Apple’s Activation Lock feature prevents your Mac from starting up, helping guard your private information in the unfortunate event your Mac is lost or stolen. Follow along with our step-by-step tutorial to learn how to make sure the Mac Activation Lock feature is enabled, disable it if necessary, and find out if your Mac is compatible with this new security protocol.
Say hello to Activation Lock on your Mac
Activation Lock for Mac makes your computer far less attractive to thieves.
With Activation Lock and the Find My app in macOS Catalina and later and iOS 13 and later, you can remotely brick your Mac after it’s stolen or lost. In fact, the Find My app might even help you locate your misplaced computer, even if it’s not currently connected to a network.
Activation Lock on Mac works just like on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch. Once it’s on and your Mac gets stolen, the thief will find it completely useless because they cannot even install or boot the computer without your Apple ID credentials to activate it.
Activation Lock is available on all Mac models with Apple’s T2 security chip.
Activation Lock requires macOS Catalina 10.15 software update or later, the two-factor authentication feature for your Apple ID, and Secure Boot enabled on the default setting: Full Security, with “Disallow booting from external media” selected under the External Boot section.
Follow along with our tutorial to learn how to check the status of Activation Lock on Mac.
How to check if Mac Activation Lock is on
1) While holding the Option key on your Mac, click the Apple menu () and choose System Information.
2) Make sure Hardware is selected from the left sidebar. On the right, you will see the Activation Lock Status.
If the entry “Activation Lock Status” in the righthand column reads “Enabled,” then you can rest assured that this theft-deterring tool has been enabled on your Mac. Conversely, if “Activation Lock Status” reads “Disabled,” this indispensable security feature is currently off.
According to Apple:
Activation Lock works in the background to make it more difficult for someone to use or sell your missing device, but you can still remotely lock your device with Find My to secure it with a unique passcode and display a message for anyone who may find it.
Turning on Find My Mac automatically enables Activation Lock, which prompts macOS to require your Apple ID password or device passcode before anyone can turn off the Find My service, erase the computer or reactivate and use it.
You can also check your Mac’s Activation Lock status via Apple’s support pages.
Disabling Activation Lock
Apple advises disabling Activation Lock before sending your Mac in for service, selling it, or giving it away. In fact, when you bring your Mac to the Apple Store or an Apple-authorized service provider, you’ll be required to disable Activation Lock before they can do any work on it. That’s because doing so ensures the machine is no longer linked to your Apple ID account. That’s necessary when service providers swap out essential parts, and it’s also crucial for buyers, who will otherwise end up owning a machine that starts up to an Activate Mac window with no way to get past it.
If you have access to your Mac:
- Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu in the Finder.
- Click the Apple ID icon in the System Preferences window.
- Choose iCloud > Find My Mac and turn it off.
- Now go back to the main Apple ID settings screen and click the Sign Out button from its bottom.
If you can’t access your Mac:
- Visit iCloud.com on your computer and sign in with your Apple ID.
- Click the Find iPhone icon.
- Select All Devices and choose your Mac from the list.
- Click the option Erase Mac, and follow along until the computer is erased.
This’ll ensure your Mac is remotely erased as soon as it establishes network connectivity, preventing it from being linked to your Apple ID account and disabling Activation Lock.
Toggling Find My Mac on or off automatically enables or disables the Activation Lock.
Does my Mac have the Apple T2 chip?
The Activation Lock feature is unavailable if your computer runs a version of the macOS operating system that’s older than macOS Catalina 10.15 or if your computer lacks the T2 security chip from Apple.
You can use System Information to determine if your Mac is outfitted with a T2 security chip.
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