Add a Message to the Login and Lock Screen in Mac OS X

Jul 28, 2011 - 14 Comments

OS X has a nice new feature to login and lock screens that allow you to display a message underneath the login panel. This is visible to everyone who can see the Mac screen, and it makes for a great place to put either a bit of generic personalization message, or better yet, a lost & found message with some contact and ownership details.

Message at Login and Lock Screen in Mac OS X

We’ll show you exactly how to set this up on any Mac, it only takes a minute:

How to Add a Login & Lock Screen Message to OS X

Note that for the lock screen message to be displayed you also must have the ‘Require password’ feature turned on in the Security panel, then:

  • Open up System Preferences from the  Apple menu and click on the “Security & Privacy” settings panel
  • Select the “General” tab and then click the little lock icon in the lower left corner of the window, enter the admin password when asked
  • Check the button next to “Show a message when the screen is locked” and type your login and lock screen message in the box below
  • Click the lock icon again to set the changes and close out System Preferences

If you want to confirm the change, activate a screen saver with a sleep corner or lock down your Mac screen with a keystroke, just be sure that you require a password or you won’t see your message.

You can see what this looks like in the screenshot above and the closeup image below:

login message in Mac OS X

Having a message on your lock screen is a great loss prevention and general anti-theft measure, since anyone who gets the Mac into their hands later will see the message and if they have a conscience, will hopefully call the number you set on the screen. This could also help if you ever accidentally misplaced a Mac laptop, and is a great addition to setting an “If Found” message as the iPhone lock screen wallpaper which was suggested by Apple a few years ago.

This tip works universally on all new Macs with OS X 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, and OS X Mavericks (10.9), and presumably all future versions of OS X as well. For those wondering, the screenshot background is actually the Fliqlo flip-clock screen saver, which will show itself behind the login and message that is placed.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. […] data on your machine that you want to keep from prying eyes. Another very worthwhile endeavor is to add a login message to OS X, this can include things like identifying information of the Mac, or better yet, ownership details […]

  2. […] an ownership name, email address, and phone number on the login screen and screen saver. It only takes a minute to configure login messages in OS X, and even less time to set messages as your screen saver. Do […]

  3. […] on the clock is somewhat unintuitive. Ideally, you could show this data in the same way you can add a message to the Lion login screen, but there are currently no known methods to do that unless you want to just manually add the […]

  4. MU says:

    This feature’s also attainable on OS10.6 and lower – using CLi – (i.e in Terminal):-
    sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ LoginwindowText “Prop of, if found call 415-555-1212”

    NB: CLi must all be on one line!

  5. Lippy says:

    Just wondering how you changed your login window background, I know it’s fliqlo but does it update? Or is it just a static image?

    • OSXDaily says:

      It updates and runs like a normal screen saver, that’s actually the lock screen though and not the login window. But you raise a good question, so we will look into the ability to set a screen saver as the login window background, that would be a cool trick.

  6. warmz says:

    gr8 .. woooooooooooosh .. Ooo`WOoooooooop :]

  7. Brad says:

    How did you get the time in the back, thanks?

  8. flyshoo says:

    I work for a school and I miss the ability to ask users to click on the login screen for there ip address. Is there a way to add this function back to the login screen?

  9. Name (required) says:

    “and if they have a conscious,”
    If they have a conscious what? What is it and why does it need to be awake?

  10. Mike says:

    I like this one a lot. I learn something new every day here, thanks.

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