How to Set Security Options in Mac OS X Lion

The General tab of the Security & Privacy System Preferences pane in Mac OS X Lion offers several options that can help keep the data in your computer safe. They are

  • Require Password after Sleep or Screen Saver Begins: Enable this option if you want your Mac to lock itself up and require a password after the screen saver kicks in or it goes to sleep.

    When enabled, this option offers a pop-up menu that lets you specify how long after sleep or screen saver this password protection should kick in. The options range from immediately to four hours.

  • Disable Automatic Login: One of the login options in the Users & Groups System Preferences pane is automatic login. With automatic login enabled, you don’t have to choose an account or type a password when you start up this Mac. Instead, it bypasses all that login stuff and goes directly to the Desktop of the designated account.

  • Require an Administrator Password to Access System Preferences with Lock Icons: If you prefer that nonadministrator users be prevented from changing the settings in any System Preferences pane, enable this option.

  • Log Out after X Minutes of Inactivity: This feature does what it says: It logs out the current user after a specified length of idle time.

  • Automatically Update Safe Downloads List: When you attempt to open a downloaded application, Mac OS X reminds you where it came from before you open it for the first time. This option updates its list of applications it considers safe to launch.

  • Show a Message When the Screen is Locked: Type the message you want on your screen when it’s locked in this text entry box.

  • Disable Remote Control Infrared Receiver: There was a time not too long ago that many Macs included a little Apple Remote control device (though none do anymore). To disable it for all users, enable this option.

Finally, the two items in the Privacy tab of the Security & Privacy System Preferences pane are

  • Send Diagnostic & Usage Data to Apple: Anonymously sends details of system crashes, apps that quit unexpectedly, freezes, kernel panics to the mothership in Cupertino, Apple’s world HQ. Engineers then pore over the data and issue software updates to eliminate the bugs.

  • Enable Location Services: Select this option to allow applications and websites to use your computer’s current location to provide information, services, and features appropriate to where you are.

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