Face ID is normally a completely seamless way to unlock an iPhone and iPad: just swipe up and it unlocks automatically. At a time when we’re frequently wearing masks, however, it’s rather less seamless.

So we’d like to see Apple allow an unlocked Apple Watch to automatically unlock an iPhone and iPad …

Apple of course already allows the Apple Watch to unlock a Mac: just wake a Mac from sleep and, if you are wearing an unlocked Apple Watch using the same Apple ID, it will unlock the Mac. This happens in the background via Bluetooth.

It also allows an iPhone to unlock an Apple Watch. When I put my watch on in the morning, instead of typing in the PIN – which is a little fiddly – I just unlock my iPhone which then automatically unlocks my watch.

All we’re asking for here is for Apple to extend these auto-unlock capabilities so that if we swipe up on our iPhone or iPad, it checks whether our Watch is on our wrist and unlocked and, if so, unlocks the iOS device too.

It’s normally a safe thing to do because it only unlocks devices that use the same Apple ID, and only when they are within Bluetooth range. There may be a few situations where it wouldn’t be safe, but Apple already allows us to toggle the feature on or off, so that’s no issue.

9to5Mac reader Scott S suggested that Apple could instead use the U1 chip in the Apple Watch Series 6 for even tighter security, as it can measure the range more accurately than Bluetooth to verify that you are holding the device. Personally, though, I’d prefer the flexibility of Bluetooth to allow it to work with all devices, not just the very latest ones.

Is this something you’d like to see? Please take our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear