The Mac (short for Macintosh) computer is a personal machine created and designed by Apple Inc. in 1984. It was only in the late nineties that Apple started making its way into households thanks to its innovative collection of operating systems.
Today we have the Mac OS, which is widely used in both personal and work-related Mac computers and laptops. And one feature which enables users to keep their work private and keep people out of their projects is the lock screen function. It’s, therefore, paramount for every Mac user to be familiar with this feature to stay focused and productive.
It’s important to note the distinction between putting your Mac computer to sleep versus locking the screen. The former does not need a password, but the latter does.
How to lock the screen on a Mac
Locking the screen
You can lock your screen in the Mac OS in several ways. But to do this, you will need to set up a password under the Systems and Preferences icon.
And although setting up the lock screen feature may not prevent theft of your laptop, it might, at the very least, help keep your Mac computer or laptop safe and protected from nosey family members and work colleagues.
Setting up a password
Start by navigating to System Preferences and clicking on Security and Privacy. Next, select the General icon before clicking on the one that reads ‘Require password…’. This prompt will give you options on the required time before your Mac screen locks. The duration will range between ‘Immediately’ and 8 hours.
Depending on where you use your Mac and what you use it for, you can choose the appropriate duration that best suits you before allowing your machine to fall asleep and lock the screen. This means that if you work from home with fewer prying eyes, you can select around fifteen minutes. But if you travel with your computer and work in public spaces, it’s best to opt for ‘immediately’ or at least five seconds.
Once finished, you will end up with an option like this. “Requires password 5 seconds immediately after sleep or screen saver begins”.
Setting up a password ensures that the machine can’t be awakened from sleep or unlocked by just anyone.
Post-password, you now need to choose the degree of functionality you want for your machine once it goes to sleep. Do you want it completely dead, or would you prefer if it went on with its programs in the background, even with the screen asleep?
With the password set up, you can approach the lock screen function from other angles.
Locking with a keyboard shortcut
We’ve all had that moment where, while working on sensitive content on our computers, prying eyes appear from around us. And these eyes usually appear on such short notice that we do not have the time to either minimize or change the screen and retain some privacy.
Well, depending on the Mac OS that you have, there is a shortcut on the keyboard that can solve this dilemma.
For the Mac OS Mojave released in 2018 and the High Sierra, which are among the latest operating systems, lock the screen by pressing Command + Control + Q simultaneously.
For older Macs, press Control + Shift + Power.
In the workplace, and especially for professionals like Video Editors and Graphic Designers who are ever rendering or exporting their projects in a time-consuming process, this can be a beneficial function as it keeps people from disrupting those functions even if you step away from your desk.
Also, once you put your machine to sleep, as the only one with the password, you’re assured that your work will not be disrupted. Protect your machine, and in turn, it will protect your work.