approve on Apple Watch

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.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

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.

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.

Great add-ons for Mac

Your Mac could be even more useful with one of our favorite accessories.

Blackmagic eGPU Pro ($1,199 at Apple)

This external GPU offers a workstation-class graphics experience to enhance what your Mac is capable of, utilizing Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics with 8GB for HBM2 memory for a massive boost in performance. All of this power can be delivered to any Mac with Thunderbolt 3, including a MacBook Pro, which can be charged while you use its thanks to the eGPU's 85W power supply.

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box (From $200 at Amazon)

If you want a less expensive eGPU solution for your Mac, try Sonnet's eGFX breakaway box. You'll need to supply your own AMD graphics card for the box, but the box connects via Thunderbolt 3 for maximum throughput. The combination of this box and a compatible AMD GPU (RX 470, 480, 570, or 5800 will be much cheaper, though less powerful, than Blackmagic's solution.

Final questions and comments

Apple will release macOS Catalina later this year. Let us know if you have any questions about the new syncing process with macOS Catalina.

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