Automatic Login And Why You Should Never Use It

You can set your Mac to not require a password when you start up, wake up or log in. However, you should never use this function. Doing so leaves all of your information vulnerable to anyone who gets physical access to your Mac. Even if you are using a Mac that is stationary and locked up, it doesn't make sense to take the risk. Entering a password every time you use your Mac is a small price to pay for good security. You can mitigate the number of times you enter your password by setting the Require Password time to something reasonable, such as 5 minutes.

Comments: 18 Responses to “Automatic Login And Why You Should Never Use It”

    Shirley
    1 year ago

    All good information except when one spouse dies and did not share the password.

    brad
    1 year ago

    Ok you win. If it becomes too much of a hassle, we could set up another user that doesn’t have access to anything important, right?

    Mr. Luigi
    1 year ago

    A little perk of owning an Apple Watch is it can automatically unlock your Mac. Safe, secure, and very convenient.

    1 year ago

    Shirley: A good practice is to have both spouses have an admin account on the computer, even if one never uses it. You can always force a password reset if you have access to an admin account.

    1 year ago

    brad: Not sure what you mean. You can set up another user, but that user should have a password too. All users need to have a password.

    brad
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary,
    My new account would be vanilla Mac without any secret information in any files–as if I sat down to a terminal in a library.

    I’d set it up with no password and restrict my original account up the wazoo (probably start with a much harder master password) since I wouldn’t be using it except rarely for sensitive tasks.

    I haven’t set up a new account in years & it’s probably more trouble than I remember but, I probably won’t go back to leaving her wide open.

    1 year ago

    brad: That’s not a good idea. I’m not sure what the purpose of a vanilla account would be. If you wouldn’t be using it for anything, then why have it at all? And if you will use it for something, then it should be password-protected. And if you create any account and it is unprotected then it could be a doorway into your Mac. As an admin account, it could grant access to the other accounts easily. And if not, then again, what’s the point?

    brad
    1 year ago

    “And if you create any account and it is unprotected then it could be a doorway into your Mac.”

    That’s the kind of thing that made me want to run it by you.

    Thanks agin!

    Bert Mullemeister
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary, in previous videos you mentioned that it is wise to sleep your iMac
    I presume you would first log off

    1 year ago

    Bert: unless you have set it otherwise, you should be automatically logged off when your Mac sleeps.

    Joe
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary, by doing this, enabling a PW even from the sleep mode, will it it help to keep a hacker out too? Thank you for any advice you can offer on this topic…
    Joe

    1 year ago

    Joe: Enabling with Sleep will keep someone out with physical access when you walk away. It also means you don’t have to remember to lock it all the time when you walk away. Just having the password (a strong one) will keep “hackers” out. But if it isn’t locked and they get hold of your computer, then the password isn’t much help.

    Joe
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary, thank you for your response. However, I don’t know what you mean by “Locked”?
    Also, will it help from being hacked through the network? Not just a physical hacking?
    Thanks again for your help…

    1 year ago

    Joe: Locked means you are logged out and the Mac is “locked” until you log in again. See the setting “Require Password” in System Preferences, Security & Privacy, General like I show in the video.
    Setting a password is definitely required to prevent someone from remotely logging in to your Mac. However, how it locks when you sleep doesn’t matter for that,

    Ian Leckie
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary! I have my iMac login set up just as you recommend. But someone could remove one of my various external SSDs which I use for clones and Time Machine backups, and so have access to my data. What would you suggest is the best way to protect these external drives too? Thanks, Ian.

    1 year ago

    Ian: Aren’t you using the Time Machine encryption option? If so, then they wouldn’t be able to access the data on your Time Machine drive without your password. As for clones, perhaps the cloning software you use has an encryption option. Or, maybe consider simply using Time Machine for a second backup instead of a clone. Consider the reasons why you have a clone too — they aren’t as useful as a real incremental backup like Time Machine and this security issue could be a big downside for you.

    Ian Leckie
    1 year ago

    Thanks for replying and helping me, Gary! I´ve been using TM for years but have always overlooked the “Encrypt” option. Have now encrypted my TM drives. For cloning I use Carbon Copy Cloner, and it also has an encryption option I wasn’t aware of! Just goes to show that even as a long time Mac user (27 years!) you never stop learning!! Keep your excellent videos coming! Best regards, Ian.

    1 year ago

    Ian: My problem with clones is that they are exact copies of your drive. So create file A on Monday. Clone Monday night. Delete file A on Tuesday. Clone Tuesday night. Wednesday wake up and realize that file A was very important so go to your clone to get it from there. But it isn’t there as the clone is an exact copy of your files from AFTER you deleted it.
    What clones are good for: Your drive fails and you have critical work to do today. You swap the clone for the failed drive temporarily to get the work done. Then after that you get a new drive, install the OS, and restore your files. But that’s not what most people in most situations would do today. You would get your Mac fixed right away, and maybe use another one if you needed to get something critical done right away.

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