I've grown accustomed to the convenience of being able to unlock my MacBook Pro with my Apple Watch, but I just got a new Mac Mini, and no matter what I do, it is not unlocking it for me.

I have checked "Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac" in System Preferences → Security & Privacy → General. And I am able to use my watch to unlock (e.g.) settings in the Privacy tab of that same System Preferences pane, like Accessibility settings. I just can't unlock the computer itself.

What could be wrong? Why would this work on one computer and fail on another (newer) one?

  • Make sure you are logged in with the same Apple ID on your Mac mini and Apple Watch. Check the version of OS software running on your Apple Watch and Mac mini and ensure you are running the latest public releases.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 11:16
  • Have you set a firmware password on your Mac? Or turned on FileVault?
    – lhf
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 16:33
  • firmware password, no. FileVault: does anyone NOT use FileVault? Isn't it on by default? I always use it and can't imagine anyone NOT using it.
    – iconoclast
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 0:05

2 Answers 2


It seems as if this setting is not honored for OS-level access until after a reboot. It surprises me that Apple failed to note that in the UI.

  • So one reboot was enough to fix the issue? It now unlocks as expected?
    – lhf
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 16:35
  • as far as I recall, yes
    – iconoclast
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 0:02

While having a similar issue with my Apple Watch, I found these steps which worked for me:

Steps (follow at your own discretion)

  1. Open "Keychain Access"
  2. In "View", enable "Show Invisible Items"
  3. Search for "Auto Unlock"
  4. You should see a whole bunch of application passwords for "Auto Unlock: XXXX's ..."
  5. Select all records and delete (this will reset/disable auto unlock on other Macs if you use multiple Macs)
  6. While still in "Keychain Access", search for "AutoUnlock" (no space)
  7. There should be 4 entries for "tlk" "tlk-nonsync" "classA" "classC"
  8. Select 4 records and delete (don't worry if they re-appear, the system repairs this automatically)
  9. Open "Finder" and navigate to "~/Library/Sharing/AutoUnlock"
  10. There should be two files "ltk.plist" and "pairing-records.plist"
  11. Delete both files
  12. Open "System Preferences" and try enabling auto unlock. You may need to enable it twice, the first attempt will fail.

On one occasion, I had to logout of iCloud on my Mac and log back in. This was a pain since I also use iCloud Drive a lot as well as just about every other service that is part of iCloud. As of macOS Ventura and Sonoma unlock with Apple Watch hasn't been a problem for me.

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