How to Lock Screen in OS X

If you’re coming from a Windows background, you probably know that to lock your screen you just press CTRL + ALT + DEL and that’s it! Pretty straight-forward and simple! But what about on a Mac? On OS X, it takes a little more time to setup screen locking, but it works equally well.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps to enable lock screen in OS X Lion/Snow Leopard and also how to use a simple shortcut that emulates the CTRL+ALT+DEL combo on Windows.

To get started, go to System Preferences and then click on Security & Privacy.

lock screen os x

On the General tab, you’ll see the settings to manage the lock screen on OS X.

lock screen

Go ahead and check the Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins box in order to turn on the lock screen feature. Note that you can click on the drop down and change that to a time interval all the way up to 4 hours. This is really nice if you tend to come back to your computer and start using it soon after it goes to sleep or if you have a really short sleep/screen saver time set, but don’t want the lock screen to appear unless the computer hasn’t been used in a longer time.

You can either wait for your computer to sleep or go into the screen saver or you can press Control + Shift + Eject to put your Mac into sleep mode. And yes, that’s the eject button at the very top right which you use to eject the disc from the CD/DVD drive.

Now when you go to wake up your computer, you’ll see the following lock screen:

mac lock screen

There are also other options below that you can check to make your computer even more secure. For example, you can disable automatic login, so that the user has to type in the password when starting up OS X. You can also have the computer logout after a certain number of minutes and you can show a message custom message on the lock screen if you like.

That’s about all there is to locking your screen on OS X. Hopefully this is what you were looking for. If you have any questions about this or how to do something different in terms of screen lock, post your question here. Enjoy!

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Comments [2]

  1. Arno.Nyhm says:

    but on MacBookPro / Air there is no key for eject on the keyboard :-(

  2. Dave says:

    Actually, to lock a windows PC it’s Windows Key + L

    I find it faster to use hot corners to lock my Mac than any key combinations. Top right turns off screen. Bottom right starts screen saver. Couldn’t get easier.

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