How to make your Mac private and secure

Mac OS is an inherently secure and private operating system, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to ensure it’s as secure and private as possible. Here’s how to make your Mac private and secure in different ways.

Block administrator accounts

MacOS allows you to set up multiple user accounts on a single Mac. That’s a real convenience, especially if you share a machine with family or colleagues.

However, not all user accounts are created equal, and there is one step you need to take to limit access to your Mac’s settings: make sure you only have one administrator account. Administrator accounts, unlike regular accounts, can do anything on a Mac. They can manage other user accounts, including changing their passwords. They can install software and change all system settings, including security and privacy settings.

You just need an account with that level of control. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to create a separate account just for administrative purposes. That account should have some name other than “admin” or “administrator” to also make it harder for a hacker to guess the username.

Step 1: To change the security level of an account, open System preferences > Users and groups.

Open System Preferences in MacOS.

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Step 2: To make changes to an account, you must first unlock the account. Select Click on the padlock to make changes. and then enter the password of the current account. Please note that you will need to use an administrator account to make these changes.

Unlock account settings in MacOS.

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Step 3: Select the account for which you want to enable or disable administrator privileges. To enable administrator privileges, select Allow user to manage this computer. If the account already has administrator privileges and you want to remove them, uncheck this setting.

Once you are done, select Click on the padlock to prevent further changes.

Enable or disable administrator rights in MacOS.

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Manage downtime on your Mac

Leaving your Mac unattended and connected can present a security problem. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure your Mac locks itself after a period of time and requires logging in from sleep mode or when the screensaver is running.

Note that you can use the macOS Hot Corners feature to immediately lock down your Mac. See our guide on how to use macOS Hot Corners for more information.

Step 1: To set your Mac to log you out after a while, select System preferences, Security and Privacyso he General tab. Unlock the page using Click on the padlock to make changes. Select Advanced… in the lower right corner.

On the next screen, you can select Sign out later and specify how many minutes of activity to wait before logging out.

Log out of MacOS after the specified time.

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Step 2: Another option to increase security is to require a password after the laptop goes to sleep or after the screen saver runs. You can choose a time period from immediately to eight hours later.

In System preferences > Security and Privacy > General, you will find the option to configure this security setting. You can also set a lock message from the same screen.

Require login after sleep or screen saver on MacOS.

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Turn on the macOS firewall

MacOS has a firewall that can be turned on to protect incoming connections. The firewall is disabled by default.

Step 1: To activate the firewall, open System preferences after Security and Privacy. Select the firewalls tab and unlock settings. Select Turn on the firewall.

Turn on the macOS firewall.

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Step 2: Select Firewall Options… to configure the firewall. You can disable all incoming connections except basic Internet services, automatically allow built-in software to receive connections, automatically allow downloaded signed software to receive connections, and enable stealth mode to hide your Mac from test applications.

Configure MacOS firewall settings.

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Turn on FileVault

MacOS has built-in disk encryption, called FileVault, that makes it almost impossible for someone to access your data without signing into your Mac. If it’s not enabled by default, you should turn on FileVault as one of your first tasks when setting up your Mac. Mac.

Step 1: To activate FileVault, open System preferences and so Security and Privacy and select the file vault tab. Select Activate FileVault…

You will be presented with the option to use your iCloud account to unlock your drive or create a recovery key. Using your iCloud account is more convenient and helps prevent the possibility of losing your recovery key.

Once you have configured your options, select Continue.

Turn on macOS FileVault.

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Step 2: The disk will be encrypted and the progress will be reported in the window. Once it completes, you will receive a notification that a recovery key has been set and encryption is complete.

MacOS FileVault encryption is complete.

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Configure access to integrated services

You can allow various applications and services to access features and services built into macOS or disallow them for privacy.

To configure your privacy settings, open System preferences Y security and privacy. Select the Privacy tab. Unlock the settings to make changes.

You’ll see a list of services on the left, and then a list of apps and services that can access each on the right. You can allow or disallow access to each service as needed.

Configure MacOS privacy settings.

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Control which apps can be installed

You can install apps on your Mac from both the App Store and third-party developers. MacOS allows you to control whether third-party applications can be installed.

To allow or deny third-party apps, open System preferences Y security and privacy. Unlock the settings to allow changes.

Under Allow apps downloaded from:select only the App Store or App Store and identified developers.

Allow third-party apps on MacOS.

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Automatically update your Mac

MacOS can automatically install various app and system updates, but that’s not enabled by default. Turning on automatic updates, especially for security updates, helps keep your Mac safe from malicious actors.

Step 1: To turn on automatic updates, open System preferencesafter Software update. Check Keep my Mac up to date automatically to turn on automatic updates. You will need to authenticate to make the change.

Turn on automatic macOS updates.

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Step 2: You can specify which updates to install automatically by selecting Advanced…. You can set macOS to automatically check for updates, download new updates when they’re available so they’re ready to install, automatically install macOS updates, automatically update installed apps from the App Store, and automatically install system data files and security updates.

At a minimum, you should turn on automatic updates for system data files and security updates. These can arrive at any time and should be installed as quickly as possible. Allowing macOS to install them automatically means that they will be installed as soon as Apple makes them available.

Set up automatic macOS updates.

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