device as the update will require a certain amount of storage to be available
  • You will need to know your Apple ID in order to update
  • Be sure your device is compatible with iOS 10

Compatible devices:

iPhone

  • iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
 

iPad

  • iPad Pro 12.9 inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7 inch
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad 4th generation
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2
 

iPod touch

iPod touch 6th generation

Happy updating! 

Tip of the Summer: iOS Storage

Summertime = vacations.  And vacations = lots of pictures.  Here is a tip on maximizing space on your iPhone or iPad.

Under Settings on your iOS device, you have the option to turn on your iCloud Photo Library.  This allows Apple to automatically and securely upload all of your device's images and video up to iCloud*.  If your Apple ID is linked to more than one Apple device, you will be able to see your images and videos on each device.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Tap Photos & Camera
  3. Turn on iCloud Photo Library
  4. Select Upgrade Options if more iCloud storage is needed
  5. Select Optimize iPhone Storage

Once you complete this step, iCloud will automatically replace full-resolution photos and videos with optimized versions, storing only the most recent images locally**.

More storage questions?  Do you want to know more about the cloud?  Schedule a training session with one of our experts today.  We know Apple.

*Apple now offers 50GB of extra iCloud storage for $0.99 a month. **It does take some time for these changes to take place, depending on the amount of photos you have.  Once you have completed the above steps, give it at least 24 hours to show a difference in storage space available.