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Mac Security - Using the Mac Security Preference Pane

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Using the Mac Security Preference Pane - General Mac Security Settings
Using the Mac Security Preference Pane - General Mac Security Settings

The General section of the Security preference pane controls a number of basic but important security settings for your Mac.

The Mac Security preference pane has three tabs along the top of the window. Select the General tab to get started with configuring your Mac's general security settings.

The General section of the Security preference pane controls a number of basic but important security settings for your Mac. In this guide, we will show you what each setting does, and how to make changes to the settings. You can then decide if you need the security enhancements available from the Security preference pane.

If you share your Mac with others, or your Mac is located in a place where others can easily gain access to it, you may wish to make some changes to these settings.

General Mac Security Settings

Before you can begin making changes, you must first authenticate your identity with your Mac.

Click the lock icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the Security preference pane.

You will be prompted for an administrator username and password. Provide the requested information, and then click OK.

The lock icon will change to an unlocked state. You're now ready to make any changes you wish.

Require password: If you place a check mark here, then you (or anyone who attempts to use your Mac) will be required to provide the password for the currently account in order to exit sleep or an active screen saver. This is a good basic security measure that can keep prying eyes from seeing what you're currently working on, or accessing your user account data.

If you select this option, you can then use the dropdown menu to select a time interval before the password is required. I suggest selecting an interval long enough that you can exit a sleep or screen saver session that starts unexpectedly, without needing to provide a password. Five seconds or 1 minute are good choices.

Disable automatic login: This option requires users to authenticate their identity with their password any time they log on.

Require a password to unlock each System Preferences pane: With this option selected, users must provide their account ID and password any time they attempt to make a change to any secure system preference. Normally, the first authentication unlocks all secure system preferences.

Log out after xx minutes of inactivity: This option lets you select a set amount of idle time after which the currently logged-in account will be automatically logged out.

Use secure virtual memory: Selecting this option will force any RAM data written to your hard drive to be first encrypted. This applies to both virtual memory usage and Sleep mode, when the contents of RAM are written to your hard drive.

Disable Location Services: Selecting this option will prevent your Mac from providing location data to any application that requests the information.

Click the Reset Warnings button to remove location data already in use by applications.

Disable remote control infrared receiver: If your Mac is equipped with an IR receiver, this option will turn the receiver off, preventing any IR device from sending commands to your Mac.

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