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Touch ID fingerprint recognition replaces passwords on new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, but what if your Mac doesn’t have a fingerprint reader? The good news is that you don’t have to spend a thousand dollars on a new computer. You can replace your password on macOS Catalina without a Touch ID if you wear an Apple Watch.
How it works
Strong and unique passwords are crucial for securing the data on your Mac. If your computer is lost or stolen, your password is the only thing that gives a stranger access to everything on your Mac, including photos, e-mail, and personal files.
The use of a strong password is also important on the Apple Watch – even if it is only a four-digit access code. Just avoid access codes that are easy to guess, such as 1234 and 0000.
Things become really interesting if you are a Mac user and wear the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch knows that you wear it when it is unlocked and on your wrist. Your Mac can know that you are in the area based on your Apple Watch distance.
macOS Catalina uses this information to determine if you are behind your Mac. With your permission, you can bypass the entry of your Mac password every time you log in or need to verify with your Mac password.
You still occasionally need your password, such as with Touch ID. This also applies when you first turn on your Mac to log in or restart. Once you have entered your Mac password, only your unlocked Apple Watch is as good as Touch ID on every Mac.
Bonus tip: you can automatically unlock your Apple Watch if you use your iPhone access code, Touch ID or Face ID. This means that your fingerprint or face recognition can be used to eventually replace your Mac password via the Apple Watch.
Apple Watch is not only great for unlocking your Mac after it has been taken out of sleep. From macOS Catalina you can use the Apple Watch in even more places to replace your Mac password without a Touch ID. Apple Watch can unlock:
- System Preferences to change Mac settings
- Locked notes in Apple Notes
- Saved passwords in Safari preferences
You can also use the Apple Watch to replace your Mac password without Touch ID when installing new software.
This new function in macOS Catalina works differently from unlocking your Mac with the Apple Watch. Logging in with the Apple Watch is automatic, so that the experience feels immediately.
Replacing your Mac password with the Apple Watch requires some user input to ensure that you really want to confirm your password. It’s easy. Your Apple Watch alerts you with a tone or a tap on the wrist, after which the watch screen asks you to double-click the side button under the Digital Crown. That is the long oval button on the side.
Even if your Mac has ID, using the Apple Watch to replace your Mac password may be more convenient than reaching for the fingerprint reader and waiting for it to be verified. There is no Touch ID option if you use an older MacBook or a desktop Mac such as the iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro, but Apple Watch solves that problem.
What you need
The great auto-unlock feature for Mac users with the Apple Watch works on any Apple Watch. You only need software version watchOS 3 or higher and a compatible Mac with macOS Sierra or higher:
- MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
- MacBook Pro introduced at the end of 2013 or later
- MacBook Air introduced in 2013 or later
- Mac mini introduced in 2014 or later
- iMac introduced in 2013 or later
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later
No Touch ID fingerprint sensor required! Make sure that your Mac has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, you use the same iCloud Apple ID on both the watch and the Mac, your Apple ID uses two-factor authentication for extra security and you use an access code on your Apple Watch.
Do you want to use the newer features to replace your Mac password with Apple Watch in more places? Any Apple Watch except the first generation model (Series 1 and higher) can run the watchOS 6 software version that introduces this feature.
Your Mac must run macOS Catalina (version 10.15 or higher). These Mac computers are compatible with macOS Catalina:
- MacBook (early 2015 or newer)
- MacBook Air (mid-2012 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (mid-2012 or newer)
- Mac mini (end of 2012 or newer)
- iMac (end of 2012 or newer)
- iMac Pro (2017)
- Mac Pro (late 2013 or newer)
ready to start? If you have the right Apple Watch and Mac with the right software, enabling the function to replace your Mac password without Touch ID in macOS Catalina is a quick one-time process.
- Start the System Preferences app by clicking on the Apple logo in the top right corner of your screen
- Click on the option & # 39; System Preferences … & # 39; in the second line under & # 39; About this Mac & # 39;
- Click on the & # 39; Security and Privacy & # 39; with the gray house and vault icon
- Click on the lock icon 🔒 at the bottom left on the “General” tab
- Type your Mac password and click on “Unlock”
- Check the box next to your Apple Watch under “Use Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac”
And that’s it! Do you want a quick way to try it? Click the opened lock icon in the lower-left corner of the window to lock the section and click it again to ask your Mac for your password or to authenticate you with your Apple Watch.
Remember to remember your Mac password. Thanks to the Apple Watch, you don’t have to type it nearly as often – even if your Mac doesn’t have a Touch ID.
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