One of the joys of Touch ID on a Mac laptop is using Apple Pay
without needing an iPhone or iPad at hand to validate a secure
credit or debit card transaction. This was extended to M1 Macs with
the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, which allows an iMac or Mac mini
to add Touch ID through a special wireless connection to an M1
Mac's Secure Enclave module.
message doesn't provide a link to every reason it might
But some readers have found Apple Pay disabled. In the Wallet
Apple Pay system preference pane, macOS offers the
explanation Apple Pay has been disabled because the security
settings of this Mac were modified. Several different causes could
be the root, and Apple omits one for M1 Macs in the document linked
via a Learn More button in the pane.
Full Security on an
Intel or M1 Mac
To ensure Apple Pay works, system security must be set to Full
Security on both Intel and M1-series Macs. This requires restarting
or starting up in recoveryOS and then using the Startup Security
Utility to reset system security.
You may have downgraded security on an Intel Mac to boot off an
external volume or to install some low-level drivers for
third-party software. With an M1 Mac, the most likely reason is you
enabled its Reduced Security mode to install a kernel extension
required by some software that taps into low-level drivers, like some of Rogue Amoeba's audio software. (Apple
doesn't yet provide hooks in macOS for M1 Macs that allow certain
kinds of direct access to system input and output without reducing
With a reduced-security macOS startup, Apple may be unable to
create the level of integrity it and the credit-card system
requires for mobile payments that match the degree offered by a
point-of-sale system accepting a chip on a card. If so, Apple Pay
is disabled on the Mac. (Apple explains in technical detail how
this relates to the M1 security policy process in this platform security document.)
There are separate paths on how to re-enable Full Security by
Mac architecture type. Apple offers a
full page walkthrough on reverting to Full Security with an
Intel Mac with a T2 Security Chip. For an M1-series Mac, look at
the Change the security policy heading in this support document.
Apple also suggests other causes:
- If you have a laptop, its lid must be open. This makes sense
because how would you otherwise use the Touch ID sensor? However,
with an M1 laptop and a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, you could be
in that scenario.
- In the Software Update preference pane, click Advanced: the
Install system data files and security updates box should be
checked for automatic installation.
- Apple also notes more ambiguously that macOS disables Apple Pay
when it detects third-party software or malware that affects its
ability to keep your payment information secure.
You might wonder why Safari continues to allow you to fill in
stored credit and debits cards from Safari Preferences
Autofill if Apple Pay is disabled? Safari doesn't perform
a mobile payment transaction when it auto-fills card information—it
just drops the information in without additional typing. Safari
doesn't even store the card's verification code, the CVV, which
must be entered manually.
Credit-card processors that manage transactions for online
retailers treat form-entered cards as among the most potentially
fraudulent transactions; they don't differentiate—nor do they have
a way to—between browser auto-filled card details or those entered
manually. Apple Pay mobile payments are among the least likely to
be fraudulent because of the way the transaction is created and
validated, and are scored for risk accordingly.
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