Skip to content

How to enter Mac passwords with your Apple Watch

You know how you can double-press the side button on your Apple Watch, and then wave it over a contactless terminal to pay with your credit card? Wouldn’t it be great if you could do the same with your Mac login password? Instead of having to type your password to authenticate yourself, you’d be able to double-tap the Apple Watch’s side button to do it instantly.

Well, now you can do exactly this — if you’re running macOS Catalina.

How to use your Apple Watch to enter Mac passwords

This tip comes to us via Mac writer Kirk McElhearn. And the good news is, if you already use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac automatically, then you don’t need to do anything. Anytime the Mac needs your admin password (the one you use to log in to your Mac and to authenticate yourself when you change certain settings), you will get a little haptic tap on your wrist and this dialog box will pop up on your Mac’s screen:

macOS Catalina lets you log in to your Mac with your Apple Watch. You (almost) never need to type your password again.
(Almost) never type your password again.
Photo: Kirk McElhearn

Then you have two options. You can double-press on your Apple Watch’s side button to authenticate, or click on Use Password… to do just that.

What about Touch ID?

The “bad” news is that if you have a Mac with Touch ID, you get three options instead of two. Even if you’re wearing your Apple Watch, you will be prompted to put your finger on the Touch ID sensor via the dialog box below:

Touch ID takes over if you have it.
Touch ID takes over if you have it.
Photo: Kirk McElhearn

At the same time, you will feel (and hear) the Apple Watch’s taptic prompt. You get to choose between double-pressing the watch’s side button, touching the Touch ID sensor, or going old school and typing in your Mac login.

In practice, it doesn’t really matter. After all, is it more or less convenient to double-squeeze Apple Watch than to lay a finger on a sensor? The Apple Watch allows automatic screen unlock, just like Face ID on the iPad. It just happens, with no interaction from you. But to confirm your intent to authenticate, the watch requires that you explicitly allow the action.

Between this, and the new Sidecar feature in macOS Catalina that lets you use your iPad as an external display for your Mac, Apple is really making it easy to use all your Apple devices together.

Previous article Reorganize Control Center to make favorite tools easier to find [Pro tip]

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

★ Customer reviews

Let customers speak for us

728 reviews
81%
(590)
10%
(74)
6%
(41)
1%
(7)
2%
(16)
My Thoughts on SwitchEasy PaperLike iPad Screen Protector

Lengthy product title....Yes, I ordered this screen protector based on Cult of Mac's product description that it's like writing on paper. Bottom line...it's a far better screen protector that aids "writing" with an Apple Pencil (I have the 1st gen version), greatly reduces finger prints (always good) when using the Apple Pencil, input is immediate and precise. I'm a lefty and this screen protector allows minimal effort when writing electronically. I'm not an artist so I cannot rate how this screen protector handles an artist's desires. I will say my primitive artwork (cups, objects, etc.) drawn with my iPencil are spot on and represent my vision for my coffee cups, primitive as they may be,.

Overall, I have no buyer's regrets for this purchase. However, some caveats...the application instructions are verrry sparse (A and B on two tabs, that's it). Once on, the tactile sensation is different...it has a "pebbly" like feel when you run your finger over the screen protectors surface. It's a strange sensation that always surprises me, yet, its this "pebbly" surface that allows the user to work their magic, whether writing or drawing as well as keeping fingerprints to a minimum. For use on a iPad, it works wonderfully and will capture your vision. However, this screen protector will never feel the same as writing with a fountain pen on quality paper.

Again, no buyer's remorse...just my thoughts on a quality product that works well on an iPad.

Tom

Very nice metal strap

Looks good, quality feels good as well.

Cute, yet effective protection for my AirPods Pro

This AirPods Pro case fits pretty snugly, and seems to protect my AirPods pretty well. Wireless charging through the case works great -- and it is also easy to access the Lightning charging port on the bottom. The ring for attaching to a backpack or belt loop is fairly solid. And it looks like a tiny suitcase :) Overall, it works great for me!

DISAPPOINTED

Unfortunately, the leather is beginning crack and the color is coming off with the cracking.
I have only had this watch band a short time, so I feel this should not be happening.

Good morning, Thank you for your feedback, and I apologize that you are not satisfied with your item, but it sounds like the item you received, maybe defective. If you are able to send me an image of the item we can get this issue resolved for you. My email is adel@cultofmac.com
Many thanks, Adel.

Awesome hold, super useful

First time I’ve used a 3M stick mount and it’s holding really well on the stick side, no sign it’s weakening. On the magnet side the phone never falls out, but it will slide off if you try to put a lightning cable in or pull one out from the phone while it’s mounted. That’s a real nitpick because otherwise it’s an awesome mount.