How do I lock my Mac? How do I put my Mac to sleep?

Locking your Mac can help protect your data from those wanting to snoop on your personal files and folders. Being able to lock and put your Mac to sleep will prevent and deter people from accessing your Mac. 

Here's a quick guide to locking your Mac:

  • Navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General
  • Enable the 'Require password' option
  • On your keyboard press the following simultaneously: Control + Shift + Eject (or Power)

How to lock a Mac: How to enable password protection

Locking your Mac is useful, but to protect your personal data and files you'll need to enable a password-option, which will prompt whoever is trying to access your Mac whilst your away to input a password.

How to lock a Mac - Security Settings

To enable password protection, navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and tick the first option: 'Require password'. You can also change the length of time before your Mac requires a password, meaning if you accidentally tend to lock your Mac, you can have it so that it doesn't always ask you for a password. This option can be set from anything between an immediate password-prompt to eight hours. 

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How to lock a Mac: How to use your keyboard to lock your Mac

Once you've configured the settings, it's extremely simple and fast to lock your Mac. Simultaneously press Control + Shift + Eject (or Power if you're on a newer Mac) and it will lock your Mac.

How to lock a Mac - Keyboard

To log back in, simply press any key on your keyboard and it will prompt you to enter a password (depending on your configured settings above).

It should be noted that locking your Mac enables your background tasks to continue running, whilst being secured behind a password. Meaning if you're uploading a video to YouTube or editing something, you won't lose your work. 

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How to lock a Mac: How to put your display to sleep

Putting your display to sleep performs the same action as locking your Mac. You can have a quick shortcut to this, by assigning a corner of your Mac to send your display to sleep.

Navigate to Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver and click on the 'Hot Corners' option within this window. This will pop-up another prompt allowing you to customise the four corners of your Mac.

How to lock a Mac - Screen Saver

From here, simply select 'Put Display to Sleep' and hit OK. Now each time you navigate your mouse to that corner of the screen, it will automatically send the display to sleep, ultimately locking the Mac too.

Just like the lock option, this will enable background tasks to continue running in the background.

How to lock a Mac: How to send your Mac to sleep

Unlike locking and putting your display to sleep, sending the entire Mac to sleep closes all background tasks. So, make sure you send it to sleep only if you know your work is saved and nothing of importance is running in the background.

How to lock a Mac - System

To send your Mac to sleep simultaneously press Command + Option + Eject (or Power if you're on a newer Mac). As mentioned above, depending on your settings, you'll need a password to have access to your Mac. 

Read next: How to trace a stolen MacBook.