MacOS privacy settings: Relaxed level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on MacOS. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Relaxed level protection.
Kaspersky Lab
29.06.2021
5 minutes
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How to protect your Mac

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Create a strong Mac password

What for: So you do not get hacked.

If you use a short or easy-to-guess password, hackers will be able to crack it and gain access to your computer. A long and complex password is more secure. A strong password complies with the following requirements:

  • Is at least 8 characters long;
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.);
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase;
  • Is not the same as for any other account, including your Apple ID password;
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, and so forth — or those of your friends or relatives).

To change your current password:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Go to the Users & Groups section.
  4. If you enabled protection, click the padlock in the lower left corner of the screen, enter the administrator password, and click Unlock;
  5. Click Change Password;
  6. In the window that opens, enter the current password and then enter the new one. If necessary, create a hint in case you forget the password.
  7. Click Change Password.

Configure automatic locking

What for: To prevent strangers from gaining access to the system while you are away.

If you are not using the computer for a certain amount of time, macOS can lock it. In this case, the screen will show a login window and you will have to enter your password again to continue working on the computer. The sooner the computer is locked, the less chance that someone else will be able to use it.

To configure the time to wait before locking the computer:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Go to the Security & Privacy section;
  4. Select the General tab;
  5. If you enabled protection, click the padlock in the lower left corner of the screen, enter the administrator password, and click Unlock;
  6. Click Advanced... in the lower right corner of the screen;
  7. In the window that opens, check the box on the left of Log out after … minutes of inactivity and set a time interval that is convenient for you.
  8. Click OK.

You can also configure the computer to lock when it goes to sleep:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Go to the Security & Privacy section;
  4. Select the General tab;
  5. If you enabled protection, click the padlock in the lower left corner of the screen, enter the administrator password, and click Unlock;
  6. Check the box next to Require password … after sleep or screen saver begins and select the amount of time after the computer goes to sleep when the application should start requiring a password.

If you set an interval that is too large and leave your computer unattended, other people will be able to use it.

Enable protection against modification of your system preferences

What for: So that no one can change important settings on your computer.

If you are sharing your computer with someone else, you can disable their capability to change system preferences and security settings:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Go to the Security & Privacy section;
  4. Select the General tab;
  5. If you enabled protection, click the padlock in the lower left corner of the screen, enter the administrator password, and click Unlock;
  6. Click Advanced... in the lower right corner of the screen;
  7. In the window that opens, check the box on the left of Require an administrator password to unlock each System Preferences pane;
  8. Click OK.

Turn on the Find My Mac feature

What for: To find your computer or erase its data in case it is lost or stolen.

The Find My Mac service will help you find your computer in case it is lost. You can use it to not only determine the location of your device and turn on its alarm, but also to remotely lock it or wipe its memory. This will protect your data from prying eyes if your computer was stolen.

The device search feature works even without Internet access and if location services are turned off. In this case, the computer sends a signal over Bluetooth that other nearby Apple devices receive. After receiving this signal, these devices send their location to Apple and the company forwards this data to your account. Using this feature, you will be able to see the approximate location of your computer in the Find My app.

To enable the Find My Mac feature:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Click the Apple ID button in the upper-right corner of the screen;
  4. Select the iCloud tab;
  5. Check the box next to Find My Mac;
  6. In the window that opens, click Allow;
  7. Click the Options... button;
  8. Make sure that the Find My Network function is enabled.

If you don't want to rely on unfamiliar Apple gadgets, grant Find My Mac access to your location:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Go to the Security & Privacy section;
  4. Select the Privacy tab;
  5. If you enabled protection, click the padlock in the lower left corner of the screen, enter the administrator password, and click Unlock;
  6. Select Location Services;
  7. Check the Enable Location Services box.
  8. Find System Services at the end of the list and click Details...;
  9. In the window that opens, check the box next to Find My Mac;
  10. Click Done.

Then you can find, lock, or wipe a lost or stolen computer by using the built-in Find My app on any other Apple device or at iCloud.com.

Activation Lock is also enabled when the Find My Mac service is turned on. This feature prevents someone from signing in to your system with a different Apple ID, turning off the Find My Mac feature, or wiping the memory without Apple ID password confirmation. That means if your computer ends up in someone else's hands, they will not be able to use it or sell it (except maybe for spare parts), as well as to disable search and lock functions.

Please keep in mind that your Apple ID account credentials are also deleted along with the files when the drive is formatted, so in this case you will not be able to see the location of your computer. Therefore, use this option in extreme cases only.

However, when the lock is enabled, your Apple ID login and password are saved on Apple servers linked to your device ID. So, even after you erase all the data you will be able to unlock your lost and found Mac if you enter your Apple ID credentials on it.

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How to protect your Apple ID

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Create a strong password

What for: To prevent your data and devices from being hacked.

An Apple ID account lets you synchronize music, photos, contacts, and other data on different devices. If your account is hacked, criminals will gain access to all of that data. Once they have access to your Apple ID, they can also remotely lock your device or format your hard drive.

Make sure that your account is protected by a strong password that complies with the following requirements:

  • Is at least 8 characters long;
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.);
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase;
  • Is not the same as your passwords for any other accounts;
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, and so forth — or those of your friends or relatives).

To change your Apple ID password on a Mac computer:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Click the Apple ID button in the upper-right corner of the screen;
  4. Select the Password & Security tab;
  5. Click Change password...
  6. Enter the current password of your Apple ID account;
  7. Create a new password and confirm it;
  8. Click Change.

You can also change or reset your Apple ID password on the Apple website.

Enable two-factor authentication

What for: So you definitely don't get hacked.

Two-factor authentication helps provide additional security for your Apple ID. If you enable it, the system will prompt you for a one-time code each time you attempt to sign in from a new device. It will also show a notification on all gadgets on which you are authorized.

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Click the Apple ID button in the upper-right corner of the screen;
  4. Select the Password & Security tab;
  5. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication;
  6. In the window that opens, click Continue;
  7. Enter your phone number and choose how you want to receive the code: Text message or Phone call;
  8. Click Continue;
  9. In the window that opens, enter the verification code that you received on your phone, and click Continue;
  10. Click Done.


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Main / MacOS privacy settings: Relaxed level
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