Lock the Mac OS X Desktop via Menu Bar

Feb 10, 2011 - 5 Comments

lock mac desktop We showed you how to lock your Mac screen with a keystroke, but you can also access the same desktop lock through a little known Mac OS X menubar item.

Let’s enable this hidden feature:

  • Launch “Keychain Access” located in /Applications/Utilities/
  • From the ‘Keychain Access’ menu, open Preferences
  • Select the checkbox next to “Show Status in Menu Bar”

keychain lock screen menu

Now that the lock menubar item is enabled, you’ll find a little lock icon in your menu bar. Once the menu item is enabled, just click on the lock icon and drag down to “Lock Screen” to immediately lock your Mac OS X desktop.

To regain access to the Mac, you’ll need to enter your login credentials.

There’s other ways to quickly lock your Mac, including the aforementioned keystroke and using screensaver hot corners, but for many users a simple menu pull down item is the easiest method.

This is a nice hidden feature of Mac OS X and I’m not sure why it’s buried in the Keychain utility rather than a system preference. If you’re wanting to dig a little deeper you can find other uses for Keychain including finding a forgotten wireless password and discovering web login credentials.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

5 Comments

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  1. chz says:

    excellent tip

  2. Great find. This is one of those features that I miss from Windows. It doesn’t matter so much in the home however in the office it’s nice to lock my screen if I’m leaving to go to lunch.

  3. Nihar says:

    I prefer the key combination. Thanks for that one!

  4. [...] been on a bit of a menu item kick lately, and this app is definitely a nice addition, although it did crash a few times when I was [...]

  5. El says:

    its weird.. in SL, when i locked, there is no screen saver, just a black black like “sleep”.

    but in lion, it show screensaver, although i don’t use any screensaver as i set it to “never”.

    how to make it look like SL, with black screen as if it was sleep?

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