Mobile Apps

Unlock your Mac using Touch ID on your iOS device

Touch ID on an iOS device is a convenient method for unlocking apps and the device itself, and now you can use it to unlock your Mac.

KeyTouch waiting to unlock a Mac. Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the launch of iOS 8, Apple introduced a new feature called Handoff. The feature connects your nearby iOS and OS X devices to each other, making it possible to seamlessly switch between devices while not having to worry about losing your place or work.

One feature missing from Handoff is the ability to share Touch ID from an iOS device to a Mac. A pair of developers are trying to bring Touch ID capabilities to OS X with a new app called KeyTouch.

In its current form, KeyTouch will use Touch ID on a nearby iPad or iPhone lock and unlock your Mac, along with enter your password when prompted. There's two parts to the making this work, an iOS app ($0.99) and a free Mac app.

Various screens of KeyTouch on iOS. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

After installing both apps, you go through a quick setup process and a few minutes later you'll have Touch ID linked to your Mac. Admittedly, the process to use the service is a bit cumbersome right now. In lieu of typing in your password, you unlock your iOS device, launch the app, tap the screen, then place your finger on the home button.

The developers, however, are aware of the issue and are working on spending up the process. Additionally, the team is also working on an API for website developers to implement. This would allow KeyTouch users to potentially log into sites and services on a Mac using Touch ID from iOS.