Unlox 3


I’m really pleased to announce that v3 is finally here. v3 brings a few new features, a few old features, and a few fixes and tweaks.

It’s really important to note that v3 is not compatible with v2 due to the huge change in connection procedure, so please make sure you update BOTH apps asap. Unlox v3 is a free update for anyone who has v2.

v3 has been the work of about 6 months or so, thank you to everyone for your patience while I worked on this. Here’s what’s changed:

  • Fixes the missing name bug (finally!) which started in macOS Mojave.
  • Since I had to re-write the connection code to fix the bug above, Unlox now requires your device to be “trusted” to connect. This means you might see a system Bluetooth pairing prompt (with some numbers to confirm on your Mac and iOS device). This should fix the issues people were seeing with having to forget and re-add your device over and over.
  • Unlox for iOS can now control the volume level of your Mac.
  • Unlox for iOS can now start your Mac screensavers again.
  • Unlox for macOS can now connect to multiple iOS devices. The number is actually unlimited, but I recommend adding two devices. An iPhone and iPad is a nice combination.
  • AutoLock and AutoWake (previously called Proximity Wake) are now configured per-device, so you can turn it on or off for a particular device, or change the trigger to be further away for your iPad, for example.
  • Unlox for iOS is now more power-efficient, because it will only advertise itself when in the foreground. That doesn’t stop Unlox for macOS reconnecting to your iOS device while Unlox is in the background, it just means you can’t add a new device without bringing Unlox into the foreground, which is required for discovering the name of your device anyway!
  • Small tweaks to some of the alert buttons in the app. For example, instead of the unlock confirmation alert saying “okay”, it says “unlock”, so you know what confirming actually does.
  • Since your Mac can connect to multiple devices, confirmation alerts on each device are automatically dismissed if your Mac is unlocked either from another device, from Tap to Unlock or just entering your password manually. Same goes for admin password requests.
  • Unlox for macOS will now show the number of devices connected in the menu bar, and will also show “!!” if Bluetooth has been turned off or is in some other state other than “on”.
  • The above update made it easier to give much better VoiceOver support for the menu bar icon, which will now indicate how many devices are connected and whether Bluetooth is off etc.
  • Unlox for macOS’ “Unlox ready” lock screen notification now shows the number of connected devices.
  • Unlox for macOS has a fresher design for the setup flow when adding a device.
  • Unlox for macOS will now check if you’ve entered the right password before saving it, and will tell you if you made a mistake.
  • Fixes macOS sometimes showing a warning that Unlox needs to be updated to 64-bit architecture. Unlox was actually already 64-bit, but an embedded app Unlox uses to relaunch itself was still 32-bit. I’ve completely removed that embedded app now, Unlox can use alternative methods to relaunch itself.
  • Unlox for macOS will add itself to Login Items the first time you set up a device, so Unlox will automatically start when you log in. Previously this was broken and you would have to add Unlox to Login Items yourself.
  • Added local logging to Unlox for iOS to help me debug issues. If you experience strange behaviour, please forward on logs from both your Mac and iOS device. As always, logs will never leave your device unless you explicitly share them with me.

Unfortunately Unlox for watchOS is still not in a very good state and isn’t very reliable. Since it’s still not possible for 3rd party Bluetooth apps on watchOS to connect in the background and act as peripherals, it makes Unlox for watchOS slow and difficult for me to warrant spending too much time on it.

I really want Unlox for watchOS to be a stand-alone app, that connects directly to your Mac for AutoLock and AutoWake. When that happens I will invest in much more time into Unlox for watchOS.

Unlox and Mojave

Every new macOS release brings new challenges for me as the developer of Unlox.

Usually that challenge is around bugs in Bluetooth, but this year it’s a bit more challenging. This year Apple really tightened the restrictions 3rd party apps have to interact with other apps, which means now apps have to be given explicit approval to control things.

For Unlox to be able to enter a password into the window you MUST allow Unlox access by opening:

[System Preferences] ➔ [Security & Privacy] ➔ [Privacy] ➔ [Accessibility] ➔ Allow Unlox access by dragging Unlox into the list of apps and check the checkbox (see screenshot below)


Unlox will not be able to enter your password unless you grant access. The first time Unlox tries to enter a password, the system will prompt you to ask you to allow access.

If you deny access then by accident, the system will never prompt you again and you must follow the manual steps above.
EDIT: I’ve found a way to prompt for access on launch of Unlox which I’ll add in an update soon.

You can read more about why this sucks as a developer here. (Thanks Felix!)

I’ll continue to monitor the Mojave betas in case this changes, and I’ll try to make this process easier if at all possible in a future update. Until then, please share this with anyone you know who uses Unlox so that they can keep unlocking their Macs!

Thanks for the support.