Apple Desktop How To

Windows+L in macOS: lock your computer with a keyboard shortcut

Windows users are accustomed to locking their laptops by using the Windows + L keyboard shortcut. How does one instantly lock a Mac using a similar hotkey? Find out after the jump.

MacBook keyboard close up

In a world where so much of our lives are online, in the cloud, digital, one needs to take extra precautions to ensure its under our own control.

We don’t want unauthenticated folk to have access to our Facebook, email, or Slack accounts, so we’ve put complex passwords and two-factor authentication on them. Yet, since we’re logged in to them all the time from our computers, you need to be protect it from being hijacked too.

To that end, people often lock their computers when they walk away from them for a few minutes whether they’re at home or in office. It safeguards you against any room-mate or colleague snooping around your personal files and online accounts.

Windows users do this quickly by pressing Windows + L (or Win+L) keyboard shortcut. The Windows key is the key right next to the space bar which has a Windows logo on top.

How can Mac users do the same? This is a question often asked by new Mac owners. We’re going to answer that today.

Related: Re-Enable Slide To Unlock In iOS 10

How To Lock Your MacBook Without Closing Lid

This is a one-step process, but requires a little tweaking in System Preferences. The equivalent Win+L alternative in MacOS is Control+Shift+Power (or Eject if you’re on a desktop Mac).

However, this puts your computer to Sleep. Whether it gets immediately locked or not depends on another setting. Go ahead, click on the Apple button in the system menubar. Launch System Preferences, and go to Security & Privacy. Change the setting “Require password <some time> after sleep or screen saver begins” to whatever time suits you.

In your case, I think having it set to “Immediately” would ensure that whenever you put your computer to sleep using Control+Shift+Power/Eject, it also gets locked immediately.

Also check out: Lock / Unlock Your Windows 10 Computer With USB Flash Drive

So, there you have it! That’s how you instantly lock your macOS notebook or desktop by using a keyboard shortcut. I personally just close the lid on my MacBook Pro instead. I would probably use this method if I were using an iMac, Mac mini, or Mac Pro (one can dream, can’t they?).

  • Jonathan Qualchiski

    Except that shortcut doesn’t work about a third of the time, so you will have to hit it two or three times in a row to make sure your Mac is actually locked. I think it has to do with window focus, but I honestly don’t have a clue. It’s incredibly annoying, though.