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 some system information items, such as your 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 you need is the Terminal application and a few minutes.

See System Information on Mac's login screen

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 the 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 user login screen.

Display IP address, computer name, and macOS version on Mac’s login screen

1) Open Terminal, enter the following command, and hit the return key:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ AdminHostInfo HostName

2) Enter your Mac’s password when prompted.

3) 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;

4) Log out of your user account by clicking the Apple icon  > Log Out Name to test the feature.

5) At the login screen, click 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.

See Mac name, IP address, and macOS Version on login screen

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 occasionally been useful to me when I need to check these details. Quickly comparing the version of macOS between different machines is one example that has come up a few times (especially when they are on the beta program).

Revert your changes

If you decide that the customization 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 to get the IP address of my machine for networking purposes when the machine was just sitting idle and was not logged in.

Check out next: