How to Password Protect your Mac
There are several steps to password protect a Mac, we’ll cover the essentials so that if someone is to turn on your Mac, wake it from a screensaver, or wake from sleep, they will be required to enter a password in order to use the computer.
How to Set Password Protection for Mac Login Screen
This will require a password on login immediately after system boot before anyone can use the Mac:
- Open “System Preferences” from the Apple menu
- Click on “Users & Groups” (or “Accounts”)
- Click on “Login Options” in the left corner of the Accounts window
- You may need to enter the administrator password to make changes here, in that case click on the lock icon in the lower left corner
- Under Login Options, set “Automatic login” to “Off”
- Optional security measure: set “Display login window as” to “Name and password” – this will require someone to enter a name and a password into a blank field, providing no hints for usernames
- Click the lock icon again to prevent any further changes
Now anytime your Mac boots, a user login screen will appear before anyone can access the desktop or your files.
If you’re into tweaking things, this login screen can be customized rather easily with a unique background, message, and logo.
Now this password protects your Mac on boot, but let’s also password protect your Mac when waking from sleep and waking from a screensaver.
Note that some newer versions of MacOS default to using login protection, whereas older versions of Mac OS X may not.
Password Protect a Mac Screensaver & When Waking from Sleep
We’ve sort of covered this tip before when showing you how to lock a Mac screen using a keyboard shortcut, so you may already have this enabled:
- Open System Preferences
- Click on “Security”
- Under the “General” tab, select the checkbox next to “Require password after sleep or screen saver begins”
- Optional security measure: set this to require a password immediately, otherwise set the amount of time you are comfortable with
- Exit System Preferences
Now anytime your Mac activates a screensaver or is put to sleep, you will need to enter a password to gain access to it again.
You can also use the keystroke Shift+Control+Eject to activate the password lock screen immediately in most versions of Mac OS X. In modern MacOS versions, the key combination is Control+Command+Q to lock the screen.
If you’ve somehow managed to forget your Macs password, you can learn how to reset it using a variety of measures.
If you want to go even further password protect files and folders with a disk image on Mac or you can use this method to create an encrypted folder on the Mac with Disk Utility too.