If you are worried about losing your Mac to theft or loss, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself. One of them is to use the new Activation Lock feature, included in the recent iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air. This uses a new security chip called the T2 Security Chip to allow you to remotely lock and wipe your Mac.
Even after you clear it, Activation Lock prevents anyone else from using your Mac, making it completely useless to anyone else. To activate it, you’ll need macOS Catalina, have two-factor authentication enabled on your Apple ID, and have Secure Boot set to the default “Full Security”.
What is Activation Lock on Apple Mac?
Owners of Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads will already be familiar with the Where’s App. This allows you to track your Apple devices if they are lost or stolen by pinpointing their location on a map. It also allows you to securely lock or wipe your device to prevent its use and prevent data theft.
The Activation Lock feature on Mac offers this security, previously limited to iOS devices, to new Apple Mac devices. It requires the T2 security chip to be able to securely lock and wipe your Mac. The new iMac Pro has this chip, as well as Mac Minis and MacBooks (both Pro and Air) from 2018 onwards.
Like iPhone and iPad users, this gives you remote control of your Mac’s security on the Find My app. You can access it online or from the Find My app on your iOS or other Mac device.
If you want to remotely control a Mac and have more than one macOS device, you can do so using the Find Mine app. To access it, search Find mine in the Springboardaccessible from the Dock at the bottom of the Mac screen.
Checking the T2 security chip and the status of the activation lock
If you are unsure whether the T2 security chip that allows Activation Lock mode to work is installed on your Mac, you can quickly check this from your Mac’s System Report.
- To access your Mac’s system report, click to access the Apple menu at the top left of the screen, then click About this Mac.
- In the Overview tab of your Mac’s information dialog box, click System report button.
- Under the Hardware section in the left menu, click Ticket inspector. If you don’t see Ticket inspectorto seek iPonte instead. Under Model nameyou should see Apple T2 security chip displayed.
- If you have installed the T2 security chip, check if the activation lock is already activated. To do this, click Hardware in your system report and check the Activation lock status field.
- If it is set to Qualified, Activation Lock is on and you don’t need to do anything. If it says Disabled, you will need to follow the instructions below to activate it.
- To enable Activation Lock on your Mac, you’ll need to set up Find my Mac. However, if at any point you’ve changed the Secure Boot setting, you’ll need to change it first.
Set Secure Boot to Full Security
The Activation Lock setting will only work if your Mac’s Secure Boot setting is set to Full Security. Secure Boot is another advanced setting, introduced on modern Mac hardware, which ensures that only legitimate and trusted Apple and Microsoft operating systems can boot.
- Changing this setting requires starting the macOS recovery system and logging in to Startup security utility. To do this, press and hold Command + R keys on the keyboard as soon as the Apple logo appears during the boot process.
- From there, click Utilitythen Startup security utility. Use your macOS username and password to authenticate, then below Safe Bootmake sure that Full security is the enabled setting.
- Restart your Mac normally to proceed after this point.
Turn on Find My Mac
Apple’s Find My app lets you keep track of your Apple devices. It allows you to locate them, remotely control them, block them and delete them if necessary.
Activation Lock is critical to this remote defense and requires the Find My Mac setting to be enabled.
- To activate Find My Mac, click to go to Apple menu at the top left, then click System Preferences.
- In your System Preferencesclick Apple ID. On macOS Catalina, this entry is located in the upper right corner of the window.
- Under yours Apple ID settings, click iCloud. Listed under the various apps that use the iCloud service, click the checkbox next to Find my Mac.
- macOS will ask you to confirm if you want to enable Find My Mac. To confirm, click To allow.
Once enabled, you can confirm that Activation Lock is enabled by reporting to your system report (Apple menu> About This Mac> System Report> Hardware).
Using Find My Mac
You can use Activation Lock on your Mac using the Find My app, on other Apple devices you own, or by visiting the iCloud website.
- Log into the iCloud website using the same Apple ID you use for your Mac. Click the Find iPhone button to access Find My Online. Despite saying iPhone, it will still work for your Mac.
- You will need to log in again with your Apple ID. Once down, click the drop-down menu in the top menu bar, then select your Mac from the list.
- To take advantage of Activation Lock mode, click Door lock in the options menu that appears on the Find My page. You can also click Erase Mac if your device is lost and you want to make sure your data is protected.
With one of these options pressed, your Mac device will then begin to lock or wipe remotely.