Lock your Mac via iPhone and take an iSight picture with login attempts

Sep 29, 2010 - 12 Comments

red hand RedHand is a pretty powerful Mac security app with a creepy icon that locks your computer using a myriad of protection options and scripting support, but I think the two best features by far are these: Bluetooth detection locking & unlocking, and the ability to take iSight pictures on failed login attempts.

Take an iSight picture with logins and failed login attempts

Once your computer is locked with RedHand, it will document all intrusion and login attempts with time and date, the attempted password that was entered, and best of all… an iSight picture! You can actually use any external camera attached to the Mac, but the iSight makes the most sense since it’s directly in front of the face of most Macs. This ability is configurable through the preference pane and even scriptable.

take picture of login attempt

Lock & unlock your Mac based on the presence of a Bluetooth device

Yes, this means you can use an iPhone as a keycard of sorts to lock and unlock your Mac. No password required. If RedHand detects the specified Bluetooth device, the Mac unlocks itself. If the Bluetooth device is no longer detected, the Mac locks. How awesome is this?? Why isn’t this feature built into Mac OS X and iOS?

Failed login penalties, disable the keyboard, scripting support, and more
Further options let you adjust a penalty time for failed login attempts, disable input for time periods, or just turn off the screen completely. There’s even AppleScript, Bash, Perl, and other scripting language support so that you can write custom scripts to respond to intrusion attempts. Failed login? Use a script that saves the date and time with a picture and emails it to you remotely. With scripting support, the possibilities are endless. Check out the screenshot below of the preference pane options.

Download for free, $5 if you like it
RedHand is awesome, perhaps even more awesome is the developers attitude toward customers; they give you full access to the app to try it out and there are no serial numbers, they trust that if you like the app you’ll pay the $5 to buy it.

You can download the app for free and try it out, but if you like the app you should pay the $5, it’s a small price for some great Mac security software.

red hand options

For a lot less security and reporting, you can always just lock your Mac with a screen saver, but where’s the fun in that?


Related articles:

Posted by: David Mendez in Mac OS, Security, Utilities


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  1. James says:

    Hi, this is good but i cannot get the scrips to work.

  2. […] in the future means locking your Mac when a particular Bluetooth device is not present. RedHand is a security-conscious app for OSX that does just that and […]

  3. makemineamac says:

    Airlock has been doing this for quite awhile now, but with the same quirkiness.

    The concept is a great idea, and one that hopefully will evolve into some sort of near field technology that is more powerful and effective than bluetooth.

  4. Bramstoker says:

    This is AWESOME, it’s a little funky with the iPhone just make sure you have Bluetooth discovery enabled.

    If this was refined more (maybe it needs an iPhone keep-alive client app to ping and unlock the Mac app?) they could charge 5x more easily.

    The iSight shot on incorrect password is great too, that alone is a great service. I’m pretty happy with the potential this app has.

  5. Sebastian says:

    I wish this would work better. Like Brian and Adam have said before, the bluetooth feature doesn’t work well with my iPhone. It locks the computer randomly when the iPhone goes to sleep and doesn’t unlock automatically at all – except when you force your iphone to become discoverable, which makes it more of a burden than a feature.

    Another annoying thing is that I can’t disable the dock icon – whenever I uncheck the box the entire preferences.app crashes.

    A neat idea that I’d love to see implemented by Apple.

    (What I’ve always used in the past is fast user switching, which can be activated in the user account settings. I supposed you guys know about this. I feel like the way my desktop rotates in a cube-like fashion when I lock my screen is more kickass anyway.

    • soma-zone says:

      Hi Sebastian, hi all,

      thanks for taking the time to evaluate RedHand.

      Currently Bluetooth locking requires the phone to be discoverable. We’re working on a better solution.

      Thanks for pointing out the Dock icon issue. We’ll fix that.

      If you have any further issues/suggestions, please visit our support site (support.soma-zone.com). We’re always happy to hear from our (potential) customers.



  6. I’ve tried this with the iPhone and it appears to be a little quirky. It has trouble noticing the phone comes back or left.

    • Brian says:

      I’ve noticed the exact same thing. Hopefully the developers get on this and fix the issue. I have noticed that the system will unlock within seconds if you go to the Bluetooth settings on your iPhone, so that the phone is now discoverable. It also locks up a few minutes after the phone goes back to standby.

    • Eric says:

      I’ve noticed the same thing. It has no idea my iPhone is present, or at least doesn’t unlock as it’s supposed to. This is the whole reason I got the software in the first place. I don’t want to have to keep re-entering my password every time the darn thing locks!

  7. marc says:

    You sure this works with an iPhone as the Bluetooth device?

  8. Jag says:

    I like the look of this. Might be a bit self destructive for me, considering how often I mistype my own passwords.

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