One of the unheralded and nearly unknown features of modern Apple products is what I refer to as proximity security. When you step away from your Mac, whether at home, office, or on the road, you leave it open a security breach from a family member, co-worker, or an alert thief. Sure, you can lock your Mac down before you head off for lunch, meeting, or bathroom break, but how often do you forget?
Here’s a way to automate the ‘step away’ issue and gain another level of security for your Mac. It’s from a free utility called handyLock. Free and handy are only part of the story. handyLock will lock your Mac’s screen automatically when you step away from the Mac. How it works is simple enough to make it surprising that Apple does not build in such functionality to OS X.
handyLock pairs with your smartphone (iPhones and most Android devices) using Bluetooth. As you walk away from your Mac, handyLock, thanks to connecting to your iPhone via Bluetooth, senses you’ve left and locks down your Mac accordingly.
Configuration is straightforward. handyLock will display device signal strength, and estimated device distance but the real setup is in the slider bars which determine Lock Distance and Reaction Speed.
Move the Lock Distance slider bar to Closer or Farther, depending upon the distance away from your iPhone when you want handyLock to lock down your Mac. Likewise, the Reaction Speed can be adjusted to take effect faster or slider by moving the slider bar.
In the end you get a slightly more secure Mac– it locks down when you and your iPhone leave– for much less effort (there’s no need to think about the extra level of security; handyLock does it automatically.
Setting up handyLock merely requires a Bluetooth pairing, and then adjusting handyLock’s preferences. Not bad for free, right?
My view is that we’ll have more proximity security options show up on Mac, iPhone, and iPad in the future. Some of that is visible with Apple Pay and Touch ID, but extending to Apple Watch, too. I would also like to see voice recognition security and facial recognition security to complement passwords and proximity security.