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i've been noticing strange things since I moved in my apartment. One time or another I can see airplay icon that appears out of no where, I'm concerned that someone might get access to my mac, is there anything I can do to prevent others accessing my mac?

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You really need to clarify what sort of strange things you've seen and what sort of access you're worried about. Are you worried about people physically accessing your Mac? Are there people with whom you share a network? An Airplay icon appearing is not by itself much cause for alarm, but there are big pieces of the story missing. –  Daniel Lawson Sep 16 '12 at 17:54
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

More information about your exact situation would be helpful (i.e. are you sharing your network with roommates?), but I can provide some basic advice.

Out of the box, your Mac is relatively secure. Other people can't access your files over the network unless you explicitly enable it. The Airplay icon simply means that someone on your network has an Apple TV—it doesn't mean that they can gain access to your Mac. Some things to check however:

  • Is your Wi-Fi secured? Check by holding down the option key and clicking the Wi-Fi icon (Wi-Fi Icon). You should see an entry in the drop-down that says Security: WPA2 Personal. If you don't (or you see something like WPA), you should secure your Wi-Fi router. How to do so depends on your exact make and model.

  • Is automatic login turned off? Check this by going to the Users & Groups section of System Preferences, and click the Login Options section (in the left panel). Make sure the drop-down next to Automatic login is set to No. This requires you to enter your password whenever you boot your Mac.

  • Require a password when waking from sleep/screensaver. You can enable this in Security & Privacy section of System Preferences. It's a checkbox under the General tab. You'll also want to make sure that your computer is set to go to sleep or screensaver after a relatively short period of inactivity.

Those should cover the basics of making sure most people can't access your Mac over the network or directly.

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+1 - To this I'd add: make sure SSH access is turned off - in the 'sharing' tab, ensure 'remote login' is not selected. For that matter, you can turn off all the sharing options there to make SURE no-one has access. –  Simbamangu Sep 18 '12 at 3:54
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There’s no way anyone can access your Mac until they are physically present. Airplay is just a media protocol and media can only be sent from your Mac to a receiving device.

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