Proximity actions are here and some of them are pretty cool. Apple thinks it invented the automatic Mac unlock with your iPhone on macOS Sierra, but it’s anemic at best, and you must have a recent Mac and two-factor authentication installed. To do proximity locking and unlocking right all you need is the free MacID app on your Mac, and the not-quite-free MacID on your iPhone.
MacID solves a number of security problems. For example, when you get up from your Mac and walk away to lunch, bathroom break, meeting, or whatever, you could forget to lockdown your Mac, setting up a security issue. MacID makes sure your Mac is locked when you step away.
Why do we use short, easy to remember passwords on our devices? Because long, complicated, and more secure passwords are difficult to remember and often require insecure notes or a password manager app. MacID makes it easy to use a complicated and more secure password for your Mac, but still makes it easy for you to gain access to your Mac without entering the password. MacID is on the iPhone, too, and it even works with Apple Watch.
All you have to do is pair your Mac’s MacID app with your iPhone’s MacID app using Bluetooth and you’re good to go.
Configurations on the Mac are straightforward, nominal, and easily accessible from the drop down Mac Menubar.
The real functionality comes in the extra cost (don’t worry, it’s a few bucks) MacID app for iPhone which can be set up to unlock your Mac using Touch ID, configured to work on multiple Macs, and it auto-locks your Mac when you step away. Proximity waking and auto-unlocking occur when you return.
Wait. There’s more.
MacID for iOS lets you share clipboard text between Mac and iPhone (don’t ask why; it just works that way, so it’s handy if you know where to find the clipboard). Touch ID on iPhone can also be used to authorize specific actions on the Mac (kinda handy until the Mac gets its own Touch ID fingerprint sensor).
As if that’s not enough to spike some interest in MacID, you can set it to give you notifications, display audio controls for iTunes and Spotify and more. There’s even a Dashboard Widget for Mac users, but the real value to me is the Proximity Wake action. Instead of entering a complicated password to unlock the screen saver to gain access to my Mac, all I have to do is sit down and it’s done. MacID does the unlocking automatically.
The iOS version also comes with MacID for Apple Watch which gives you many of the same controls– multiple Mac access, iTunes and Spotify controls, and screensaver options– right from Watch on your wrist.
Now, all we need is some kind of tie in with Siri on the Mac so Siri can respond “Hello, Jeffrey. Welcome back. You have three text Messages and 12 email messages in Mail. Oh, and I saw your boss try to access your Mac while you were gone.“