The Definitive Guide to Mac Security

While Macs are known for their default security measures, it’s important to acknowledge that they are not completely impervious to threats.


macos security tips

While Macs offer a strong baseline of security, it’s important to take proactive measures to safeguard your device according to your specific needs.

Turn on FileVault

macos filevault

FileVault functions as a comprehensive encryption system that safeguards your entire disk by enveloping its contents in a layer of encryption. In the event that unauthorized individuals gain access to your physical hard drive, they will be unable to decrypt the data without possessing your password.

By default, FileVault is activated on all newly manufactured Mac computers. However, if you own an older Mac model or used a Time Machine clone to transfer your Mac’s files to a new device, FileVault may not be enabled. To address this, you can modify the settings in the “Privacy & Security” section within the System Settings… application.

Set a Challenging Password for Login

macos admin password change

While this tip holds particular significance for individuals who frequently travel with their laptops, it is a practice that can benefit anyone. If your Mac’s password is easily predictable (e.g., ‘123456′), enabling FileVault won’t provide substantial security. To modify this setting, navigate to the ‘Users & Groups’ section in System Settings and simply click on the ‘Change Password…‘ option.

Nonetheless, relying solely on a strong password is inadequate if you fail to consistently employ it. It is essential to configure your computer to prompt for a password immediately upon entering sleep mode. This preference can be found in the ‘Lock Screen‘ submenu within the System Settings application. For users with desktop Macs, it is advisable to manually put the computer to sleep whenever stepping away from it, thereby ensuring continuous protection.

macos lock screen password

Use a Password Manager

macos password manager 1password

In today’s digital age, safeguarding your personal information extends beyond the confines of your Mac’s hard drive. Nowadays, your valuable data resides in various online platforms such as cloud storage, social media accounts, and remote backups. However, without employing a robust and distinctive password, this data becomes susceptible to surreptitious and remote extraction.

To promptly embark on the journey of fortifying your online security, consider acquiring a password manager like 1Password. These tools enable you to enhance your password practices by replacing duplicated or simplistic passwords with intricate and lengthy combinations. Moreover, it is advisable to activate two-factor authentication for any accounts that offer this feature, further fortifying their protection against unauthorized access.

macos keychain settings

If you feel uneasy about utilizing a password manager from an external source, there is an alternative option available for managing security through iCloud Keychain. Simply navigate to the “Passwords” section within the System Settings application. Apple’s integrated password manager provides a comprehensive range of security features, such as advanced encryption, detection of duplicate passwords, alerts for data breaches, and the convenience of passkeys. With passkeys, you can authenticate yourself using either Face ID or Touch ID, eliminating the necessity of memorizing passwords.

Use Encryption

macos Encryption app Encrypto

When it comes to highly sensitive documents, it is crucial to employ a separate encryption method, independent of your whole-disk encryption setup. With 1Password, you have the ability to securely upload files up to 1GB in size, utilizing the same robust encryption mechanism that safeguards your passwords. Alternatively, you can opt for applications like Encrypto, which provide a user-friendly solution for encrypting your files before transmission.

Use Find My Mac to Erase Remotely

To enable the “Find My Mac” feature, follow these steps in the System Settings:

  1. Open the System Settings app on your Mac.
  2. Click on the “Apple ID” option.
  3. Select the “iCloud” pane from the list of options.
  4. Look for the “Find My Mac” feature and ensure it is turned on.

In the unfortunate event that your device is lost or stolen, you can utilize the “Find My” service to determine its whereabouts.

find my mac erase icloud

Additionally, this functionality allows you to remotely erase your Mac in the event that it falls into unauthorized hands. Even if you are unable to retrieve the device, you can take measures to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

Make Sure Your Firewall is On and Stealth Mode is On

macos firewall enabled settings

By default, your Mac’s software firewall is enabled to ensure your security. However, if you have disabled it for any reason, you can easily check its status by navigating to the “Firewall” tab within the “Network” pane. Additionally, if you require more advanced protection, you have the option to utilize third-party firewalls like Little Snitch, Lulu and Murus, which offer a range of sophisticated security measures.

macos firewall stealth mode

To fortify your computer’s defenses, you can enable stealth mode, an additional protective measure. This stealthy setting prevents your computer from responding to network probing applications, such as “ping.” You can access this option by clicking on the “Options…” button located at the lower section of the Firewall pane. Once you’ve made the selection, confirm the activation by clicking on the “OK” button.

Turn Sharing Off If You Don’t Need It

macos file sharing settings

If you often utilize your Mac within a home network, it’s possible that you have enabled file sharing. However, if you ever find yourself using your computer on a network that is not under your complete control, it is imperative to disable this feature.

It is advisable to activate “Sharing” options only when necessary, specifically for File Sharing and Printer Sharing. When connected to a public network, it is preferable to close all potential ports rather than risking an unforeseen intrusion. By doing so, you can ensure maximum security and minimize the chances of unauthorized access.

Encrypt Your Backups

macos time machine backup password

Every savvy computer user understands the importance of having a reliable backup system in place. However, it is crucial to recognize that if your backups are not as secure as your primary drive, they can pose a potential vulnerability. To address this concern, it is essential to encrypt your Time Machine backups through the Time Machine preference pane. By enabling encryption for your Time Machine backups, you add an extra layer of security, ensuring that your sensitive data remains protected and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals.

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure the encryption of any other backups you possess, regardless of whether they are cloned disks or web-based backups.