Macs All-in-One For Dummies
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Many people consider passwords to be less than ideal for security. To begin with, you have to remember them. The only sure way to make sure you don’t forget or lose your password is to write it down and keep that piece of paper (or whatever you wrote on) safe.

There’s a better way if you have a current MacBook Pro or MacBook Air that supports Touch ID. Instead of using a password, use yourself: your fingerprint with Touch ID. Touch ID will work to unlock your Mac, but it’s secure enough to give you access to Apple Pay and other Apple services that involve money.

Touch ID is not a total replacement for passwords, so don’t get your hopes up. After your restart your Mac, you’ll need your password. After you’ve logged in with your password, you can then use Touch ID.

To use Touch ID, you need to set it up (usually a one-time process) and then be prepared to use it when you want.

How to set up Touch ID

Setting up your Mac for Touch ID is a fairly quick one-time process that takes just a few steps.
  1. Wash your hands and dry them. Wet hands don’t work well with Touch ID.
  2. Choose Apple→System Preferences. The System Preferences window appears.
  3. In the System Preferences window, click Touch ID.
  4. Click + to add a fingerprint. You’re asked to enter your password.
  5. Enter your password.
  6. Choose the Touch ID features you want to use on your MacBook. Your choices are:
    • Unlocking your Mac
    • Apple Pay
    • iTunes and App Store
  7. Follow the instructions to register your fingerprint.
You need to gently place your finger on the Touch ID button and keep it there until it has registered and you are instructed to move to another finger. You will need to register several fingerprints to complete the process.

How to use Touch ID

If you have set up Touch ID, you’ll be prompted to use it to unlock System Preferences, the Passwords section in Safari, or password-protected Notes in the Notes app. You can use either Touch ID or a password in these cases.

If you’re traveling, you may want to disable Touch ID so that if security needs to turn on your Mac they can do so. In general, when planning a trip check with the authorities or Apple Support because rules and technologies vary and change.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Joe Hutsko is a technology enthusiast, a journalist, an author, and a consultant. He contributes to the New York Times blog Green Inc., and has covered the latest tech trends for Fortune,, Wired, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, Macworld, PC World, TV Guide, and others. He runs the green gadget blog and his personal Web site,

Ray Anthony has helped Fortune 500 clients close multi-million dollar deals by designing and developing extraordinarily innovative, solution-selling presentations with superior value propositions for his clients. Barbara Boyd has worked as a marketing and technology consultant for more than 10 years and is the author of several books.

Jesse Feiler is a developer, consultant, and author specializing in Apple technologies. He is the creator of Minutes Machine for iPad, the meeting management app, and Saranac River Trail and is heard regularly on WAMC Public Radio for the Northeast’s The Roundtable.

David Karlins is a web design professional and author who's written over 50 books and created video training on top web design tools. Doug Sahlin is the coauthor of Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies and author of Digital Landscape & Nature Photography For Dummies.

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