Here’s how to use your Apple Watch to unlock an iPhone, Mac, and even use your iPhone to unlock a watch.
Thanks to the tight integration between macOS, iOS and watchOS, you use one to unlock the other. It may sound small, but in the real world it has been very useful in my life.
Unfortunately, there is no specific way to unlock an iPhone with your Mac (yet), but all other useful permutations are available and very easy to do. Here are some simple steps to follow.
In my guide, I used the iPhone 13 Pro, Apple Watch Series 8 and 2020 M1 MacBook Pro. But this works across all Apple hardware that supports OS versions dating back to iOS 14.5, watchOS 7.4, and macOS Monterey.
How to unlock your Mac with Apple Watch
With macOS Ventura, enabling this feature became a bit easier, thanks to the neater iOS-style System Preferences window.
1. Open System settings and click on Press ID and password
2. Scroll down to Use your Apple Watch to unlock your apps and Macand turn on the switch next to the clock
If you’re running last year’s macOS Monterey, doing so takes an extra step, but it’s still a simple matter to do
1. Open System selection and click on Security and privacy
2. From here you choose General
3. On this settings screen, tick the checkbox next to it Use Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac
How to unlock iPhone using Apple Watch
Unlocking your iPhone using the Apple Watch has been possible since watchOS 7.4 and iOS 14.5 – released as a way to bypass Face ID and not being able to recognize you with a mask on at the height of the pandemic.
This feature continues to be super useful when masking yourself on public transport or in stores, but it also speeds up the unlocking process somewhat.
1. A couple of things to check first: you must have one the passcode on the Apple Watch and wrist detection must be activated
2. Once these are sorted, go to Settings on iPhone and select Face ID and password
3. On this settings screen you will see a Unlock with Apple Watch section. Just slide the switch next to the clock to the on position
And now, when the watch is unlocked on your wrist (and you’re within 10 meters of your iPhone), you can unlock your phone without looking at it.
How to unlock Apple Watch with iPhone
This is the one that not many are aware of. For those moments where you’ve temporarily taken off your Apple Watch, instead of having to enter the passcode on the tiny screen, you can unlock the watch with your iPhone.
Make sure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on both devices (just as you should with all of these) and follow these steps:
1. Open See app on iPhone, scroll down and select Password
2. Here, turn on the switch for Unlock with iPhoneand enter the passcode on Apple Watch to confirm it
3. Once that’s done, the next time your watch is locked and you unlock your iPhone, you’ll see a notification showing that your Apple Watch has been unlocked at the same time