A report published by MacRumors recently states that in a future update to OS X, which could be packaged with OS X 10.12, Apple is experimenting with the idea of allowing Mac and iPhone owners to unlock the desktop device with Touch ID on the mobile device. There have been rumors that Apple would integrate Touch ID, in some way, with its desktop line of Mac computers, but if this report is true, Apple will rely on the iPhone to make the fingerprint sensor a factor in unlocking machines.
The report states that Apple engineers are now working on an unlock function that would allow an iPhone owner to unlock their Mac simply by pressing their finger to the Touch ID sensor. The iPhone would need to be within a certain proximity from the Mac to work. The feature is said to work from Bluetooth LE frameworks, and it would apparently work similarly to the way an unlocked iPhone can bypass the passcode wall on an Apple Watch.
The report adds that Apple could use the Apple Watch in a similar way, even if the iPhone isn’t present. We’ve actually seen this in action last year with an Apple Watch (and OS X) app called “Knock, Knock.” With it, an Apple Watch owner, with each app appropriately installed, can access their Mac through the Apple Watch.
The unlocking feature would likely work hand-in-hand with Apple Pay support for web browsers, also rumored to be coming soon. Remote Touch ID authentication from the iPhone or Apple Watch may be used to confirm purchases made via Siri on the Mac.
The report does note that features are still being developed for OS X 10.12, and that changes could be made — or this particular feature may not see the light of day at all.
Apple is expected to reveal OS X 10.12, alongside iOS 10 and other platform updates, at its developer conference in San Francisco next month. It’s been rumored that OS X will be rebranded as “MacOS,” and include long-awaited support for Apple’s Siri assistant.