How to show basic system information on your Mac login screen

If you’re one of those who love to tweak every little facet of their Mac experience, then this guide is for you. It brings several system information items such as computer name, your current IP address, and your macOS version right to your login screen where they can be easily referenced.

For this modification, all we will need is the Terminal application and a few minutes, so let’s get started!

Before we begin, a little background on the procedure. It modifies a certain preference file which contains the saved options for the login screen. Some of these are already user-editable, like last logged-in user, and date and time format. Others are not user-facing, which is why this process uses Terminal to make our required changes.

Unfortunately, the method does not seem to affect the wake-from-sleep password screen, only the true login screen. If any of our readers know how to extend this method to the password screen which appears when waking the machine from sleep, please let me know!

Display IP address, computer name, and macOS version at login screen

1) Open Terminal from /Applications/Utilities, or via Spotlight.

2) At the command prompt, enter the following:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AdminHostInfo HostName

3) Enter your password when prompted.

4) Check that the setting has taken effect with the following command:

sudo defaults read /Library/Preferences/

If it has worked, there should now be an entry in the readout that says:

AdminHostInfo = HostName;

5) Log out of your user account to test the feature.

6) At the login screen, click on the clock/time in the top-right of the screen.

Information should now appear in the top bar, toggling between your computer name, your current IP address, and your macOS version.

You now have quick access to your system information from the login screen. Although it’s a little change, it requires very little effort and has been occasionally useful to me when I need to check these details. Quickly comparing the version of macOS between different machines is one example which has come up a few times (especially when they are on the beta programme).

Reverting your changes

If you decide that the customisation isn’t for you it can be easily reverted, with the use of the following Terminal command:

sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/ AdminHostInfo

And there you have it! A simple way to view pieces of system information, without even having to log in to your computer. I’ve mainly been using it lately for getting the IP address of my machine for networking purposes, when the machine was just sitting idle and was not logged in.

Do you have any guide requests? Do you know of any other neat changes that can be made with similar commands? I’m all ears.