A lock screen requires you to enter a password or code to resume using the computer. While Apple’s mobile devices offer plenty of lock screen options, Macs tend to stay away from the subject (unlike the new Microsoft computers, which are more lock-oriented). A Mac will lock down automatically if you close the lid, but figuring out how to lock it when you’re stepping away for a moment isn’t as intuitive as you’d think.
Fortunately, there are ways to enable your lock screen and control it with shortcuts and commands. Don’t worry about stepping away from your Mac ever again! Just follow our guide and set up some better security.
Set a password lock
Some Mac devices don’t automatically lock when you put them to sleep. All someone has to do is tap a key, and the computer will pop back on again. This can be a problem if you don’t regularly log out but still want to protect your data! To solve the problem, you have to turn your sleep screen into a lock screen. Fortunately, this is an easy change to make—here’s what to do.
- Start by going to System Preferences. You can either search for it, or go to your Apple Menu and select the gear icon.
- From here select Security & Privacy. When this window opens, make sure that you are in the General section, which should be the first tab.
- The first section in General is all about your passwords. You will see several checkboxes that can be checked here. The first option says “Require password after sleep or screen saver begins.” Choose this option.
- There’s a dropdown menu that allows you to choose when the lock function engages, anywhere from a few seconds to 8 hours. Choose the option that makes the most sense for you—for example, if your screensaver frequently comes on while you’re thinking, you may want the lock screen to wait several seconds before engaging. If you want an immediate lock screen, then choose the “Immediately” option. There you go!
Two final things to note here. First, since this lock also affects screensavers, you may want to pay a visit to your screensaver settings and make sure that they are acceptable with the knowledge that you will have to type in your password every time it turns on. Second, if you try to make any other changes to your passwords, including changing the time or turn the lock screen off, you’ll need to input the password. Only try this if you know the password for the profile that you’re on.