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Can I Unlock iPad With Apple Watch?

As an iPad owner, I was frustrated to discover that I could not unlock my device with my Apple Watch. After researching and testing different solutions, I’m here to share how I managed to unlock my iPad using my Apple Watch and some other solutions I discovered. So if you’re wondering if it’s possible to unlock your iPad with an Apple Watch, then you’re in the right place!

The answer to these questions is no. Apple Watch is designed to work with iPhones. iPad and Apple Watch are not compatible and cannot be paired together. Thus, unlocking your iPad using Apple Watch is not possible.

This article covers a few different ways to unlock your iPad as well as sheds light on the devices that can be unlocked using an Apple Watch.

DeviceCompatible with Apple WatchMethod
iPhoneiPhone 5s or later with iOS 12 or laterUse “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature
MacBookMac with macOS Sierra or later and Apple Watch running watchOS 3 or laterUse “Auto-Lock” feature
iPadNot compatible with Apple WatchUse Passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID

3 Ways to Wake and Unlock Your iPad

When you’re not using your iPad, it turns off the display, locks, and then goes to sleep. This is to save power and make sure that the device is secure.

Apple highly values the security and protection of its users, but these security measures can be a bit inconvenient in the fast-paced setting of today. 

Here are three ways you can use to unlock your iPad:


Setting a passcode is the simplest way to unlock an iPad. It can be a 4- or 6-digit passcode.

Although, repeatedly typing in your passcode can be annoying. There’s also the possibility of forgetting your passcode.

What Happens When You Forget Your Passcode?

When you enter 10 incorrect passcodes, a message that says “iPad is disabled, connect to iTunes” will be displayed on your iPad. It won’t allow you to enter more attempts.

You’ll need a Mac or a computer that has Windows 8 or later and that has iTunes installed to remedy this issue. If you don’t have these devices, you can visit an Apple Store for help.

Touch ID

Touch ID is easier and more convenient to use than passcodes. You just have to enroll your fingerprint on the iPad for it to be recognized for unlocking.

While Touch ID is easier, some users still experience issues with it, and some even speculate on its reliability. Research actually suggests that fingerprints can be faked and that fingerprint sensors aren’t foolproof.

Face ID

Face ID was widely applauded and considered a tremendous achievement in biometric login. Similar to Touch ID, with this feature, you have to register your face.

Next time you have to unlock your phone, all you need to do is lift your iPad to the level of your face, and voila, it’s unlocked. How convenient!

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, using Face ID became troublesome. The device will not be able to recognize a partly covered face, and neither can you register your face with a mask on. 

Having to remove and put the mask back on whenever you have to unlock your iPad can be a hassle.

Read more: Can I use Garmin Connect with an Apple Watch?

What Devices Can I Unlock Using Apple Watch?

Here’s a list of Apple products you can conveniently unlock through your Apple Watch.

1. iPhones

Apple Watch needs to be paired to an iPhone to be set up. Afterward, it can be used to unlock your iPhone.

How to Unlock Your iPhone Using Apple Watch

First, you need to make sure that:

  • You’re using an iPhone that supports Face ID—iPhone X or later with iOS 14.5 or later—and an Apple Watch Series 3 or later with watchOS 7.4 or later.
  • Your Apple Watch is paired with your iPhone.
  • Both of your devices have their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections turned on.
  • Apple Watch has a passcode, and wrist detection should be turned on.

With all that settled, you can now set up Unlock with Apple Watch.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down to Face ID & Passcode, and type your passcode.
  3. Tap to enable Unlock With Apple Watch—a message will appear explaining how it works; simply tap “Turn On” to continue.

Now it’s time to put it to the test! Try this out with a mask on:

  • While wearing a face mask and the unlocked Apple Watch on your wrist, raise your iPhone to wake it. 
  • When you glance at your iPhone, it will identify that you are wearing a mask, and your Apple Watch will unlock it.
  • A notification will be displayed on your Apple Watch saying your iPhone has been unlocked. You can also lock it by tapping on the “Lock iPhone” option.

2. MacBooks

Read more: Can you make calls with the non-cellular Apple Watch?

MacBook’s Auto-Lock feature allows it to be unlocked with an Apple Watch.

How to Unlock MacBook using an Apple Watch

You should make sure that your Apple Watch and Mac are compatible and are signed in to the same iCloud account. Also, both devices should have a passcode set up.

You should also check if your device meets these criteria:

  • Apple Watch is running watchOS 3 or later, and Mac with macOS Sierra or later 
  • For Watch Series 3, you need macOS High Sierra or later

Now, you can set up the Auto-Lock feature.

  1. Log in to your Mac and open the system preferences menu.
  2. Go to Security and Privacy and click on the General tab.
  3. Unlock your iPhone and wear your Apple Watch on your wrist.
  4. Tick the “Use your Apple Watch to unlock Mac and apps” box. 
  5. A prompt will appear requiring your Mac’s password. Type it in the space provided.

The first time you log in after you log out, restart or turn off your Mac, you still need to manually unlock it with your password.

For now, these are the only Apple devices you can unlock using an Apple Watch.


To sum up, an Apple Watch can’t unlock the iPad. For this to be possible, the devices should be compatible. For now, the Apple Watch is only made to work with iPhones, specifically iPhone 5s or later, with iOS12 or later.

You can rely on other ways to unlock your iPad. The new Face ID feature available on iPad Pro is the most convenient choice.

If you want to have control over your iPad’s screen time, you can adjust its Auto-Lock settings. This way, you can continuously work on your iPad even when the screen is idle.