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How to unlock your Mac just by walking up to it

This free app for your Mac or iOS device makes it too easy to unlock your Mac based simply on how close you are.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

Tether on iOS. Jason Cipriani/CNET

There's no shortage of apps that make the process for unlocking your Mac easier. There's Knock, which requires you to physically knock on your iOS device to unlock your Mac. Then there's KeyTouch, an app that uses Touch ID on your iOS device to unlock your Mac.

Both apps work, but they still require you to interact on some level with another device. Neither is ideal, and nowhere near as simple as Google's Smart Lock feature on Chromebooks.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Then I found Tether, thanks to a post on The Next Web. Tether is a combination of a free OS X and iOS app that leverages Bluetooth 4.0 technology to monitor just how close you are, or should I say iOS device is, to your Mac. When your device is within range (about 30 feet by my count), the app unlocks your Mac.

When you walk away, your Mac is locked back up barring any unauthorized access.

Getting it all set up is simple; download the Mac app from Tether's site. Followed by the iOS app from the App Store. Next, follow the instructions to connect your two devices.

A few taps on your iOS device and a couple of clicks on your Mac later, you're all set up to walk away with peace of mind. Or at least the reassuring feeling of eliminating a redundant (granted, necessary) task in your life has just been eliminated. The team behind the app claims that updates and more features are on the way. I, for one, would love to see the ability to control the range of when an action is taken. Somewhere along the line of 10 feet would be more than enough.