You walk back to your Mac and your iPhone tells the Mac you’re back, and the screen unlocks, ready for you to work. Is that an idea whose time has come? Well, the idea is good. The time is now. Getting it to work is the real problem.
Bluetooth Is Not Magic
There’s a reason Apple doesn’t stuff every new idea or technology into the Mac or iPhone or iPad. Why not? Because some of it doesn’t work well enough to meet Apple’s standards.
And, face it, we Apple customers are part of the standards chain, so what doesn’t work for most of us, doesn’t work for Apple.
Keycard is a Mac app that uses Bluetooth to lock your Mac when you walk away (assuming you’re walking away with a Bluetooth enabled iOS device).
And, presumably, the same app recognizes your Bluetooth enabled iOS device when you come back to your Mac and unlocks it so it’s ready and waiting for use.
Anyway, that’s the theory behind Keycard. I can state categorically that Keycard works. Sometimes. And that’s the problem with technology these days. When it works, great. When it doesn’t, boo hoo.
Click on the image above for a larger, pop up view. Setting up Keycard is similar to setting up any Bluetooth device to connect to your Mac.
Whether you’re using an iPhone or iPad or other Bluetooth device, the process is the same. Pair the device to your Mac.
Your Bluetooth device becomes your mobile keycard, so to speak. They Keycard app detects when you step away from your Mac and locks your computer. When you return, it detects your presence (or, at least the Bluetooth device’s presence), and unlocks your Mac. There’s also extra security with a four-digit pin.
Great, right? Yes. When it works. As they say, the devil is in the details. For Jesse’s iPhone 4S, Keycard on her iMac works perfectly. For my iPhone 5 on my MacBook, well, sometimes it works. All day, even. And sometimes not at all. All day.
I so want this to work. Locking my Mac at the office while I step away or take a call or go to a meeting would be more pleasant if it did the deed automatically. And sometimes it does. Reviews on the Mac App Store tell the same story as the Mincey Family Values. Plenty of four and five star reviews, mixed with plenty of one and two star reviews.
What’s the problem? I blame it on Bluetooth, though your mileage may vary. It would be good to have multiple user support, too (many Macs in homes have multiple users).