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How to Unlock Mac With Apple Watch When It’s Not Working
For Mac /

How to Unlock Mac With Apple Watch When It’s Not Working

Every update from Apple brings something exciting & new that we haven’t had our hands on before. For example, MacOS Big Sur brought the interface updates as well as internal changes that users expected from the new updated version. Be it design, Safari enhancements, Maps & above all, Privacy, everything was on high note with MacOS Big Sur.

unlock mac with apple watch

Similar thing happened with watchOS 7 that’s been considered “more powerful and more personal than ever before”. From new ways to discover watch faces to automatic handwashing detection and new workout types, you have got everything right on your watch. However, (A BIG HOWEVER), with new updates bring a good amount of bugs and glitches that are of concern as well.

Issue That Connects MacOS Big Sur & watchOS 7

Obviously if we are talking here about MacOS Big Sur and watchOS 7, it’s really important to know why? Recently, after both the updates had been released successfully for users & many users started having the same issue as mentioned below:

Why isn’t my Apple Watch (watchOS 7) able to unlock with MacOS Big Sur?

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Yeah!! Users are getting errors while trying to unlock and all of this started after the update took place. Because they are damn sure that no settings have been tweaked from their end in the meanwhile. So if you are one of those users who had a hard time with MacOS Big Sur & watchOS 7, let’s figure out the ways to fix the issue.

Also Read: Mac Not Starting Up: Possible Fixes To Know

How to Fix Apple Watch Not Unlocking Mac (MacOS Big Sur)

Your precious & beloved Mac is having an update (MacOS Big Sur) and everything is going smooth until you use Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. Before we begin, please know that you can unlock the Mac with Apple Watch in the easiest ways possible. Now if you didn’t know about this feature, check out the answer for the question, “how to unlock Mac with Apple Watch”.

And, the issue users are facing after MacOS Big Sur & watchOS 7 update is, “Mac not unlocking with Apple Watch”. Moreover, the issue hasn’t been addressed or acknowledged by Apple (officially as of now) so we need to find the solution on our own. There are a few of those solutions users from all over the world tried & a few of them worked for them. So we hope that in case you are also fishing in the same boat, look out for some checks to verify or the ways to fix the Apple watch not unlocking Mac issue:

1. Software Update Check

Without a doubt, as soon as any of the program or application stops working as it was before, we look for the available updates (if there are any). Irrespective of the device form, the latest available update version needs to be installed on your device. Because not having so can bring many harmful things to your system you didn’t actually want. However, sometimes the roll dices in the wrong direction and things can go haywire after you install the latest version.

The possible reasons for issues like “Apple Watch not unlocking Mac” can be because both the updates haven’t been installed successfully. Or any of the update sections hasn’t been implemented actively and it would take time. So you need to start with looking for the latest updates that are available on both the devices. And if there are any, install the same & check if now you can unlock the Mac with Apple Watch easily. Also there is one hope that the tech giant may come up with a temp solution (knowing that the issue hasn’t been acknowledged still).

So without further ado, let’s update Mac as well as Apple Watch to the latest version (if available).

2. Bluetooth & Wi-Fi Resetting

After installing the latest version available on both the devices, we hope that you can easily unlock Mac with Apple Watch. However, if the issue is still unresolved, we highly recommend you to go through the second method of resetting Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your device. Yeah!! This sounds a bit out of proportion but hey, we didn’t expect the issue of “Apple Watch not unlocking Mac” from the latest version as well. So, desperate times, desperate measures!!

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So whenever you are having issues with unable to unlock Mac with Apple Watch, you might try & reset the wireless connecting sources on both the devices. Because when you try to unlock the Mac with Apple Watch and it fails miserably, one of the errors you get on the screen is “your Mac was unable to communicate with your Apple Watch”. So resetting the wireless connecting sources simply means toggling them off and on again with a timeframe of few seconds. Doing so gives both the sources enough time to get reset and work smoothly again. Hopefully, resetting both Wifi and Bluetooth can be the resolution of the issue (not able to unlock Mac with Apple Watch) you are facing.

Also Read: Set Up and Pair Apple Watch With iPhone

3. Signing Out of iCloud on Mac

Post resetting wireless connecting sources and updating both the devices with the latest update, you might be able to unlock the Mac with Apple Watch. However, if the dice still doesn’t roll in your favor, try to sign out of iCloud on your Mac. Yeah!!

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People talk out of experiences and the same thing can be applied here as well. Because MacOS Big Sur has been a victim of constant issues like Sidecar and Handoff. And users have been able to successfully come out of those situations just by signing out of iCloud. Yeah!! That’s true. And this is why, as a best practice, we are sharing this method with the hope that following this method can help you unlock your Mac with Apple Watch.

And in order to do so, you need to follow below mentioned steps:

1. Navigate yourself to the System Preferences and tap on Apple ID.

2. A window will pop up where you need to tap on the Sign Out icon/text and that will log you out of the iCloud on the Mac.

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3. Now you need to restart your Mac & follow the process of signing into the Apple account to use iCloud The whole process is kind of resetting the iCloud on your Mac to resolve the issue.

4. Resetting Apple Watch

Since we are trying to cover every possibility to successfully unlock Mac with Apple Watch, there is no harm checking this method as well. Resetting the Apple Watch which simply means that you need to unpair your Apple Watch from the iOS device and set it up again. Just like the time you received it and connected it to your iPhone for the first time.

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We know, we know what you are going to say about this process, “it’s a time-consuming & lengthy process and I don’t want to go through this”. But, till the time Apple doesn’t bring any solution to the problem, we need to try & check every possible way to come out of this irritating situation.

Also Read: How To Reset Your Apple Watch And Its Passcode

5. Disabling The Automatic Login Functionality

Every method to resolve the issue of “Apple Watch not unlocking Mac” has worked for one or the other user. And that is the reason they have been mentioned here and it’s a possibility that they work out for you or vice versa. Now maybe you are familiar with all the methods & maybe you are not, just like this method to disable the Auto login. There are very few people who know about this method but it has worked out for them and that’s why we have added it here. In order to do so,

1. Launch the Users & Groups section via visiting the System Preferences on your Mac.

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2. On the Users & Groups page, you need to look for the Login Options feature & tap on the same.

3. Under Login Options, you will see a feature called Automatic login that needs to be disabled (check if it’s enabled already).

4. After making necessary amends, you need to tap onto the Lock icon (left bottom side of the screen) to save the changes. Post this, restart your Mac to see the changes and try to unlock Mac with Apple Watch (hopefully, it’s working now).

6. Tweaking The Keychain

When you are looking for a solution, even the slightest chance of getting it resolved seems like a big hope bubble. Tweaking the Keychain isn’t something we have thought but the same has worked out for many users for this issue. Let’s find out how to perform this method to resolve the “Mac not unlocking with Apple Watch” issue:

1. Under Spotlight, you need to search for Keychain Access (also you can try Alfred, an alternative app to Spotlight).

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2. Once found & launched, tap on View and choose Show Invisible Items from the list of options.

3. A new window will pop up where you need to search for Auto Unlock (text search field); and let me tell you the results would be a lot.

4. Here, you have to select or mark all the items (Auto Unlock) and delete them (right click on the screen).

5. After deleting every possible item related to Auto Unlock, now follow the same process of searching (this time, text would be AutoUnlock).

6. Perform the same steps of marking and deleting them in one go (you don’t need to worry if those appear as soon as you delete them from the list).

7. Now you are required to launch Finder & Go to Folder (dialog box) by using Ctrl + Shift + G

8. Here you need to navigate to the specific path mentioned below (just type in the path and hit Go):


9. As soon as you hit Go, a couple of files would display on the screen that you need to delete from your Mac.

10. After doing so, restart your Mac and visit the System Preferences to enable the Auto Unlock with Apple Watch Be a bit persistent to enable the feature as it might give you a hard time by not enabling it in the first go.

Please know that this is a time consuming method (just like resetting your Apple Watch), but how desperately you need the solution will decide that.

Wrapping Up

Irrespective of the operating system, every one of those updates have had their fair share of bugs & issues. Sometimes the service provider takes action on time by addressing it officially, other times don’t. One of those issues happened with MacOS Big Sur & watchOS 7 when users weren’t able to unlock Mac with Apple Watch after the latest updates. Users from all over the world are trying different ways to resolve this issue and that is why we have mentioned here all the possible solutions.

Explore all the probable resolutions mentioned above to get the answer to the question, “how to unlock Mac with Apple Watch”.

Recommended Readings:

Set Up and Pair Apple Watch With iPhone

How To Locate and Find Lost Apple Watch?

WatchOS 6.1.3: Apple Watch Update Problems And Fixes To Know

Quick Guide To Use Camera App On Apple Watch



  1. Chris Smith

    I love Mac due to its additional security features.

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