I use a pretty complex and long password to secure my Mac computers. While it’s true that entering my password is almost a reflex, I certainly don’t look forward to typing it in. Using Knock, though, makes unlocking my Mac a lot easier and more elegant. Let’s see how it works!
Set Up – Knock consists of two different apps: one that runs on your iPhone and one that runs on your Mac. Both apps run silently in the background and never get in your way. The apps communicate with one another using Bluetooth 4.0, also called Bluetooth Low Energy. This newest version of bluetooth isn’t nearly as battery hungry as previous versions which means that leaving bluetooth on all day will have much less impact on your iPhone or MacBook’s battery life.
After downloading and installing both the iPhone and Mac versions of Knock, you’ll want to start the set up process using the Mac version. Knock on the Mac lives in your menu bar, so head there first to set it up. After clicking on the menu icon, click Set Up Knock.
After locking the phone, Knock on your Mac will instruct you to knock twice on your iPhone. A nice touch about Knock is that as you knock the green ring around your contact photo will expand outward and fade away.
Using Knock – After locking your Mac, its screen will be black. You’ll need to wake the Mac from this locked state by touching any key on your keyboard. After the display has come back on, you’ll get a notification on your iPhone to unlock it using Knock. You’ll notice the same green ring around your contact photo. Simply knock on your iPhone twice and your Mac will unlock! It should be said here that if you don’t happen to have your iPhone with you and need to use your password, you can still do so just like normal.
Pros – Overall, I’ve really enjoyed using Knock to unlock my Mac. It seems so much more natural than typing in my password and it’s also much faster. Both the Mac and the iPhone app are beautifully designed, minimalistic, and never get in my way. They both also have a very small footprint and don’t seem to affect my devices’ performance. The use of Bluetooth 4.0 means that my iPhone battery life is almost unaffected. Plus, there’s the cool factor – it feels awesome to walk up to my Mac, knock twice on my phone, and be clicking away.
Cons – There are a few little things that I wish were different about Knock. The first is that you still need to wake your computer by touching a key or clicking the mouse. This makes sense, I suppose, but it seems like there could be a way to get around it since the devices I use to wake my iMac, an Apple Wireless Keyboard and the Magic Mouse, also connect to my Mac using Bluetooth and can wake its display. Another thing that bugs me a little bit is that the iPhone app doesn’t seem quite sensitive enough sometimes or seems picky about where I knock on my iPhone. I’m finding, though, that as I practice using Knock I’m getting better at learning how it works and using it to unlock my Mac is becoming more successful more often. Finally, it should be pointed out in this “cons” section that both your iPhone and your Mac will need to have Bluetooth 4.0 for Knock to work correctly. As far as iPhones go, this means the 4S or newer. For Macs, it means the 2011 MacBook Air or newer, the 2012 MacBook Pro or newer, the 2012 iMac or newer, the 2011 Mac mini or newer, and the 2013 Mac Pro or newer.
Conclusion – If you have an iPhone and a Mac that are compatible with Knock, I would definitely recommend using it. I’ll be there are a lot of people out there who don’t use a password on their Mac just because typing it in all the time can be a pain. Knock removes this barrier and makes unlocking your Mac fun. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments section!