Keycard Menubar App Uses iPhone’s Bluetooth Sensor To Lock And Unlock Your Mac

Keycard for Mac

Wouldn’t it be cool if your Mac locked and unlocked itself based on the proximity of your iPhone? A new menubar app called Keycard uses the Bluetooth sensors to detect when you walk away from your Mac. If you need to get up and, for example, take a call on your iPhone, Keycard will lock your Mac for you until you return.

OS X lets you automatically log out when your Mac is left unattended for a certain amount of time, but Keycard is all about location. The nearness of your iPhone is the key to unlocking your Mac, so you don’t need to manually enter your login password.

Once downloaded, Keycard runs in your Mac’s menubar. Pair the app with your iPhone, iPod touch, or even iPad and Bluetooth will bridge the connection. A nice safety feature is a four-digit PIN that can be set to manually get you into your Mac in the event that you don’t have your iPhone on you. There’s a manual lock slider in the menubar app too.

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 4.29.36 PM

There doesn’t seem to be a set distance for when Keycard knows to lock your Mac, but it’s probably not going to work unless your iPhone is at least 20-30 feet away.

If you’re ok with Bluetooth constantly running on your Mac and iOS device of choice, then Keycard is pretty cool. Bluetooth can be finicky, and Keycard user reviews indicate that there are some bugs in the initial 1.0 release. An update should be coming out soon to address most of the issues.

Whether it be the workplace, a dorm room, or a friendly neighborhood coffee shop, I can see Keycard coming in handy. It costs $7.

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  • Silverrune

    Awesome Idea but I always read reviews before buying an app, the reviews are horrible.

  • map_pin

    We’re getting comments like: “Token Lock is a really cool app, I wish I had it seen earlier so that I didn’t spend almost 6 Euros for the KeyCard app which could less than 10 Percent of your app.” – free trial at http://www.map-pin.com Its uglier, but it’s far more feature rich

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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