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  • Use Your iPhone as a Proximity Key to Lock/Unlock Your Mac


    Kentucky-based The M.H.A. released their Mac-based security program Airlock on Tuesday. Airlock unlocks your Mac when you approach it, based on the proximity of the Bluetooth transceiver on your iPhone (or later-gen iPod touch). The Mac will lock when your device leaves the preset range, but Airlock also accepts your account password as backup, in case the device is unavailable or its battery dies: since you'll be leaving Bluetooth turned on all the time, the battery will drain even faster than normal.

    The program runs as a System Preferences pane, which features a "radar screen" that displays the distance to your device. The display actually works pretty good as a locator if you've forgotten where you put your iPhone: a dot will show up on "radar" in the correct distance relative to your Mac. A slider lets you set the distance that Airlock will use to activate or deactivate, so if you want to set your screen to lock as soon as you leave the room, just set the device outside the door and adjust the slider until the dot shows outside the glowing ring.

    In addition to locking the screen, Airlock can be configured to do other actions when it determines your device is in or out of range. For example, when you come in-range, Airlock can automatically launch a particular application or Automator script, allowing you to log in to chat or change your status. Similarly, actions can be configured for out-of-range, like logging the date and time in an email.

    The developer is working on a bug-fix update to deal with known issues where newer-model iPhones are not detected by the iPhone-selection sheet within the Airlock preference pane, and where some iPhones can't be detected at all, with no dot appearing on the radar screen, and with the range indicator remaining black. There is also an issue which they believe is caused by a bug in Mac OS X's Bluetooth implementation, causing connection loss to Bluetooth devices, that ithey are appealing to Apple to resolve.

    Airlock supports Intel Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. It costs $7.77 for a single license, which works on up to three computers. Multi-site licenses are also available.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Use Your iPhone as a Proximity Key to Lock/Unlock Your Mac started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. jboone's Avatar
      jboone -
      I'm using it now it works pretty well.
    1. KiZZ's Avatar
      KiZZ -
      Great idea and very cool program, but my battery already dies fast enough as it is....without bluetooth running all day.
    1. RandyC's Avatar
      RandyC -
      This sounds pretty cool.
      Not really too bad of a price either but I wouldn't buy it.
    1. Nick Hesson's Avatar
      Nick Hesson -
      Hmm, Yeah I saw this a few days ago, wasn't sure if people really cared
    1. Go Gators's Avatar
      Go Gators -
      I bought and installed this a couple of hours ago and I really like it. It works great! I'm always walking away from my MacBook Pro when I bring it to work and at home and it is a pain typing in my password 20-30 times a day. Don't have to worry about it anymore. Once I get about 10 feet away the screen goes black and is locked. Once I come back in range it is unlocked and ready to go by the time I sit down in front of it. Very cool! The only little problem I had was when I turned on my Motorola S9 HD bluetooth headphones next to my computer it seemed to interfere with the bluetooth signal as the music kept cutting in and out. Once I walked away from the computer it cleared up and all was good.
    1. billchase2's Avatar
      billchase2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by KiZZ View Post
      Great idea and very cool program, but my battery already dies fast enough as it is....without bluetooth running all day.
      Agreed.
    1. thewierdone2000's Avatar
      thewierdone2000 -
      Hahaha, I am working on writing something very similar to this. Sadly, he beat me to release :-(
    1. tavella's Avatar
      tavella -
      I hope that they didn't break The GPL when they created this because I've used Bluelock on Ubuntu before, supports all phones, and was free.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      Sounds awesome. I am downloading now
    1. desepticon's Avatar
      desepticon -
      pretty cool. works well. hits my phones battery though even with the settings on energy saver.
    1. psychodave's Avatar
      psychodave -
      As silly as that program sounds I could totally see myself using it. Price is even right.
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      Lame, see also weak. Don't need an iphone with an even shorter battery life.
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      yeah i dont envision a use for this
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      i like the idea especially the part about losing your iPhone and tracking it with the software. But im not that lazy to use it for unlocking purposes.
    1. Userno9583's Avatar
      Userno9583 -
      pretty cool program, if my batter would last more than 2 hours/charge i would consider using it.
    1. thewierdone2000's Avatar
      thewierdone2000 -
      If anyone is interested, there is a way to do what this program is doing without the huge hit to battery.

      I will be releasing my program, which serves a similar function but doesn't use as much battery, shortly