How to Use ‘Approve with Apple Watch’ in macOS Catalina and watchOS 6

Uzair Ghani
Approve with Apple Watch

We'll guide how on how to use the new Approve with Apple Watch feature in macOS Catalina and watchOS 6 in a few easy steps.

Approve with Apple Watch Saves Tons of Time Approving App Installations, Checking Passwords & More in macOS Catalina

Apple has made it super simple to authenticate app installations, unlocking a note or just viewing your passwords list in Safari, thanks to macOS Catalina working alongside watchOS 6 on Apple Watch.

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Called 'Approve with Apple Watch,' this feature is a godsend in a lot of places. This feature is especially convenient if you have an older Mac that does not have the luxury of Touch ID. Just double click on the side button on Apple Watch and you're in.

In this guide, we'll show you how to use the feature and hopefully put an end to your hectic workflow which involves entering passwords over and over again in different places, especially when checking out your saved passwords in Safari preferences.

How to Set Up Approve with Apple Watch

In true Apple fashion, there is absolutely nothing much to set up in order to get started with this feature. There are only four things you have to be absolutely sure of:

  • Your Apple Watch should be running watchOS 6
  • Your Mac should be running macOS Catalina
  • Both your Mac and Apple Watch are signed into the same Apple ID
  • WiFi and Bluetooth must be turned on (on both Apple Watch and Mac)

Apart from this, you should have two-factor authentication enabled for your iCloud account, for security reasons, obviously. And, your Apple Watch must be set to unlock your Mac whenever you are in its proximity.

By default, when you set up macOS Catalina for the first time, you will be asked whether or not you want to use Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. If you missed settings this up initially then you can manually enable this feature.

Just follow the steps below:

  • Launch System Preferences
  • Click on Security & Privacy
  • Under the General tab click on the following option: Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac
Approve with Apple Watch works when this option is enabled

Once everything is in order, you can now close System Preferences and try out the new Approve with Apple Watch feature. Let's start with the most obvious place: checking out your list of passwords in Safari.

  • Launch Safari
  • Click on Safari in the menu bar
  • Now click on Preferences
  • Click on Passwords
  • Your Apple Watch is going to give you a couple of quick nudges using the Taptic Engine on your wrist. Simply double click the side button on Apple Watch to approve and jump right into your passwords.
Approve with Apple Watch feature demo in Safari Passwords

This is just one example where this feature truly shines. Other than this, if you have a locked note in the Notes app, just bring up the note, the Apple Watch will nudge you as usual and you can double press the side button to authenticate. Boom, you're in. Wasn't that simple?

While this feature is absolutely supreme in what it does, but there is one shortfall that somewhat irks me. You cannot use this feature to enter passwords or fill forms on a website. Either you have to take the Touch ID route or enter your Mac's passcode in order to pull up the credentials. We understand that Apple went with this route in order to make everything nice and secure, but still, the ability to approve passwords straight from your wrist is nothing short of magic.

Give this feature a try today and let us know in the comments section what you think about it. I'm pretty sure this is something that is really, really going to make certain tasks easy for you.

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