How-To

How to Approve Tasks on Mac with Apple Watch

If you own an Apple Watch, you’re almost certainly also to have an iPhone. The same goes for a Mac. It’s because of this connection between Apple Watch and Mac that Cupertino makes it possible for the former to open the latter. Now you can also approve tasks on your computer on your wearable device. Let’s take a look.

Requirements

The requirements for unlocking your Mac with your Apple Watch carry over to approving tasks. You must be using a Mac (mid-2013 or later) with macOS 10.13 or later. Make sure your Apple Watch is using the latest version of watchOS. Your Apple Watch must have watchOS 6 or later installed. Additionally, your Apple Watch and Mac must be using the same Apple ID. You also need to use two-factor authentication with Apple ID. Your Mac must also have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on. Any Apple Watch version works with Auto-Lock.

Finally, your Mac and Apple Watch must be using a password and passcode, respectively.

Setting Up

To turn on Auto-Lock (and the ability to approve tasks) on your Mac for Apple Watch:

  1. Choose the Apple menu at the top left of your Mac.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Click Security & Privacy.
  4. Choose the General tab.
  5. Toggle Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac.
  6. Add your system password in the pop-up box, if applicable, then choose Unlock.

Apple Watch unlock Mac

If you have more than one Apple Watch attached to your Apple ID, choose the Watch you want to use to unlock your apps and Mac.

Approving Tasks

Apple Watch approve request on Mac

Among the tasks on your Mac that require authentication is the ability to view passwords in Safari, unlock notes or preferences, and approve app installations. When unlocking from Apple Watch is active, you’ll receive an approval request on the wearable device during each of these situations.

To approve a request, double-click the side button of your Apple Watch. Otherwise, continue approving the request on your Mac using your password or Touch ID.

Troubleshooting Steps

If the approving of tasks isn’t showing up as an option on your Apple Watch or Auto-Lock has never worked or is now causing problems, you should consider the following troubleshooting points to resolve the issue.

  • If you’re not sure your Mac supports Auto Unlock and Approve with Apple Watch, choose Apple menu > About This Mac, then click System Report. In the sidebar, in the Network section, click Wi-Fi, then look on the right for “Auto Unlock: Supported.”

Confirm activation lock status

  • If you’re the administrator for another user on your Mac, you can log in to their user account and turn on Auto Unlock or Approve with Apple Watch for them, as long as their Apple ID uses two-factor authentication and their Apple Watch has the required watchOS installed.
  • You must be using a supported Mac (2013 or later).
  • Although all Apple Watch versions support Auto-Lock, there are software requirements to keep in mind. The Apple Watch 0, 1, and 2 must be using watchOS 3 or later with the Mac using macOS Sierra or later. The Apple Watch 3, 4, 5, 6, and SE requires watchOS 4 or later with the Mac using macOS High Sierra or later. Approving requests requires watchOS 6 or later.
  • Make sure to enable two-factor authentication. Otherwise, you can try it with two-step verification, an older process that Apple still supports across various devices.
  • Your two devices must be signed into the same iCloud account using the same Apple ID. Otherwise, Auto-Lock won’t work.
  • Finally, make sure you have a password set for your Mac and a passcode for your Apple Watch. By definition, Auto-Lock is unlocking something. In this case, it’s the password and passcode!

When in Doubt

If you’ve been using Auto-Lock and the approving of tasks successfully and suddenly neither works, redo the process.

  1. Choose the Apple menu at the top left of your Mac.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Click Security & Privacy.
  4. Choose the General tab.
  5. Toggle off Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac.
  6. Toggle Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac.
  7. Add your system password in the pop-up box, if applicable, then choose Unlock.

The Apple Watch Auto-Unlock tool is a quick way to open your Mac without using a password or Touch ID. Being able also to approve tasks from your wrist takes this integration to a fun new level.

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