Mac users tend to be a very proud lot and often for good reason. Apple is currently riding high and receiving huge amounts of press coverage over the last few years. Overall, the hardware and software and just miles above anything else out there. Yet despite being an easy target, Microsoft Windows does do a lot of things right – some of which have yet to find their way into the Mac OS. This post is about one such area.
When I’m away from the studio, I’m almost always working on my MacBook Pro and yesterday I found myself in an situation where I needed to leave my desk and was working on some code that really needed to remain private while I was away. For years Windows has offered the ability to set your screensaver so that it requires a valid user password in order to deactivate it. I would have sworn that I had seen that same feature in a previous version of OSX but in a quick glance, I wasn’t able to locate it yesterday.
I’m sure there are many ways to accomplish this but I was in a situation where I had just a minute or two to figure out a way to secure my screen while I was away (and the obvious solution of taking your laptop with you wasn’t a valid option in this case) but a quick search once again taught me something new about the Mac that I wanted to share with you.
To easily secure your screen, open the Keychain Access application (located in your Applications / Utilities) and go into it’s preferences, General tab. Check the first checkbox which says Show Status in Menu Bar which puts a small padlock icon in your menu bar. Now, anytime you want to lock up your Mac to keep it safe from prying eyes, just click on that padlock and choose Lock Screen which will bring up your screen-saver only now, requires your user password in order to deactivate it.
It works great and I just wish this wasn’t buried down in the Keychain Access application so more people could benefit from it. Is there a default way to lock your screensaver other than this? By all means, let me know if you are aware of any by posting your comments to this entry. If you want to some learn other strategies to secure up your Mac, check out this piece written earlier this year by long time Mac expert Rob Griffiths on behalf of MacWorld.