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I understand that turning on Find My Mac also turns on a "Guest" account (in "login only" mode). For a variety of reasons, I would prefer not to have an enabled Guest account at all.

Does Find My Mac still function with the Guest account turned off? Is its functionality limited in some way by the absence of the Guest account. Or will the Guest account be re-enabled by Find My Mac when I reboot?

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Yes, it will still function without the guest account. However, in order for Find my Mac to locate your Mac, the Mac needs to be connected to the internet. If your account is secure and your Mac is stolen, presumably the thief would not know your password, and so wouldn't be able to login and join a WiFi network.

Leaving guest access enabled allows them to login without a password, in the hopes that they then join a WiFi network and your Mac is located (and immediately locked/wiped/etc).

  • Is that how it works. Someone has to log in for me to be able to remotely wipe, so that disabling the Guest account makes it impossible of for me to wipe (or, presumably, get a current location)? – orome Sep 24 '14 at 18:35
  • More accurately, the Mac needs to have internet access in order to receive the commands to wipe itself. Also in order to send its coordinates. It can't do these things if there's no communication. So the guest account allows a would-be thief to at least log in and give the Mac an opportunity to communicate. The same is true of the iOS - it needs a data connection, whether it be on a cell network or WiFi. – Harv Sep 24 '14 at 18:37
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    However if there's no guest account but still the Mac is located somewhere you've been before, and it automatically joins the local WiFi -- you would be in luck. You may want to think about what the chances of that happening are. If I were a thief, I would get as far away from where I committed the crime as possible, as quickly as possible. – Harv Sep 24 '14 at 18:38
  • If I were a thief (and what you're saying is true), I'd turn of WiFi, or go where there was none. Are you sure this is how it works: the whole thing relies on a thief being connected to the internet? – orome Sep 24 '14 at 18:43
  • Right, but you have the luxury of knowing what you know. Often thiefs don't know that. They just want to sell the thing or use it. And yes, I am sure -- how else would the Mac send its location or receive commands to wipe? Communication is required. – Harv Sep 24 '14 at 18:44

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