Locking your Mac is the best way to secure your computer when you have to step away from it. This won’t quit or interrupt any running applications, and you must type your password to get past the lock screen. Here are eight ways to lock your Mac.
First, Require a Password to Unlock Your Mac
There are many ways to lock your Mac. Some of these methods involve actually putting your Mac to sleep. However, this does little to protect your Mac if a password isn’t required to access it again. For maximum security, we recommend you always require a password after putting your Mac in sleep mode.
To password protect your Mac after it’s been put in sleep mode, click the Apple icon at the top left, and then select “System Preferences.”
Here, click “Security & Privacy.”
In the “General” tab, select the checkbox next to “Require Password.”
Type your password, and then click the arrows next to “Require Password” to open the drop-down menu. You can then select the amount of time that must pass before a password is required again. Select “Immediately” to lock your Mac whenever you put it to sleep.
If this isn’t enabled, anyone can access your Mac.
How to Lock Your Mac
When it comes to cybersecurity, you are the first layer of defense. It doesn’t matter which of the following methods you choose to lock your Mac, as long as you choose one. As we’ll cover later, make sure you also configure your Mac to automatically lock itself in case you forget.
Close Your Mac’s Lid
The simplest way to lock your Mac is to simply close the lid. When you open it again, you’ll have to type your password to access the computer and its data.
Use the Keyboard Shortcut
The runner up for the simplest way to lock your Mac is via the keyboard shortcut. You can just press Command+Control+Q to lock your Mac.
You can also press Command+Shift+Q, but this completely logs you out, which means any applications you were running will also close.
Lock Your Mac from the Apple Menu
You can also easily lock your Mac from the Apple menu. To do so, just click the Apple icon at the top left, and then select “Lock Screen.”
If you require a password to unlock your Mac immediately after it’s put in sleep mode as we covered earlier, you can just click “Sleep” in this same menu.
Lock Your Mac Using Hot Corners
Hot Corners is a feature that allows you to touch a corner of your computer’s screen with your mouse cursor to activate a command. You can also use this feature to lock your Mac.
First, click the Apple icon at the top left, and then select “System Preferences.”
Click “Mission Control.”
At the bottom left, click “Hot Corners.”
From here, choose the corner you want to use to activate the Lock Screen.
Click the corner in the box to which you want to set the Hot Corner, and then select “Lock Screen.”
Again, if you require a password to unlock your Mac immediately after it’s put in sleep mode, you can just click “Put Display to Sleep” in this same menu.
Click “OK” to set the new Hot Corner command. To activate it, just position your mouse in the corner of the screen you selected.
Lock Your Mac Using Terminal
If you want to feel like a hacker, you can lock your Mac via the Terminal. To launch Terminal, press Command+Space to open Spotlight Search, search for “Terminal,” and then click it in the search results.
In Terminal, type the following command, and then press Enter:
Your Mac will now be put in sleep mode. Again, make sure a password is required after it’s awakened from sleep mode.
Lock Your Mac Using the Touch Bar
You can also add a button to the Touch bar of your MacBook Pro to lock it. To do so, click the Apple icon at the top left, and then select “System Preferences.”
At the bottom right, click “Customize Control Strip.”
A menu with several buttons will appear. Click and drag the “Screen Lock” or “Sleep” button down to the Touch bar.
Now, whenever you tap that button on the Touch bar, it will lock your Mac.
Lock Your Screen from the Menu Bar
If you’re using a macOS version that predates Mojave, you can add an option to the menu bar that will put your Mac to sleep. To do so, head over to Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access.
Next, click “Keychain Access,” and then select “Preferences.”
Here, select the checkbox next to the “Show Keychain Status in Menu Bar” option.
A lock icon will now appear on the right side of the menu bar; click it, and then select “Lock Screen” from the menu that appears.
Set Your Mac to Lock Automatically
You should never leave your Mac if it’s unlocked, but we all make mistakes. If you do step away from your Mac and forget to lock it, you can set it to lock automatically after it’s been idle for a certain amount of time.
To do this, click the Apple icon at the top left, and then select “System Preferences.”
If you’re running macOS Big Sur or newer, click “Battery.”
If you’re running macOS Catalina or earlier, click “Energy Saver.”
Under the “Battery” tab in “Energy Saver,” click and drag the slider next to “Turn Display Off After” to the amount of time you prefer. You can set it anywhere from “1 minute” to “Never.”
Be sure to do the same under the “Power Adapter” tab.
Note that if you’re running macOS Big Sur, the “Battery” and “Power Adapter” tabs will be in the pane on the left.
Now, if you ever forget to lock your Mac before stepping away, it will automatically lock after the amount of time you selected, whether it’s plugged in or running on battery power.
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