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Linked by Jason Snell

Apple watch authentication expanding on the Mac?

Guilherme Rambo keeps rolling out the scoops this week:

According to sources familiar with the development of macOS, the next major version of the operating system will allow users to authenticate other operations on the Mac beyond just unlocking the machine with their watch.

It’s unclear the extent of operations that will be supported, but it’s possible that all operations that can currently be authenticated with Touch ID will also be accessible via the Apple Watch mechanism. It’s also likely that there will be a user interface on watchOS to authorize the process, similar to the current Apple Pay confirmation, since doing everything without user input would not be as secure.

Lost in all the debate about butterfly keyboards and the Touch Bar is that Touch ID on the Mac is really great. We’ve got a couple Retina MacBook Airs in the house and it’s remarkable how quickly you get used to biometrically authenticating to unlock your Mac and open apps like 1Password. When I switch back to my iMac Pro, I’m always disappointed when I have to type my password.

I’ve found my iMac to be reliable when it comes to unlocking via my Apple Watch, but buying things with Apple Pay via the watch has been a bit more of a crap shoot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it spins endlessly without doing anything, and sometimes my Mac demands that I authenticate on my iPhone—which is usually in another room.

I’m dubious that, as an iMac Pro user, I’ll ever be able to use Touch ID via some external sensor. But if I can use my Apple Watch to bypass those authentication prompts, that’ll be the next best thing.