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A Wireless Sensor That Locks Your Mac When You Walk Away

Security is boring—particularly when it works properly.

The new Sesame 2 key fob is a dead-simple security solution for your Mac that’s exactly the right kind of boring. It automatically locks your computer when you walk away from it. Also, not as boring, it allows for some customizable actions including two-factor authentication.

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The small device fastens to your keychain or slips into your change pocket and pairs to your Mac over Bluetooth. It can determine your physical distance from your machine, and when you wander too far away from your Mac, it can force the screen to lock, requiring a login to access the desktop again.

When you return, it can either unlock your computer automatically or, if you have the optional Two-Factor Authentication mode enabled, require both the system password and the Sesame 2 to unlock the computer.

Atama originally put out its first Sesame Bluetooth key last year. This new version, the Sesame 2, is now available on the London-based company’s website for $39, or at Apple Stores and Amazon in the U.K. for £39.

The distance that triggers a screen lock is somewhat customizable—users can choose between “Near” and “Far” locking distances. While there’s some fluctuation in actual distance because of varying real-world conditions, the “Near” option typically locks your Mac once you step 20-25 feet away from it.

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In addition to locking and unlocking your screen, the Sesame 2 also lets you automate custom actions with AppleScript. For example, you can set Spotify to pause when you walk away and resume when you return, or adjust your messaging status on to “Away” automatically when you stroll to the kitchen.

While you can certainly use a smartphone app to accomplish close to the same net result—locking and unlocking your computer according to your proximity—the app method does require further dependence on your phone. If you take your phone with you everywhere you go, you probably don’t need something like the Sesame 2. But, if you want the freedom to leave your phone behind or stashed in your bag while you interface offline, then the small, low-impact Sesame may give you one less thing to worry about when you step away from your computer.

So, what happens if you lose your keys with the Sesame 2 attached? The fob’s fail-safe is the same as if you’d forgotten your Mac OS X system password: just reboot your computer in target disk mode and reset your login requirements.

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Atama’s Sesame 2 is currently compatible with most Macs from 2012 or later running either OS X 10.9.5 or OS X 10.10. Though there isn’t currently an option available for Windows PCs, Atama is conducting beta-testing for an eventual Windows-supported release.

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