Knock lets you unlock your Mac by knocking on your iPhone, but not really

Knock lets you unlock your Mac by knocking on your iPhone, but not really

Knock is a new app available for iPhone that supposedly lets you unlock your Mac by simply knocking on your iPhone. It achieves this through using low power Bluetooth LE. Even if the Knock app isn't open, it should still work as long as Knock is running in the background. Or not.

To get up and running with Knock, you purchase the iPhone app and then download the Knock for Mac app via the Knock site (link below). Theoretically, you should just have to pair the two together for Knock to work. I tried this with two different compatible Macs, an iMac and a MacBook Air which were both running OS X Mavericks. On the iMac, just just flat out didn't work. On the MacBook Air, it worked once before my MacBook Air went to sleep and wasn't able to wake back up. I had to hard restart it to get it to turn back on.

I personally wasn't impressed with Knock. Not only for the reason that it didn't work well, but simply because I don't think typing in a desktop password on a computer is that daunting of a task. The app is bound to get killed in the background or take a few seconds to connect anyways. In the time spent fiddling with it, I could already have my Mac unlocked.

Either way, if you happen to try it, let me know if you were any more successful in getting it to work.

More info: Knock

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Knock lets you unlock your Mac by knocking on your iPhone, but not really


Works great for me.. no issues. Lets me have a much more complex password that no one in their right mind would want to type in normally.. I travel, and have my lock screen come up within a minute.. so unlock ALOT. this is a life saver..

Been using it for past day.. so far, none of the issue you mention..

I find it hard to believe your sleep issue was related to the App. It has nothing to do with sleep. Just unlocking from lock screen. They do say your mac must be Bluetooth 4.0 LE compatible for it to work. They've a return FAQ for those that get it and find their Macbook or iMac doesn't support it.

I don't think the real target is someone who sets their lock/screen saver 30 minutes to a few hours or for a desktop like an iMac. Not really worth it then.. just a cool factor. lol

Also, Tap the back of the phone or above/below the screen. I find tapping the lock screen can have issues because it might think your trying to slide to unlock the phone.

I have the newest versions of both the 27" imac apple released and the newest MacBook Air available on the market. they're compatible.

The sleep issue I mentioned because it only presented itself after using the Knock app for Mac to put my Mac to sleep. That's when the issue presented itself.

This is why I love iMore an honest review of a bad app. No sugar coating just straight to the point and valid! Great job

I appreciate their honesty, but I don't believe this to be a "bad" app. Just one with limited usefulness. I have been using the app and it works fine with one caveat: It seems I have to wake my Mac mini from sleep before I am able to knock to unlock. Maybe there is a setting somewhere I'm missing, but that's the only letdown so far.

Downloaded this app yesterday, it's been working perfectly for me all day long. Clearly these developers know what they are doing. The setup was easy, and somebody actually thought about the design. This article only makes me think that the writer doesn't know how to use her computer.. or understand technology apprerently.

There's no need to be rude, at all. Ally is well versed and very experienced at using a Mac and an iPhone. She's also not the only one on the team to have a less than pleasant experience with this app. We review things on what we see, not what we're supposed to see :)

I asked if others had the same issues because bugs don't always affect everyone, hence why I tried on not one, but two Macs. Not need to insult my intelligence. I'm capable of pairing a computer to a phone. Your douchebaggery is not necessary.

Knock! Application works great on my 1st gen MacBook Pro Retina. Me personally, I have a very long password, and a very short idle timer on my notebook (work/security requirements). This definitely makes logins easier, however so does my Yubi key (which I have far more faith in, than my iPhone). I think this is a clever application, however I feel it's a total hipster application (guy with goofy beard... in skinny jeans... knocking on his crotch... in some Soho wear house loft...). It's one of those, look what I can do with my Mac (TeeHee).

Hey there Ally and FT British guy. Part time British guy Part time Italian guy here. Anyway I got knock yesterday and honestly Im very impressed. I have a very nosey about to be X wife in the same house and have to use an 11 key PW to keep her at bay. So far Knock works just fine on my iMac (Almost latest version). I have found that if your Mac goes to sleep it takes a few seconds for everything to connect making it more practical to enter the PW. Also, contrary to the develepers claims the app must be running on your phone for it to work or at least on MY phone. That said if you are back and forth to your computer with the app running it's pretty much flawless from my experience so far. Give it another go, it's extremely polished from my perspective. Sorry your having issues. Even sorrier for Knock...

Another thing is make sure after you Instal the client that you set it up via the toolbar icon. I installed the client, then the app, then configured the client. I don't know if that was missed on the iMac in the review but figured I'd throw it out there.

After almost 30 years on the IBM/MS platform and I now own a 15" MacBook Pro. I'm amazed every day by how much better things are in the Apple ecosystem, and this app is a great example.

I have had no issues, sleeping or otherwise, but I am on the most current version of everything. It's a great addition to my workflow.

I rather like the app, even if it was a little expensive. Seems to work pretty well. However I did discover that I had to "Wake" the system before I could Knock and auto login. Soi built an extra little script myself to automatically lock / wake the screen using a keyboard shortcut meaning I don't have to touch my mac and I can knock straight back into it.

I found it helpful as I have a very long password, and yes I could change it but why? when this app makes it simple for me to access my mac and hard for others.

I had the same problem on my 13" MacBook Air -- the first time I tried it out, my laptop when into never-ending sleep and I had to reboot. Since then -- it's worked ok -- but have to wake it first, which I find to be a bit annoying

I'm having a recurring problem with Knock on my MacBook Pro. It seems to be that something gets out of sequence during the unlock phase which, after giving a double knock on my iPhone, leaves a single "Knock ring" visible on the screen and disables the keyboard. You can use the mouse for certain activities like clicking on the dock, opening Activity Monitor etc. but you can't click on the Apple menu to restart the computer or the Knock app in Activity Monitor to kill it. The computer is effectively frozen and needs to be rebooted. Sometimes a short press on the power button allows you to initiate a restart but more often than not, you have to keep it pressed for 10 seconds and do a power off override.