Lock the Screen of a Mac OS X Computer

Any time that you are away from your computer, it’s always a good idea to lock the screen. This provides a level of privacy and security to your Mac and will protect your documents, applications and open web sessions. NMSU Faculty, Staff, and Students should lock the screen to prevent unwanted access to sensitive or confidential material on their computer. The fastest way to lock the screen of any Mac OS X computer is to use a simple keyboard shortcut. Another way to lock the screen of a Mac is to use hot corners. First, we must enable the Lock Screen in Mac OS X.


Enable the Lock Screen in Mac OS X

To use the lock screen keyboard shortcuts, you first must enable the lock screen ability in Mac OS X. With this enabled, you can then lock down the Mac instantly and require a password for it to be usable again.

  1. Launch System Preferences, found in the Apple menu
  2. Click on “Security & Privacy” and look under the “General” tab
  3. Click on the check-box next to “Require password after sleep or screen saver begins”
  4. From the drop down menu select “immediately” as the time interval
  5. Exit out of System Preferences

Lock the screen with keystrokes

For external keyboards with an Eject key, use Control + Shift + Eject

For keyboards without an Eject key, like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina, use Control + Shift + Power

By hitting the appropriate key combination for your Mac model, the screen will instantly go dark, thereby locking it and requiring a user to enter a password before the computer can be accessed again.

Lock the screen with Hot Corners

  1. Launch System Preferences, found in the Apple menu.
  2. Click on “Mission Control” and click on “Hot Corners” in the lower left corner.
  3. Chose the hot corner you wish to associate with locking the screen and then choose “Put display to sleep” or “Start Screen Saver” – either method will require a password to regain access.