Until MacBooks come with Touch ID the new MacID app is the next best thing to unlock your computer. I can unlock my MacBook Pro with just a tap on Touch ID. That sounds great right? It is but there are some stumbling blocks with this app and the technology used is not flawless. The app comes in two parts. You first have to download the MacID app direct from their website for free. Second you will need to download the companion app for your iPhone on the AppStore for $3.99. That is all you need to get started. Run the app on your Mac, find the iOS device you want to use to unlock you Mac. The Mac runs the app in background automatically when the machine boots up. Start the app. Now when your Mac is locked and you wake it with a tap on a the touchpad or keyboard, you receive a notification on your iOS device. You authorize the unlocking of the Mac with a simple swipe and tap on the Touch ID pad.
The Knock app use to be my go to but it has been replaced by MacID. MacID works with any Mac and iOS device that supports Bluetooth LE. MacID worked very well. However MacID is not without its issues. It can be at times very spastic at best. Ok, more times than not MacID was not be able to connect to my MacBook Pro. After some research I found that this is a known issue with the Mac and Bluetooth LE. This issue not only affects apps but some 3rd party accessories. There are a few work around but one hopes Apple fixes the issues on a future update. Below is my exclusive interview with Kane Cheshire the developer of MacID. The app that unlocks your Mac with Touch ID. I asked Kane Cheshire the developer of MacID some questions about the app and the future of his other projects.
Where did the idea for the app come from?
- I was hoping that Apple would implement Touch ID on new Macs last year, and as it didn’t happen I started thinking about how we could use existing tech to replicate it. I’d already been using Knock, so I knew it must be possible.
How many developers worked on the app?
- Just me! Every aspect, from the app design and coding, to the website, to the Twitter account, is all carried out by me.
Will the app be on other platforms?
- Probably not. Fragmentation is a huge factor (as is piracy), but on top of that only a small number of phones on other platforms have fingerprint scanners; an even smaller number have ones that are reliable. I also don’t enjoy the development environment for other platforms. One of the reasons I am a developer is because I enjoy it, the moment I force myself to do something I don’t like then I’ve lost sight of why I became a developer in the first place.
What are the future plans for the app?
- Unfortunately I can’t give too much away here as I’ve been burned in the past for giving away ideas, but one of the top feature requests is to have a Today widget in the Notification Centre. This is 100% on the way, but with Apple’s ever changing view on what a widget should do I can’t say exactly what the functionality will be. Of course, lots of improvements behind the scenes will take place as the app evolves, and I have some new functionality destined for v1.1 which I think are awesome.
What sets your app apart from the others?
- I’m quite lucky that I can do all the design and development myself, which means I have full control over every aspect of the project. I can still bounce ideas off friends and family but ultimately the decision to implement something cool is mine. That’s probably why my app is the only unlocking app to implement interactive notifications, new to iOS 8, as well as falling back to the device’s passcode — which means MacID supports devices as far back as iPhone 4S.
How did the company come together?
- The company is just me, myself and I. I started web development in 2010, slowly built up my confidence in design over time, and then finally managed to get to grips with app development. It’s been a crazy journey really, and something I’m proud of given the fact that I have acute dyscalculia.
How many developers do you have?
What can we expect next from your talented team?
- I have one idea that the APIs just aren’t quite ready for yet, and a couple of others are also brewing. I have one idea that I’m definitely going ahead with, however with the imminent release of Watch I’m also looking to the future of a less saturated Watch App Store where I might be able to make my mark.
Pro: MacID to works very well at first. Works on most new Macs that support Bluetooth LE and any iPhone device that has touch ID. Works like magic with little hassle.
Con: MacID to works very well at first but then it does not. The iPhone and Mac seem to not like talking to each other most of the time. Although both the Mac and iOS apps looked like they were communicating, they were not. This is not the apps fault. After doing some research it is an known issue with Bluetooth LE and Macs.
Aye/Nay: This is a Aye. The setup is a breeze. It works flawlessly at first but after a few times get fidgety. However when it works there is nothing like it. It feels like Apple built the feature itself. $4 for touch ID on your Mac is worth it.
iTunes Link: MacID for iOS