Forum

Unlocking Mac with Apple Watch  

   RSS

0

I have a late 2013 MB Pro Retina, 15" and an Apple Watch series 0.  I have never been able to unlock the Mac with the Watch.  I have been through everything except a wipe and manual reload of the Mac.  The same Watch unlocks my 2014 MB Air 11" with no issues.

I have tried new user accounts on the Mac, logged out of iCloud on all devices, removed and reinstated two factor authentication on iCloud and many other things I have researched.  Nothing has changed the behavior.  The Watch does vibrate and message that it has unlocked the Mac, but the Mac does nothing but offer the login/password window.

Short of wiping and manually reloading the Mac (which I fear is the only answer .. the thought of which overwhelms me), any other ideas out there?  It's clearly a (Mac) system and not a user account issue.

I'm sure you have already followed these instructions, but just to be sure

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206995

Next, try Safe mode on the Mac.  Maybe some 3rd party software is interfering

This will not load any 3rd party additions, it will load some more conservative Apple drivers (may cause screen flicker), and it will clear some kernel caches (a cache is saved data in a form that can speed up a program, but is totally redundant to the original source, and thus can be safely cleared).  Booting into Safe mode is just an experiment, but can frequently eliminate any 3rd party interference, or a cached item out-of-sync with the world.  (Verify Safe mode via Applications -> Utilities -> System Information -> Software -> Boot Mode -> Safe vs Normal)
Topic Tags
7 Answers
2

Click on the Apple icon () in the upper left corner of your screen.
Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
Click on Security & Privacy.
Click on General.
Tick the box to Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. Auto Unlock will activate; this will take a few seconds.

0

Thanks for your reply!  Yes, I have read everything I can find, including Apple's support articles.  I have tried Safe Mode and I am pretty sure the feature is disabled in that mode because the Watch does not react at all.  Anyway, it does not work in Safe Mode.

I have reset SMC, PRAM, reinstalled the OS over itself, tried brand new admin user accounts, etc, etc.  Everything I have found on the web I have tried (short of wipe and manual reload).

Its probably worth mentioning that I am an Apple consultant, own my own business and work on Macs and iOS every day.  I am also Apple certified (ACSP) for 10.7 through 10.13, so I know my way around these things pretty well.

Thanks again!

0

Yeah, @patronus, it seems like you've done all the obvious and not-so-obvious troubleshooting on this. The fact that the Watch says it's done it also makes it clear that some sort of handshake is happening between it and your Mac.

This is one of those things where you know it's just one simple thing... and finding that particular needle in this haystack may prove tricky... and more time consuming in the end than just nuking-and-paving.

But... have you looked at the Console logs right after this does/doesn't happen? Maybe even by SSHing in and watching them (so you can see them in real-time)? That's the only thing that comes to mind here that might help give us some clues as to why the Mac isn't reacting to the unlock

0

Thanks, Dave!  Console really does not tell me anything.  Searches for Watch, unlock, login, etc. reveal no errors.

I didn't want to do this, but nuke and pave looks like the next logical step.  This Mac (of course, running Mojave) has been migrated starting with a 2006 MB running 10.4, through 4 Macs, so its probably time for a cruft dump.

0

Just wanted to follow up - a nuke and pave did the trick.  I'm glad it was not a hardware problem.

Nuke and pave is nerve wracking.  I finally decided to proceed once I had 3 backups and 2 clones.  It took most of a day rebuilding settings, configs and software installs, but it all works again!

Thanks to all for helping!

0

I have tried new user accounts on the Mac, logged out of iCloud on all devices, removed and reinstated two factor authentication on iCloud and many other things I have researched.  Nothing has changed the behavior.  The Watch does vibrate and message that it has unlocked the Mac, but the Mac does nothing but offer the login/password window.

0

Not sure if it is of much help but in the pane that holds the message there is a dividing line between the header info and the message body. When you rest the cursor on this line a set of icons appear and one of them is a dropdown for some attachment actions.

Share: