How to Use Lockdown Mode on Mac

Activate Lockdown Mode through Privacy & Security settings to stop cyberattacks

What to Know

  • Open the Apple menu, and navigate to System Settings > Privacy & Security > Turn On > Turn On & Restart
  • Lockdown Mode protects against certain cyberattacks, but it also prevents some features from working. 
  • Messages, web browsing, Apple services, and various apps have limited functionality in Lockdown Mode.

This article explains how to use Lockdown Mode on a Mac.

How To Enable Lockdown Mode on Mac

Lockdown Mode is disabled under normal circumstances, and you need to turn it on manually if you believe that you’re in need of its protection. This feature locks down a lot of functions on your Mac, so Messages, FaceTime, web browsing, and other apps won’t work exactly as you expect them to when it’s enabled. The tradeoff is that when Lockdown Mode is enabled, your Mac is less vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Here’s how to enable Lockdown Mode on a Mac:

  1. Open the Apple menu and click System Settings.

    System Settings highlighted in the Apple menu on a Mac.
  2. Click Privacy & Security.

    Privacy & Security highlighted in System Settings on a Mac.
  3. Scroll down to the Lockdown Mode section and click Turn On.

    Turn On highlighted in the Lockdown Mode section of macOS Privacy & Security.
  4. Confirm with Touch ID or click Use Password and enter your password.

    Use Password highlighted in Authentication options on macOS.
  5. Click Turn On & Restart.

    Turn On & Restart highlighted in Lockdown Mode confirmation on macOS.
  6. Your Mac will reboot in Lockdown Mode.

What is Lockdown Mode on Mac?

Lockdown Mode is a security feature that can help protect your computer from sophisticated cyber attacks. If you suspect that you’re the victim of a targeted attack or series of attacks, you can enable this feature to help protect your system and data.

When you turn on Lockdown Mode, you can expect to experience the following restrictions:

  • Messages: Some features are disabled, including link previews. Most types of message attachments are also automatically blocked, with the exception of basic images.
  • Web browsing: Some websites won’t function correctly or load at all, as this mode blocks some critical web technologies.
  • Apple services: Incoming FaceTime calls and other invitations and requests are automatically blocked if you haven’t previously sent a call or request to that person.
  • Configuration profiles: New profiles can’t be installed, so you can’t enter the Mac beta program or install a profile for your school or work while Lockdown Mode is on.
  • Additional restrictions: Apple will add additional restrictions and adjust the way Lockdown Mode works over time to address new threats and provide additional protection.

Who Needs to Use Lockdown Mode?

Most users won’t ever need Lockdown Mode, because it’s designed to protect against the sort of sophisticated, targeted attacks that few users are subjected to.

If you work in a sensitive industry, government position, you’re a journalist, or are otherwise likely to have your devices targeted by hostile actors, then Lockdown Mode can preemptively harden your device against attacks. If you suspect that you’ve been targeted, you can also activate this mode at any time.

  • Can you turn off Lockdown mode on Mac?

    Yes. Go back to System Settings > Privacy & Security and select Turn Off under the Lockdown mode section.

  • How do I lock my Mac keyboard?

    To lock your Mac keyboard temporarily, close the lid or use the keyboard shortcut Control+Shift+Power. Use the same shortcut to unlock your Mac keyboard. To put your Mac to sleep, press Command+Option+Power.

  • How do I use Lockdown mode on iPhone?

    To use Lockdown mode on iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Lockdown Mode > Turn On Lockdown Mode. Then, select Turn On Lockdown Mode again to confirm and tap Turn On & Restart.

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