Lock your mac's screen quick with hot corners

I work in an office and sometimes I handle confidential information. I also get called away from my desk several times a day, so I needed to find a way to quickly lock my computer screen whenever I stepped away from my desk. After using a few different overly complicated methods I finally settled on using the Hot Corners feature on my Mac. It's incredibly easy to set up, let me show you how.

Setting a Password

If you haven't already, now is the time to setup a user password. This is the password you setup when you first got your computer and the one you use when you login or install new software. To setup or change your password follow these steps.

1. Go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups.

One of my favorite ways to get to the system preferences is to click on the  in the top left corner of the screen and Choose System Preferences from the menu.

2. Click on "Change Password…" and enter your new user password.

Before you can set a new password you will have to enter your old one. If you didn't have a password before you can leave this part blank and just enter the new password. Also, don't forget to add a hint if you have a tendency to forget your password.

User & Groups System Preferences menu with an arrow pointing at Change Password menu. 

Setting up Hot Corners

Hot Corners allows you to move your cursor to one of the four corners of your screen to start an action, in our case to turn off the screen and lock the computer.

1. Go to System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Saver.

If you are already in System Preferences then click on "Show All" in the top left corner to return to the main menu.

2. Click on the "Screen Saver" tab and then click on the "Hot Corners…" button in the bottom right corner.

Desktop & Screen Saver System Preferences menu with an arrow pointing to Hot Corners button.

You can also get to the Hot Corners menu by going to System Preferences -> Mission Control and clicking on the "Hot Corners…" button.

3. Pick a corner and choose either "Start Screen Saver" or "Put Display to Sleep," then click "OK."

I prefer put display to sleep to save energy but this one is up to you.

Hot corner pull down menu with Start Screen Saver and Put Display to Sleep circled.

4. Move your cursor to the corner of the screen you selected to test it out.

Set Your Password Requirements

Now that you have your password updated and Hot Corners setup you'll need to tell your Mac that you want it to require that password immediately after your computer has been put to sleep or your screen saver begins. This will lock down your Mac when you use the that Hot Corner.

1. Go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy.

2. Click on the "General" Tab and set require password to "Immediately."

If you initiate your Hot Corner by accident often you could set require password to 5 Seconds, but you might also want to consider just changing which corner you chose.

Require Password pull down menu listing out password delay times.

Extra Credit

If you followed along you probably noticed that you can do more than put your display to sleep or active you screen save with Hot Corners. The other things you can do are:

  • Initiate Mission Control
  • View all your application windows
  • Quickly display your desktop
  • Show the Dashboard
  • Open Notification Center
  • Initiate Launchpad