At some point, most of us are going to walk away from our computer while it’s turned on. Sometimes when that happens, family members, roommates, or even complete strangers will decide it’s OK to mess with your computer.
Keycard makes it easy to avoid that issue without having to put your machine to sleep and then wake it back up every time you walk away for a few minutes. By pairing it with your iPhone, iPod, or a host of other devices, your Mac can detect when you walk away and lock the screen, keeping others from being able to access your computer while you’re away.
So how well does it work? Check out the rest of the review after the break to find out.
Keycard’s behavior is pretty straightforward. You pair it with any number of Bluetooth devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or even an Android phone, decide which one you want to be active at the moment, and then you forget about it.
Keycard pairs with your device over Bluetooth, then waits until your phone leaves the area (Bluetooth’s range is about thirty feet, although walls and other objects can make it a bit shorter). When you walk away, Keycard locks your computer. When you walk back to your computer, it automatically detects the phone and unlocks your Mac.
Bluetooth can be finicky sometimes, so as an added security measure, you can set a passcode for unlocking your screen. That way, if your phone is lost, dead, or otherwise unable to be near your computer, you aren’t locked out for good.
No software is perfect, and Bluetooth is not the most reliable technology in the world. That being said, Keycard works very well. I experienced a few “false positives” where my Mac would lock despite the fact that my phone was sitting next to it, but the developer has assured me that these issues are rare and will be fixed soon. To Keycard’s credit, the issue only happens immediately after I lock my iPhone, and others who tried the app told me they had no such issues, leading me to believe that the issue is actually with my iPhone.
Another small issue that I noticed was that the “open at startup” doesn’t seem to stick when I restarted the app. It’s not hard to right-click the Dock icon and hit the option there to open it at login, so this issue is really a very minor inconvenience.
The idea behind Keycard is great, even if the execution is ever-so-slightly flawed. It’s a simple and effective way to keep people from messing with your Mac without having to put it to sleep, thus interrupting active downloads or other apps that may be running.
It’s very much a 1.0 release, and a few tweaks to enhance the reliability wouldn’t hurt, but as it stands Keycard is a polished way to keep prying eyes (and hands) away from your stuff. I tested it several times, walking away and coming back, and it worked every time. Aside from the few false positives I experienced, it was reliable and worked as advertised.
Keycard is available today on the Mac App Store for an introductory price of $6.99, before going to its regular price of $8.99. The full price seems a bit steep for such a seemingly simple app, but for those who need the security, it may prove to be worth the price.
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