There are a number of different ways to lock or sleep your screen in macOS. Before we show them to you, however, it’s important to make the distinction between locking your screen and just putting it to sleep.
If you lock your Mac you’ll put it to sleep and need to type in your login password on your Mac’s lock screen (or unlock it with TouchID on a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, or with an Apple Watch). If you put it to sleep, you won’t necessarily lock it. In order to lock your screen, you need to set up the password in System Preferences. Here’s how to do that.
How to set up a password to lock the screen
What is Mac OS X? Mac® OS X® is an operating system for personal computers (PC), created by Apple. Now rebranded as macOS, it runs on Apple devices like the Macbook and iMac, and allows you to manage files and run other programs like web browsers, video games and even screensavers. This is a decent article about how to start the Mac/MacOS screensaver using a keyboard shortcut (keystroke).
Hotkeys To Start Windows Screensaver
- Launch System Preferences either by clicking on its icon in the Dock or by choosing it from the Apple menu.
- Click on the Security & Privacy pane.
- Choose the General tab and check the option that starts ‘Require password…’
- Choose an option from the dropdown menu.
Now, whenever your Mac goes to sleep or a screensaver starts, it will lock and you’ll have to authenticate with your user password, Apple Watch or TouchID to gain access.
Worried about your Mac’s security in public places? Get Beepify, a Setapp app that protects your Mac from theft.Download Beepify Free
How to lock your Mac
If you have a MacBook, a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro, the quickest and easiest way to lock your Mac is just to shut the lid. When you do that, the Mac goes to sleep and when you open it again you’ll need to unlock it.
However, there are occasions when you’ll want to prevent anyone from seeing the screen without actually closing it. And, in any case, if you have an iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro, it’s not an option. Here are some other ways you can lock your Mac’s display.
1. Use Apple menu
Go to the Apple menu and choose Sleep. This will display the login screen for your account and won’t unlock with a password (unless you’re wearing an Apple Watch when you do it and then it will lock and unlock immediately)
Tip: If you want your Mac to remain locked even when you’re close by and you have an Apple Watch, go to System Preferences>Security & Privacy>General and uncheck the Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac option.
2. Use shortcuts
If you’re using a Mac that’s running macOS Catalina, go to the Apple menu and choose Lock Screen or press Command+Control+Q. This will lock your Mac and return you to the Login screen.
For older versions of the operating system, press Control+Shift+Power button (or Control+Shift+Eject if your Mac has an optical drive). It will lock the screen.
You can also use a keyboard shortcut to put your Mac to sleep. Press Command+Option+Power (or Eject). This works in a similar way to the previous one, but rather than just lock your Mac it powers down the hard drive, puts the CPU into low power mode and stops background tasks in order to save energy.
3. Set up a hot corner
Hot corners allow you to drag to the mouse pointer to one of the four corners of the screen to initiate an action – you can use one as a sleep shortcut on your Mac. To set it up:
- Launch System Preferences.
- Choose the Desktop & Screen Saver pane.
- Click the Hot Corners button at the bottom right of the window.
- In the drop down window, choose a corner.
- Click on the menu and choose either Start Screen Saver or Put Display to Sleep.
4. Use fast user switching
Fast user switching allows you to quickly log into another user account on your Mac. But you can also use it to return to the log in window, which locks your Mac. Got to System Preferences>Users & Groups and click the padlock, then type in your password. Click Login Options and check the box next to ‘Show fast user switch menu as.’ You can also choose whether to show the menu as your full name, the account name or an icon.
To lock your Mac, click the fast user switching menu at the right of the menu bar and choose Login Window…
5. Add Keychain Access to the menu bar
This option was removed in macOS Mojave but works on versions before High Sierra:
- Go to Finder.
- Choose Applications > Utilities.
- Launch Keychain Access.
- Click in the Keychain Access menu and select Preferences.
- Check the box next to Show keychain status in menu bar.
- You’ll see a lock in the Finder menu bar. Click it and choose Lock Screen to lock your Mac.
Other ways to protect your privacy
First of all, fet a Finder-like Terminal for Mac that will help you completely control the login settings. It’s called MacPilot. The app covers over 1,200 hidden macOS features. For privacy, you can go into the Login tab and customize access by users, enable the option of automatic screen locking, and edit launch items.
If you’re looking for physical protection of your Mac, Beepify is the app you need. Whenever you have to step away from the computer in a public place, activate Beepify and it will be set to produce a loud sound in case someone tries to close the screen or disconnect charger.
One of the main reasons for locking your Mac when you step away from it is to stop prying eyes accessing your files, browser history, or anything else you don’t want them to see. CleanMyMac X has a tool that gives you even more privacy protection.
CleanMyMac’s Privacy tool allows you to quickly delete your browser history in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. But it also allows you to delete message threads and attachments in Messages, and to remove entries from macOS’ recent files lists.
Also, CleanMyMac’s Shredder is a quick and easy way to securely delete sensitive data. You can download CleanMyMac for free and give it a try.
As you can see, putting your Mac to sleep or locking it is very easy. There are lots of different ways to do it, although some are dependent on the version of macOS you’re using. If you regularly lock your Mac to prevent others accessing it, you should ensure your login password is strong and secure.
Mac Hotkeys Cheat Sheet
Finally, if privacy is important, CleanMyMac has a couple of tools that can help delete sensitive data.
These might also interest you:
Apple released the macOS 10.14 Mojave update with several features and optimizations. It took me over a week to discover and tweak most of them. One of the first things I did was to customize the lock screen on my MacBook Air running Mojave.
The entire activity barely took a couple of minutes, and now my MacBook Air's lock screen looks more personal than ever. Thankfully, Mojave continues to offer a few ways to change the lock screen look and options from the vanilla one offered out of the box.Pro Tip: If you use the lock screen for privacy reasons, then consider enabling FileVault, the disk encryption setting, through System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault and click on Turn on FileVault button.
Let's start with an easy option.
Change the Desktop Wallpaper
A large wallpaper can make the desktop look crisp and clear. Get a wallpaper in at least Full HD resolution for MacBook Air and 4K resolution for MacBook as well as MacBook Pro.Tip: We recommend using at least 4K UHD (3840x2160) in case you plan to connect your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to a 4K monitor or TV. You'll need a 5K wallpaper for the 5K iMacs.
Step 1: Right-click on the desktop and select Change Desktop Background from the context menu.
Mac Hotkeys Pdf
Step 2: Navigate to the wallpaper or pick in anyone from the available album folders as your wallpaper.
Step 3: Click on the Apple Menu and select Lock Screen to confirm that the new wallpaper is visible on the lock screen. Alternatively, you can press Control+Command+Q shortcut keys to lock the screen.
I chose an official Firewatch game's wallpaper for my desktop as the lock screen background.
Also on Guiding Tech
How To Speed Up a Slow MacRead More
Change the User Account Picture
Apple provides about 43 different images to choose as your account photo which is visible at the lock screen and the login screen. You can set a custom photo which could be your picture or anything else. Here's how you can change the user account picture.
First of all, you must add the image you want to put as your User account image in the Photos app.Tip: Using a square image with 700x700 pixel resolution yielded better results to set at the User account picture replacement.
Transfer the image(s) to the Photos app and then follow these steps:
Step 1: Click on the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences.
Step 2: Head to User & Groups.
Step 3: Click on the current User account image, and it will roll out a photo selection menu.
Step 4: Select Photos. Now keep scrolling the left pane containing thumbnails till you see the new images you added at the bottom. Select the one you want to use and hit next.
You can take a picture of yourself using the camera and set it as your account photo.
Step 5: Use the zoom slider to align the image correctly and hit Save when you are satisfied.
Now you can use the Control+Command+Q shortcut to view the lock screen and check your new User account image.
Add a Message or Text on the Lock Screen
MacBooks are lightweight, convenient to carry around, and easy to forget at airports, cafes or conferences. How can one identify whose laptop it is and reach out to the rightful owner? Well, you can leave a custom text message on the lock screen that would help anyone to reach out to you and return your laptop.
Such custom text is also an excellent way to leave cheeky a message for your sneaky sibling or a co-worker. Here's how you can set one:
Step 1: Go to System Preferences using the Apple menu and click on Security & Privacy.
Step 2: Click on the lock icon at the bottom right corner of the window to unlock the setting and enter the administrator password.
Step 3: Check the second option that states 'Show a message when the screen is locked' and click on the Set Lock Message button.
Step 4: Add text in the field, hit the OK button and finally click on the lock icon to lock it back.
You can access the lock screen using Control+Command+Q shortcut and view the custom text on the lock screen.
Password Protect After Screen Saver Starts
Often we prefer to use a screen saver and select the Mac system to automatically go to sleep mode when not in use. The screen saver or the sleep mode do not activate the lock screen by default. So anyone can take advantage of that and gain access to your system. To avoid that, you can set a password requirement whenever the computer goes into sleep mode or after the screen saver starts.
Step 1: Go to System Preferences from the Apple Menu.
Step 2: In the Security & Privacy settings, check the first box for Require password and pick a preferred time from the drop-down menu.
Now you can step away from your Mac without worrying about someone being sneaky.
Also on Guiding Tech
3 Solid Ways to Hide and Encrypt Files and Folders on MacRead More
All Glam, No Sham
The macOS 10.14 Mojave allows using a few tricks with the lock screen. While most are quite simple and efficient, one needs to set the screen saver and energy saver settings smartly to make the best of them.
The only thing missing is notification support — mostly for emails, Slack and few other productivity apps. Indeed, just like the lock screen on an iPhone, iPad, or an Android-based smartphone. Most importantly, the ones that can hide sensitive information like on Android and iOS lock screens. However, if you come across a good one, do share with us in the comments section below.
The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.Read NextHow to Prevent a Mac From Connecting to the Wrong Wireless NetworkAlso See#macos #customization
Did You Know
Apple’s A12 Bionic chip is the first 7nm mobile chipset.