BLEUnlock is a small menu bar utility that locks and unlocks your Mac with your iPhone, Apple Watch, or any other Bluetooth Low Energy devices.
This document is also available in Japanese.
No iPhone app is required
Works with any BLE devices that periodically send signal
Unlocks your Mac for you when the device is near Mac, no need to enter password again
Locks your Mac when the device is away from Mac
Optionally wakes from display sleep state
Optionally pauses and unpauses iTunes playback when you’re away and back
Password is securely stored in Keychain
Mac with Bluetooth Low Energy support
macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or later
iPhone 5s or later, Apple Watch (all), or other BLE device that transmits signal periodically
Download zip file from Releases, unzip and copy to Applications folder.
On the first launch, it asks your login password, which is required to unlock the lock screen. It’s safe because it’s stored in Keychain.
Then it asks for permission for Accessibility. In System Preferences, click the lock icon to unlock and turn BLEUnlock on. This permission is also required to unlock the lock screen.
Finally, from the menu bar icon, select “Device”. It starts scanning nearby BLE devices. Select your device, and you’re done!
If it fails to unlock, check BLEUnlock is turned on in “System Preferences” → “Security & Privacy” → “Privacy” → “Accessibility”. If it is already on, try turning it off and on again.
If it asks for permission to access its own password, click “Always Allow”, because it is needed while the screen is locked.
If “Signal is lost” occurs frequently, turn Bluetooth of Mac off then on. Or use a device that sends signal more frequently.
Why does it sometimes take long time to unlock?
Short answer: wake your iPhone.
From version 1.4.1, BLEUnlock assumes the device is away when Mac enters system sleep and Bluetooth hardware is powered off (typically 15-30 seconds after the lid is closed). This is required for security. Consequently, it sometimes takes up to several seconds to unlock when Mac wakes from system sleep.
This is because BLEUnlock has lost connection to the device and has to wait for the device to send signal. Usually, devices send signal less frequently when it is in sleep mode. Thus, if you wake the device, in most cases it sends signal promptly, and BLEUnlock unlocks.
Passive mode and Bluetooth Internet Sharing
By default BLEUnlock actively connects to the device to read RSSI (signal strength). It is the best way to steadily read RSSI for devices such as iPhone that support it. However, it does not play nice with Bluetooth Internet Sharing.
With Passive Mode, BLEUnlock only passively receives signals that the deveice broadcasts. That does not interfere with Bluetooth Internet Sharing.
If you use Bluetooth Internet Sharing on the same device, turn Passive Mode on. If you don’t, turn it off.