How to Setup a Password Protected Screensaver in macOS

Posted on June 3, 2020 - by Kyle Hankins - in Building Your InfoSec Program

A simple security step that can make all the difference 

Many people are likely to disable the password-protected feature of their screensaver for the sake of convenience and time. But for the sake of security, you should avoid doing this. Having a password-protected screensaver on your Mac adds an extra line of protection for you and your company. 

Your company may have a form of training or instruction in their policy about how to harden your laptop. (Harden meaning enabling as many of the security features as possible.) Or they may provide you with a properly hardened device and have you sign off on the associated cybersecurity policies for appropriate use. 

Enabling a screensaver password is a simple security task you can do in less than one minute. Using password-protection whenever it’s an option is Security 101.

Steps to Password Protect Your Screensaver

Here are step-by-step instructions to set up a password-protected screensaver on your Mac:

1. Open System Preferences.

2. Click on Security & Privacy.

3. Click on the General tab.

4. Select/check the box that says “Require password ‘immediately’ after sleep or screensaver begins.”

You’ll see there is a scroll bar that selects time intervals ranging from immediately to 8 hours before sleep or screen saver begins. We recommend that you have the password be required immediately. This is in case your laptop is misplaced or stolen, so an unauthorized user cannot gain access to your computer and your files.

If you have a login password enabled there will also be an option to change that password.

To make changes to these settings, click the lock icon in the bottom left of the window, seen below.

Don’t Leave Your Computer Vulnerable

Password protecting your computer after a screensaver seems basic. And it is. But many people ignore little steps like this. 

That’s why company security policies are so crucial to communicate with your employees. If your company requires all work devices to have passwords, that is a security policy that everyone should know and be held responsible for following.

This may even be a topic or policy that prospective business customers ask about in a vendor security questionnaire.

Each time we let our guard down, that leaves a new vulnerability into our system, applications, or company network. If you have a B2B company, lax security practices can ultimately lead to a poor cybersecurity posture that damages your sales.

Do you have a policy about using passwords on your work computers?


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