Help with Mac password protection

On my MacBook, I set up a password-protected account for myself and a no-password “guest” account. I also set a no activity time for it to go into screen saver mode and demand a password to get back in.

When I turn the computer on, I can choose whether to log in under my account or as a guest.

But, there seems to be a glitch.

Here’s what happened yesterday … I’m running an errand, get a call on my cell “I need your computer password!” “Just log in as a guest!” “It doesn’t give me that option!”

So I had to shout my password into my phone (and at the clerk who was ringing up my purchase).

So why doesn’t screen saver mode give the user the option to log on as a guest?

What can I do about this? The only thing I can think of is that every time I step away from the computer, I have to shut down, and so the screen saver security is of no use to me.

You could have just had your guest restart the computer. Hold down the power button for a few seconds to shut down and then restart.

Instead of shutting down when you leave, log out.

I could have sworn the screen saver gave you an option of logging out automatically instead of just demanding a password, but I could be wrong about that.

Do you have “Fast User Switching” turned on?

And BTW UncleRojelio, forcing a reboot is a really bad idea, in general.

I don’t believe there’s a way to do what you’re proposing. What you CAN do, however, is, rather than just sleeping your computer after X minutes of inactivity, you can log out after X minutes of inactivity.

Just go to System Preferences > Security and select that item, and set the timer. You should probably test it a few times with your Energy Saver settings to make sure that your computer doesn’t go to sleep before it logs out, or else you’ll have the same problem you do now.


This is what I’ll do. Thanks.

**Did you even read what I asked?

If you turn it on, it works EXACTLY like you want it to.

If that’s the case, then you know the answer.

I still haven’t found where to turn on fast user switching, but I’m looking.

In System Preferences->Accounts->Login Options.

I tried it out Beowulff. It works except that I have to remember to save any work and exit out of applications, or else the automatic logoff fails.

OK, but why logout at all?
If you have Fast User Switching turned on, and you leave your machine with the password-protected screensaver on, another user can come over and log into their account, leaving your account running and hidden. No need to logout.

Fast User Switching is exactly what you want. There is no need to set an auto-logout timer.

With Fast User Switching enabled, there is a button on the screensaver password prompt labeled “Switch User”, that lets someone log on as a guest.

I don’t want the guest to have to press “switch user.” I want the guest to be presented with the panel that already gives them the choice “sign on as acsenray” and “sign on as guest.”

Could you explain your thinking?

I want one step instead of two.

Two steps:

Guest: “It wants your password.”
Me: “Click on switch user and then click on guest”
Guest: “I don’t want to do all that. Why can’t you just give me your password?”

One step:

Guest: “What do I do?”
Me: “Just click on guest.”

Just to be clear, in my hypothetical, “Guest” may encompass people such as my spouse and my mother.

So, let me get this straight -
In order to eliminate the occasional need for a guest to click one extra time, you are going to log out, meaning you will need to re-launch all of your running programs every time your machine goes to sleep? :smack:

Oh, come on. Reading them your password over the phone will take significantly longer than clicking the mouse twice. You’re being a little bit unreasonable.

Note that, if you have fast user switching enabled, the fast user switching menu in the upper-right lets you select “Login Window”. You could always do that before you leave - but really, is clicking the mouse on “Switch User” really such a Herculean task for your spouse and mother?

You folks are missing the point–he doesn’t want to get into arguments with his spouse/mother over it. Then you immediately get into issues of “Why won’t you give me your password? What are you hiding?” People are nosy and contentious.

I know the people in my life and I know better than you how they are likely to behave.

Do you have a spouse or a mother? Do they always behave logically?

In my OP, I related exactly what happened. Faced with the screen that had my name and asking for my password and with the “switch user” button at the bottom, my guest user said “Just tell me your password!” and had to shout it into my cellphone in front of a sales clerk.

I don’t understand why you’re arguing with me on this point.

This is the big problem with technology companies … they don’t bother to find out how technology actually gets used by people. It’s not always a matter of logic.

In fact, my wife’s Windows machine does exactly what I want my Mac to do. When it goes into screen saver mode and you wake it up, it offers you the various account/user buttons to click on, all without having to shut down running programs.

OK, I think this will do what you want, but it’s going to take some tinkering: Macworld - News, Tips & Reviews from the Apple Experts