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I am somewhat new to macOS and am wondering if it's possible to set auto-lock on macOS after a couple of minutes of inactivity that cannot be changed by the regular user.

Should I then prep the MacBook as an administrator and other users as regular user? So that whenever they want to change it, they will need the administrators password?

  • Can you explain the environment and purpose of this more? So if the logged in user is inactive for a few minutes, they are locked out of the Mac and can't get back in? So presumably, just having a user password to unlock the screensaver isn't what you want? – benwiggy Aug 3 at 11:38
  • Thanks for your reply Benwiggy. The idea is not that people are locked out, but that the screen is locked. They have to enter their password again to unlock it. The thing is, is that I want to enforce this locking of the screen while people are not at their desk, so if they can disable it themselves, it's hard to enforce. On a windows machine this is quite easy to do, so am wondering if this is also the case on MacOS – Alvin Bakker Aug 3 at 12:47
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I am adding one more option:

From System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General tab, click on Advanced... from where you can set up the inactivity timer as you want and enable administrator option. Any other standard user can't access other system-wide preferences setup too. So I guess this option will easier for you.

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You can set MacOS to sleep the display or activate the screensaver after a specified period of time, and require them to type their own password to unlock the screen.

System Preferences > Security & Privacy's General tab has a control for requiring a password to unlock the display.

You can set the time for the display to turn off in Energy Saver preference pane, or the ScreenSaver time can be set in Desktop & Screen Saver.

To ensure that users cannot change the settings, then the users would need to be Standard user accounts, not Admin accounts. (Arguably, that should be the case in any managed environment.)

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Should I then prep the MacBook as an administrator and other users as regular user? So that whenever they want to change it, they will need the administrators password?

Yes. This is exactly how this feature/function is designed to work.

Whether you’re setting a time limit for inactivity or regulating the joining of WiFi networks you can restrict how and what a user can modify. Keep in mind, that the “tighter” you lock things down, is the more administrator intervention you’ll experience as they go through their workflow and those settings legitimately need to be tweaked. It’s a balancing act you’ll have to work through.

Also, from the other end of the spectrum - making them an admin - the old adage is "one one admin can do, another can undo" so use caution when granting admin rights.

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