iPhone 6 Touch ID

There has been some talk recently about Apple potentially launching a new way to unlock your Mac with Touch ID in an upcoming OS X release.

For those who are aware, this can be done already with apps from the App Store, such as MacID, but if Apple brings this feature to the native installation of OS X, what will happen to these premium third-party apps?

There still hasn’t been any confirmation that such a feature is guaranteed to come to the Mac, as it’s nothing more than a rumor, and honestly, we probably won’t know for sure until WWDC 2016 passes and Apple announces their new OS X version for the year.

On the other hand, let’s say Apple hypothetically was launching such a feature; how would this affect third-party apps that do similar things?

It should be obvious; people love OEM features more than features they have to download themselves, so it will impact the sales of such apps, but… there’s so much more to it than that.

MacID vs Apple

Although most people are going to say they’ll just start using the OS X and iOS-integrated feature over the third-party iOS app for unlocking their Mac with Touch ID, there are still going to be some things that set third-party apps apart from Apple’s possible upcoming feature.

For example, MacID, which can be had from the App Store for $3.99, has a number of features built into it that haven’t been mentioned in current rumors and that likely wouldn’t be included with one of Apple’s own Touch ID system implementations for Mac computers.

If Apple did let you unlock your Mac with your Touch ID sensor over a Bluetooth connection, and you decided to use it instead of MacID altogether, you’d still be missing out on various features that third-party apps like MacID have to offer, such as:

  • Tap to unlock
  • Proximity-based locking and unlocking
  • Remote sharing of clipboards
  • Toggling screensavers from a distance
  • Using Touch ID for admin password requests
  • Limiting access based on whether you’re connected to power
  • Apple Watch app
  • Pebble support
  • Support for devices that don’t even have Touch ID

And the list goes on…

The list goes to show that even if Apple integrates a Touch ID unlocking feature into their Macs, there are still tons of features to be had from MacID and apps like it.

So what does that mean?

It means that MacID most likely isn’t going anywhere and will still continue to offer a smorgasbord of useful features.

It also means Apple’s implementation of the feature may be limited compared to MacID because the developer is so dedicated to enhancing features based on user requests and making his app do as much as it possibly can, within reason.

Apple on the other hand is going to make things the way they want it to be, and then hand you a retractable baton when you demand more features.

Why do I care?

I’m an avid MacID user, and I’ve long wanted a feature like this on my Mac, but I know Apple better than to trust them with every ounce of my being.

They’re great at hyping up even the simplest features, but when it comes right down to it, their implementation will never come with as many features and as much user configuration as will come from MacID or from a developer who wants to make the best of the best.

Because I use MacID so much, it’s going to be hard to get me to switch. I’m a user who likes the features I’ve become accustomed to. I was the same way when Apple Music came out after Spotify, and I still prefer Spotify to this day because it offers a few more features and customization options.

Overall, Apple’s general focus is to make something that meets criteria for stability and ease of use. Advanced users who want more options to configure are often left in the dark to hope that third-party developers can reach out and fill their needs.

This is the niche that Kane Cheshire’s MacID app, and similar apps like it, are going to fill because it offers a lot more functionality in addition to unlocking your Mac with Touch ID.

Tap to Unlock is one of those features; one that I’d have a hard time living without now that I’ve become so used to using it all the time.

Wrapping up

Touch ID is a great feature, and I think Apple has only begun to take advantage of its potential.

Touch ID could be extended from iOS devices to the rest of your devices by Apple themselves at some point, but you will still want to consider what other features third-party services can bring to the table to ensure you get the best user experience.

For Kane, the developer of MacID, it’s not the end of the world for his app, and he still plans to continue to support it with new features even if Apple did bring such a feature to the Mac out of the box.

If Apple were to bring Touch ID unlocking to the Mac in a future OS X release, would you still use other features provided by third-party apps like MacID? Share in the comments!

  • Tim

    Have used MacID for a while and it became too slow. Entering my password was faster. So if I now have to grab my phone (if it’s not next to my Macbook) and put my finger on it before my Macbook unlocks, I doubt I’m gonna use that either. It’s all about speed when unlocking your device(s).

    • Anonymous

      I agree, the finger print method is to slow. So i was happy to hear apple had something cooking. But my password is really long so tap to unlock is what i like most about the app. Im sure I’ll personally ise both until apple sherlocks all the features i use… But even then i’d keep an eye on macID.

  • Phil Randle

    Apple’s version would be better, the only way I could get MacID to work reliably is to prevent the mac from going to sleep, otherwise most of the ‘features’ wouldn’t work reliably because the bluetooth wouldn’t stay awake.

    Apple’s implementation obviously wouldn’t have this issue as it would be implemented natively. To be honest, more then Touch ID on the iPhone, I want them to take advantage of the ‘paired’ Apple Watch, if I am wearing my watch and a passcode requires entering, I can tap the screen of my watch and the password is entered in.

  • chjode

    I use MacID daily and it works reliably and fast. I use it from my Pebble most often and like that at work when I walk away from my Mac (open office seating), it locks immediately.

    • Never had problems with mine either. Works very reliably.

      • Abhijeet Gupta

        I agree, i use it on my iPhone and the unlocking process is fast, accurate and very very reliable, i look forward to use this one even if apple bakes the feature in OS X.

  • To unlock, MacID has three steps (when phone is locked): swipe, tap, scan. Apple’s native implementation will most likely have only one step: scan. “Tap on trackpad” feature has never worked for me reliably. More often than not, MacID would lock my Mac even when my phone is zero inches from the laptop. Very annoying.

    At the end of the day, native solution is the best solution.

    • The basic process you described (swipe, tap, scan) is exactly why I never saw the appeal in MacID and similar apps.

      • I use the tap to unlock feature to unlock my mac on a regular basis. I only use the swipe, tap, scan, for authorizing my password elsewhere. I also have the proximity set up so normally I don’t even have to use the tap to unlock. But that is just me.

      • :D

        Better than entering a 20 character password each time
        MacID only works about 80% of the time for me though

  • askep3

    “Overall, Apple’s general focus is to make something that meets criteria for stability and ease of use. Advanced users who want more options to configure are often left in the dark to hope that third-party developers can reach out and fill their needs.”
    Tru, I didn’t think of that

  • askep3


  • askep3

    Wouldn’t apples implementation be more secure? You give Mac ID your password and then it enters it, with apples implementation it would actually use the confirmation from the iPhone to the mac and that would unlock it?

  • Vebs

    You should always declare when a post is sponsored.

    I understand that jailbreak news is very scarce and in order to generate revenues, something is required. But such kind of advertisement is unacceptable.

    And if you are unbiased, you should have also mentioned other apps with similar features.

    • We always do clearly label when a post is sponsored, and this specific post was not one of them.

      I don’t think Anthony is hiding his appreciation for MacID. He’s written several posts about it in the past and he is pretty vocal about what he thinks of the app.

      So yes, he is biased towards this app. Like I am biased towards 1password for managing my passwords, or Tweetbot for checking out Twitter, or Reeder for keeping up with my RSS feed.

      If you were looking for unbiased news or app reviews, I’m sorry to say you won’t find it here. Instead you will find writers that are passionate and picky about certain things.

      This said, we’re not taking money to voice our preferences. And when we do, we actually clearly label the post as sponsored. For the record, this is our archive of sponsored posts http://www.idownloadblog.com/tag/sponsored/

    • :D

      Yh I think he’s just a fan

  • I don’t use MacID or a similar app, but “if” Apple was to release such a feature, I would definitely use it, at least on my laptop. Unless I need the bells and whistles of a third-party app, I like to rely on a first party option instead.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree with you. Stock is always best!

  • Great! Now FBI can force us to unlock not just our iPhones, but also our Macs! I’m very curious about Apple’s implementation of this feature. It’s a very crucial step.

  • Great Article. I use MacID every single day. It has become a natural part of my workflow. You know what my favorite part is? Being able to send the clipboard to the other device. this comes in handy almost everyday when I am trying to log into something because while having 1password on my mac is amazing, I can’t just unlock it with my fingerprint. On my phone I can so that is much faster and then sending it to my mac is a breeze!

    • :D

      Check out Copied – it’s a really good clipboard manager that really takes things a step further. It’s free on iOS but you need to buy both the IAP and the Mac version to sync.

      *Not associated with the dev btw it’s just an app I really like
      There are alternatives like CloudClip which is free – Copied is more advanced but CloudClip is still really gd for basic use

  • Dodgy Debjit

    Just managed to get Apple to refund me on MacID as it never worked reliably.