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How Approve on Apple Watch works in macOS Catalina and watchOS 6

How Approve on Apple Watch works in macOS Catalina and watchOS 6

You can already use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. In macOS Catalina, you can also use your Apple Watch to fill in passwords on your Mac and perform other authentication tasks like checking your passwords and approving app installations.

What is Approve on Apple Watch?

Approve on Apple Watch provides two main solutions.

First, it allows you to view passwords on your Mac whenever you need to type your password. For example, when viewing passwords in Safari preferences.

Secondly, Approve on Apple Watch offers a unique way to approve app installations on Mac and other processes. These include unlocking a secure note in the Notes app, unlocking settings in System Preferences, modifying root files, and more.

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Requirements for Approve on Apple Watch

Using Approve on Apple Watch requires that your Mac supports the Auto Unlock feature. These requirements include:

Mid-2013 or newer Mac using macOS Sierra or later. Apple Watch running watchOS 3 or later. Using Auto Unlock with Apple Watch Series 3 and later requires macOS High Sierra.

Additionally, you must have two-factor authentication enabled for iCloud.

With these requirements satisfied, you can begin using Approve on Apple Watch!

Examples of what you can do

With macOS Catalina currently in beta, Approve on Apple Watch is not yet a finished product. Therefore, it's not yet possible to use the tool everywhere as intended. Here are two examples of Approve on Apple Watch in action:

Unlocking passwords in Safari

Safari keeps track of your online passwords. To access this list on Mac:

  1. In the Safari app, click Safari in the Mac toolbar at the top left of the screen.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Click Passwords at the top of the screen.

    Safari preferences
  4. Double-click on the side button on your Apple Watch to authenticate on your Mac.

    double click on Apple Watch

When you switch to the Passwords page under Safari Preferences, you'll hear a click on your Apple Watch signifying that you can use Approve on Apple Watch. Once you do, your passwords are available on Mac for viewing.

Unlocking a secure note on Mac

If you wish to open a locked note in the Mac Notes app using your Apple Watch:

  1. In the Notes app, click on the locked note.
  2. Double-click on the side button on your Apple Watch to unlock the note.

    unlock note

Your note is now unlocked.

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