Tether is a smart, free app for iOS that allows users to unlock their Mac automatically with an iPhone handset.
Available free of charge for the iPhone, Tether is an app that comes in two parts: first, there’s an iOS application for your smartphone, and second, there’s a Mac counterpart which must be installed on your OS X-powered machine. Provided you have an iPhone and computer that supports Bluetooth 4.0 (more on this below), configuring Tether should be a breeze.
Simply install the app on both your handset and Mac, launch each one, and the Tether software will guide you through the remainder of the process. After doing so, Tether users will be able to set their Mac to automatically lock whenever their iPhone handset is out of range. On the other hand, Tether is smart enough to unlock a paired Mac when its owner’s iPhone is within range once again. Smart, right?
The brains behind Tether, of course, is Bluetooth 4.0 – the same technology that has allowed similar apps, like Knock, to baffle and amuse us. Because of this, a Bluetooth 4.0 (or Bluetooth LE – that stands for “low energy”) compatible device is required. On the Mac side, compatible devices include the iMac (2012 or newer), MacBook Pro (mid–2012 or newer), MacBook Air (mid–2011 or newer), Mac mini (mid–2011 or newer), and Mac Pro (late–2013 or newer). Users will need to own an iPhone 4s or above in order to set Tether up with their handset.
The benefits of Bluetooth 4.0, however, conern battery life: unlike previous generations, Bluetooth LE indeed exerts little strain on the battery of mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone, meaning running Tether shouldn’t have a negative impact on your handset’s power level.
Passwords are saved by the app to the OS X Keychain, and the developer behind Tether stresses that the software doesn’t interact with any further apps or communicate with the Internet. Moreover, if your iPhone is lost or stolen, unlinking a paired device can be done using the Mac application.
Of course, one of the best things about Tether is the app’s ease of use. Though it was previously possible to lock Macs based on location using methods such as this one, the required software and technical knowledge limited many iPhone owners from automating their computer in this way. Tether, on the other hand, couldn’t be easier to configure.
You can download Tether free of charge on the App Store, and it’s optimized for the iPhone. For more information, including the option of downloading Tether’s OS X counterpart, click this link.