#TechTuesday – Unlock Your Mac With Your iPhone

More and more apps are appearing allowing you to unlock your Mac using just your iPhone, a few paid and a few free. Because I’m a bit tight when it comes to buying apps (I like to know I’m getting something that will work great for my money) I’ve tried several of the free apps. With TouchID becoming bigger apps are turning to this for authentication making it even more secure that only you can unlock it.

Tether

http://hellotether.com
Price: Free (In-App Purchase Extension Available)
Thoughts: 3/5

Tether Uses Bluetooth to connect your Mac & iPhone and uses the signal strength to determine whether to lock or not. You set the distance you’d like it to lock at and it will do exactly that. I really enjoy this app but because it uses Bluetooth there can be issues when you restart your Mac. Tether opens on login and tries to connect to your phone, this is when things get annoying, most of the time you will have to open the app on your iPhone as-well for it to pick up the connection. The Bluetooth connection can sometimes drop if your iPhone is connected with other devices or the Bluetooth Disconnects, for some odd reason, if you watch the connection on your Mac the Bluetooth Icon goes from connected to disconnected quite often which, because Tether can no-longer detect your phone, locks the Mac!

Touch Unlock

https://touchunlock.com
Price: Free
Thoughts: 3/5

Touch Unlock sounded more promising when I read the description, unlock your Mac with TouchID. This app again uses Bluetooth LE to save your battery and was very easy to set up. Download the app on your Mac & iPhone, the two apps find each other, scan the QR code (bit odd I know) to authenticate the devices with each other after entering your password and your ready to go once the data is set up. This app worked great when I first used it, very simple screen too, tap once to unlock, tap twice to lock. A widget too so you can unlock or lock your Mac from any application. The issue occurred when I went away for a couple of hours and came back. I open the app on my phone and Mac to make sure it was still working and it simply said ‘Looking for devices’ and it still hasn’t reconnected… I judge an app by its logo and look and the design isn’t the most appealing but I decided to give it a shot, just shows, don’t always judge by design, but at the moment design rules content. Very good start but poor ending for Touch Unlock.

Keypress

https://www.keypressapp.com
Price: Free (Just Now)
Thoughts: 4/5

I nearly deleted Keypress after a few minutes of installing it. To begin with you create a user account, no Bluetooth here (yippee) and download the app on both your Mac & iPhone. I went to log in on my Mac and it said the details were invalid despite the fact it was not invalid. I thought maybe there was an email waiting for me to confirm my account but no, no email. So I tried again, after trying the username I had selected and my email address it wouldn’t work. Determined not to give in I tried resetting the password, no email again, tried the junk mail, no email. Stuff it. I so nearly deleted it until I decided to try another email address, it did it again for the first two attempts but then miraculously I was in!

Next I was asked for my password for my Mac and hazza, done. The app simply disappeared into the menu. The reason I didn’t give up was the design, the previews looked great, the app looked bright and modern and the logo sophisticated. This again has a widget, much better looking that Touch Unlock’s. The way this app works is via the account you set up so it doesn’t matter if your not Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connected because the data is all done through your account hence why its only the Mac end that needs your Password, authentication is gathered through your phone, it passes an acceptance to your account and your Mac picks it up and uses your password to unlock. There’s just one tiny wee bug, I’m not sure if its the app or OSX as I’m running El Cap, the screen turns off when you lock your Mac but when you go to unlock it you have to make sure the screen is back on otherwise it won’t work unlike Touch Unlock.

Verdict: Keypress

Alex Written by:

  • Josh

    Unfortunately, since Keypress doesn’t restrict users to Bluetooth, so it is unable to wake up the Mac. Only BT is able to do that in the current version of OS X ( and El Capitan).