3 very different ways to unlock your Mac

3 very different ways to unlock your Mac

How do you like to unlock your Mac? This question wouldn’t have made sense before 2016, when Apple introduced Touch ID to the MacBook Pro – but times have changed.


Although the traditional password method is far from obsolete, new and exciting ways to unlock your Mac have emerged. If you don’t like typing, scan your fingerprints. If you don’t like fingerprint sensors, use an Apple Watch.

Apparently, there’s more than one way to unlock a Mac. Some methods are relatively new, while others are tried and true. Let’s discuss all the ways to unlock a Mac using passcode, Touch ID and Apple Watch.


1. Use a password to unlock your Mac

When it comes to unlocking your Mac with a good old-fashioned password, you have a couple of options. If you are concerned about security and want to encrypt your internal drive, enabling FileVault is the ideal solution. We’ll discuss that in a moment.

However, if security is not a concern, you can choose a traditional administrator password. In newer versions of macOS, having an administrator account with a strong password is a good way to secure your device. But without FileVault enabled, anyone can access the contents of the unencrypted drive if they’re willing to put in the effort.

When you choose to access your Mac with a password, you must enter that password when you want to sign in, unlock Preferences, or perform other administrative tasks. If the traditional method has served you well, you can continue to do things the old way without sacrificing security.

However, it’s a good idea to add encryption to the mix if your Mac contains sensitive data. To enable FileVault encryption, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault and turn on the function. And if you need to change your admin password at any time, System Preferences > Users and Groups is where you want to go.

2. Use Touch ID to unlock your Mac

If you’re a modern Mac user, Touch ID is one of the fastest ways to unlock your device—but the feature does more than just that. Once you have added fingerprints System Preferences > Touch IDyou can use Apple’s Touch ID tool in several areas, including:

  • Apple Pay
  • iTunes Store, App Store and Apple Books
  • Password Autofill
  • Fast user switching
  • And, of course, unlock your Mac

When you have Touch ID enabled, your Mac will still ask for a password the first time you sign in after restarting. But once you’re inside, you’re free to switch to fingerprint for most security-related tasks.

3. Use an Apple Watch to unlock your Mac

Why waste time with annoying passwords or fiddly fingerprint scanners when you can unlock your Mac just by wearing a watch? The future is here, and it’s strapped to your wrist. Once you’ve set up your Apple Watch and Mac correctly, your Mac will automatically unlock when you’re nearby and wearing your Apple Watch. Security has never been easier.

Here are the requirements to unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch:

  • macOS 10.13 or later
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are switched on
  • Signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID and two-factor authentication
  • Passcode activated on Apple Watch

To enable Apple Watch unlocking, go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy > General and tick off Use Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac or Let Apple Watch unlock your Macregardless of which option is displayed.

Once you’ve set up the feature correctly, being close to your Mac with your Apple Watch on your wrist should be enough to unlock the device.

What’s the best way to unlock your Mac?

If you’re a traditionalist, using a password to unlock your Mac is probably more your style. The method can be effective, but it is not the most effective way to secure your computer.

If you consider yourself a modern Mac user, Touch ID may be more to your taste. Using your fingerprint to unlock your device would have seemed like sci-fi just a couple of decades ago, and Apple’s responsive scanner streamlines most security-related tasks

If, however, you’re a futurist to the core, the Apple Watch should undoubtedly be your tool of choice when it comes to unlocking your Mac.

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