How to Change Lock Screen on Mac

Customize your Mac’s Lock Screen with a picture and a message

What to Know

  • Name your new image com.apple.desktop.admin.png and paste it in the /Library/Caches folder.
  • For best results, adjust your picture size to match your display’s resolution.
  • Keep in mind if you change your desktop background, your lock screen will automatically change.

This article explains how to change the lock screen on a Mac. You can use this feature to customize your lock screen with a unique image and message or disable it altogether.

How Do I Change My Lock Screen Picture on My Mac?

Enabling a lock screen on your Mac when you’re not using it is the easiest way to protect your data and prevent unwanted users from snooping around. If you already lock your Mac on a regular basis and want to personalize it, you can start by changing the lock screen on your Mac with a picture of your choice.

To get started, you’ll first need to download the image you want to use for your customized lock screen and adjust its size to best match your Mac’s resolution. Follow these steps once you’ve saved the picture you want to use:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen, and select About This Mac.

    About this Mac menu option highlighted on Mac desktop under Apple menu
  2. Click Displays to identify your screen’s resolution.

    Mac's About This Mac box with Displays tab highlighted
  3. Open your saved image in Preview and navigate to Tools > Adjust Size.

    Image in Preview with Tools > Adjust Size highlighted
  4. Adjust the pixels to match your screen’s resolution and click OK.

    Image in Preview with size info highlighted
  5. Save your image as a PNG file named com.apple.desktop.admin.

    Preview Save As dialog with com.apple.desktop.admin and PNG highlighted
  6. Open Finder and click Go > Go to Folder in the navigation menu at the top of your screen.

    Finder with Go > Go to Folder highlighted

    You can also use the Command + Shift + G keyboard combination to open Go to Folder.

  7. Copy and paste /Library/Caches in the pop-up window and select Go.

    Go highlighted in the Go to Folder window
  8. Drag the picture you’ve chosen for your new lock screen into the Caches folder and click Replace when prompted.

    Library caches folder with new image and "Replace" highlighted

    If you're not asked to replace the image, save your image as lockscreen.png. In the Caches folder, click Desktop Pictures, open the folder you see there, and replace the image when prompted.

  9. The next time you lock your computer, you’ll see the picture you chose.

    Lock screen with customized image

    Keep in mind if you decide to change your computer’s desktop background, your lock screen will revert back to a standard version. If this happens, repeat this process to customize the lock screen picture. 

How Do I Change My Lock Screen Message on Mac?

In addition to changing your lock screen picture, you can add an inspirational or handy message.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner, and select System Preferences.

    Apple menu with System Preferences highllighted
  2. Click Security & Privacy.

    Mac System Preferences with Security & Privacy highlighted
  3. Click the lock at the bottom left and type in your password to make changes.

    Password field highlighted in Privacy & Security changes
  4. Check the box next to Show a message when the screen is locked and then select Set Lock Message.

    Mac Privacy & Security settings with "Show a message when the screen is locked" and "Set Lock Message" highlighted
  5. Type in your desired message and select OK.

    Lock Screen Message highlighted in Privacy & Security settings
  6. The next time your lock screen appears, you’ll be greeted by the message you set.

    Customized lock message and screen on MacBook

How Do I Disable Lock Screen on Mac?

There are times when a lock screen can get in the way, especially when you're working from home and aren't worried about anyone messing around with your computer. If this is the case, you can disable the lock screen on Mac.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen, and select System Preferences.

    Apple menu with System Preferences highlighted
  2. Click Security & Privacy.

    Mac System Preferences with Security & Privacy highlighted
  3. Click the box next to Require password.

    Security & Privacy settings with Require Password highlighted
  4. When prompted, click Turn Off Screen Lock.

    Turn off Screen Lock highlighted in Privacy & Security settings
  5. When your computer wakes back up, you’ll no longer be greeted by a lock screen. Instead, you can immediately keep doing what you were busy with before.

FAQ
  • How do I change the screen lock time on a Mac?

    From the Apple menu, select System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver. Click the Screen Saver tab, then, next to Start After, select the amount of time you want to pass before the screen saver begins. You can choose Never, or anywhere from 1 to 30 minutes.

  • How do I change the name on my lock screen?

    To change the name that appears when your lock screen comes up, you'll need to rename your macOS user account as well as your home folder. To rename the home folder, log out of your account and log in as an administrator. Go to the User folder and rename the user's home folder. Next, rename the account by going to the Apple menu and selecting System Preferences > Users & Groups. Click the lock icon, then enter the admin name and password. Find the user you want to rename and Control + Click on the current name. Select Account Options, then change the name to the same name as the home folder. Select OK, then restart your Mac and log in to the renamed account.

  • How do I lock the screen on my Mac?

    A quick and easy way to lock your Mac screen: Select the Apple menu, then click Lock Screen. To instantly revert to the lock screen using a key command, press CTRL + CMD + Q.

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