How to automatically log out of your Mac when you’re inactive

Mac Logout When Inactive

If you share your Mac with others in your home and you’re going to take a break, you might log out. This helps to prevent someone from accidentally changing or deleting things you’re working on. But if you don’t plan to be gone long or simply forget to log out, you could risk losing important files.

To avoid this, we’ll show you how to set your Mac to automatically log you out if you’re inactive for a period of time.

Automatically log out of Mac when inactive

Open the System Preferences using the icon in your Dock or Apple icon > System Preferences from the menu bar. Then, follow these steps.

1) Select Security & Privacy.

2) Click the padlock on the bottom left and enter your password.

3) Hit the Advanced button. You can do this from any of the tabs within Security & Privacy.

4) Check the box for Log out after [X] minutes of inactivity and enter the number of minutes in the box.

5) Click OK and then click the padlock to re-lock your settings or simply exit.

Mac Automatically Logout When Inactive

Require a password to wake your Mac

If you prefer not to log out of your Mac completely when you’re inactive, there’s another setting you might try. This requires you to enter your password after your Mac sleeps or the screen saver starts.

1) Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy like above.

2) This time click the General tab and unlock the settings.

3) At the top, check the box for Require password [time] after sleep or screen saver begins and select a time frame from the drop-down box.

If you know you’ll be coming back to your Mac and no one else will be using it in the meantime, but want that extra security, this is a helpful setting too.

Mac Require Password When Inactive

Wrapping it up

When you work from home and share your Mac with others, or even if you do so in a physical office, making sure that your items stay safe is important.

Are you going to use the automatic logout setting on your Mac? Or maybe you’ll opt for requiring a password after a short time instead? Let us know below or on Twitter.

For more, take a look at how to encrypt and password protect folders on your Mac.