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.
Password protect system boot
This will require a password on system boot before anyone can use the Mac
- Open “System Preferences”
- Click on “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.
Password protect a Mac screensaver and 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.
If you’ve somehow managed to forget your Macs password, you can learn how to reset it using a variety of measures.