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.
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Caps Lock, Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and more in your Tray TrayStatus shows you the status of keyboard keys like Caps Lock, Num Lock, Scroll Lock, Alt, Ctrl, and more, right in your system tray. Save up to 50% off any of our apps in our 2020 summer sale, including DisplayFusion, ClipboardFusion, FileSeek, LogFusion, TrayStatus, and VoiceBot! Apr 23, 2018 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.
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
- 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.
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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.
Finally, if privacy is important, CleanMyMac has a couple of tools that can help delete sensitive data.
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When it comes to protecting confidential files on a Mac, there’s an easy way to add password protection to your files. The feature works just great to lock files and folders on your Mac. However, there’s something that it doesn’t support and it’s locking your apps.
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If you want to lock certain apps from being launched on your Mac, you can’t use the standard locking method. Also, there’s no other option on the Mac that lets you keep your apps from unauthorized users.
This is where two third-party locking apps come into the picture. These apps let you restrict the usage of your chosen apps on your Mac. They let you add password protection to your apps so your apps can only launch if the correct password is entered. Both of these apps are paid ones but you can use their trial versions if you aren’t looking to explore all the features available in them.
There are many occasions when you might want to lock apps on Mac. Maybe you want to lock your financial apps when you give away your Mac for repairing. Or maybe you want to lock your FTP apps so other users don’t mess up your website files.
Using AppCrypt To Lock Apps On a Mac
AppCrypt ($29.99) is a premium app for Mac that allows you to block both apps as well as websites on your machine.
The great thing about the app is that it records all the failed attempts to open your protected apps. It even captures a photo on your Mac when there’s a failed attempt to unlock an app.
- Head over to the AppCrypt website and download the app to your Mac. Drag the app to your Applications folder so it appears in all app launchers.
- Click on Launchpad in your Dock, search for AppCrypt, and click on it when it appears to launch the app.
- Since the app has been downloaded from the Internet, you’ll get a warning message on your screen. Click on Open to open the app anyway.
- When the app opens for the first time on your Mac, you’ll be asked to set a password. This is the password that will protect your apps on your machine.
Also, make sure to tick-mark the Launch at System Startup option to ensure the app launches and protects your apps each time your Mac boots-up. Then click on Submit to continue.
- On the main app interface, you’ll find various options to choose from. Now that you’ve set up your password, it’s time to choose the apps that you want to lock. Click on the Add App option at the top to add your apps.
- The Finder browse window will open. Click on the Applications folder in the left sidebar, find the app you want to lock in the right pane, and double click on the app.
- Your chosen app is now added to AppCrypt and is now locked.
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How To Launch An AppCrypt-Locked App On Mac
If you wish to open an app that is password protected, you can do it as the following.
- Search for your app in Launchpad and click on it when it appears.
- You’ll be prompted to enter your password. Enter the password and click on Submit.
- If you entered the correct password, the app will open. Else, it won’t let you proceed and your failed attempt will be logged in the app.
How To Unlock An App In AppCrypt On Mac
If you no longer wish to keep an app password protected, you can have it unlocked in AppCrypt.
- Launch AppCrypt and enter your password to continue.
- Select the app you want to unlock in the left sidebar and click on Remove App at the top.
Your app will instantly be removed from the list and unlocked on your Mac.
Locking Apps On a Mac Using AppLocker
AppLocker (free with in-app purchases) is available on the official Mac App Store and it lets you add password protection to the apps installed on your Mac. In addition to passwords, it supports Touch ID and Bluetooth ID as well to let you unlock the locked apps on your machine.
- Launch the Mac App Store, search for AppLocker, and get the app installed on your Mac.
- Open the newly installed app and you’ll be asked to set a password. Do so and continue. You’ll use this password to unlock the locked apps on your Mac.
- Click on the app icon in your menu bar and you’ll be prompted to enter your password. Enter the password and click on Enter.
- On the main interface, ensure the Activate AppLocker option is enabled. Also, enable the option that says Start at Login so the app launches each time your Mac boots-up.
To lock an app with AppLocker, click on the + (plus) sign at the top to add an app.
- The following screen lists out all the apps installed on your machine. Click on the one you want to lock in the list.
Your selected app will be locked on your Mac.
How To Launch An AppLocker-Locked App
- Find and launch the app as you normally would.
- You’ll be asked to enter your password. Type in the password and hit Enter.
Your locked app will launch if you entered the correct password for it.
How To Unlock An App In AppLocker On Mac
Unlocking an app with AppLocker is much easier than locking one.
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- Click on the AppLocker icon in your menu bar and enter your password to continue.
- Find the app you want to unlock and then click on the X sign next to the app.
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It’ll quickly remove your app and unlock it for you on your Mac.