How to lock your Mac like you did on your PC

“Hey Vonnie, can you come here for a sec?  I need you to help me with something”

As I get up to leave my Windows 8.1 PC, I instinctively press Windows Key + L which automatically flips the lock screen on. Windows Key + L is burned into my memory.

Now anyone walking by my desk can’t simply sit down and take over my machine.  The lock screen becomes an indomitable shield, coercing less motivated data thieves to explore inconvenient tactics.

Windows 8.1 Lock Screen

That’s how it works on my PC: the Windows Key + the “L” key go together like mustard and hotdogs.  It’s a tasty combination that gives you instant convenience.

I love this little trick but when I started using my Macbook Air I quickly realized that there was no equivalent hotkey to conjure up the login screen.  On a Mac, Command + L is programed to make an alias of the selected item!  What the heck does that mean anyway?

Also if you click your name in the upper right corner of the screen, there’s no keyboard shortcut next to the Login Screen option.

Login Window Mac OS X

How rude.

I want Windows Key + L to work on my Mac like it does on my PC.  Here’s how I tried to pull it off.  It’s not 100% but it’s the best I could do.

Setting a Login Screen Shortcut on your Mac

Open up Security and Privacy in your System Preferences by pressing Command + Space and typing:

security

Under the General Tab theres a little option called: Require password after sleep or screen saver begins.

Change it to immediately.
Security and Privacy in Mac OS X

Now when you press Ctrl + Shift + the Power Button (or Eject Button) your Mac will become narcoleptic and displays the login screen on demand.

I haven’t figured out an easy way to assign Command + L as an alias to Ctrl + Shift + Power/Eject.  I figured it would be more work than it’s worth so.. for now I’ll live with this awkward key combo.

It’s better than having to manually click my name and then click the Login Window.  I think I can live with this but if you’ve figure out a way to change that keyboard shortcut please let me know in the comments.  It would make me really really happy.

hehe.

Update! 04/22/15

My co-working just showed me an even cooler trick to lock your Mac box.  Press Command + Spacehot corner” and tell your Mac to sleep when you push the mouse cursor into the bottom left corner of the screen.  Now you can instantly lock your Mac with a simple finger flick.

This is super fast, super slick and super easy to remember.

Mac OS X hot corners

I love it.

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Posted in Apple, Desktops, Laptops, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks Tagged with: ,
  • João Lavado

    Thanks for the nice tip..

    Though when my screen falls asleep it does not lock automatically. I meant, afterwards I just need to touch the mouse or keyboard and I´m back to my session without having to introduce the password..

    Do I need to do something else?

  • Dego

    great tip! actually I’m following for years already the tip you have in article’s update. had no idea it can be configured to request a password immediately. nice workaround!

  • Blake

    Found the exact work-around you’re looking for below. It let me use “Command + L” to go directly to the login window, using the latest version of OSX Sierra at the time of this post.

    http://www.macyourself.com/2013/01/27/how-to-lock-your-mac-screen-with-a-keyboard-shortcut/