Keep your Macbook Secure While Traveling

My main system is a Macbook Pro, I love having such a powerful system in such a sexy package. I travel a lot and am often concerned about what might happen in the event that my laptop is stolen.

Luckily there are a number of things you can do to help keep your Macbook locked down in the event it is taken.

Require a password
By default, OSX will resume from sleep or a screensaver back to the desktop. While this is convenient, on a laptop, while traveling, this is rather dangerous. You can configure OSX to use passwords when resuming from a sleep or screensaver through System Preferences.

Open your System Preferences
System Preferences window

Click Security

Check the box “Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver.”

Encrypt your home directory
OSX comes with software that will encrypt and decrypt the contents of your home directory. This is an important feature to use on a Macbook because once it is enabled, the content in your home directory is scrambled. In the event your machine is stolen, the contents in your home directory will at least be safe from prying eyes.

Configuring the File Vault is easy. Click System Preferences and click Security again.

Once in the Security Preference, click File Vault.
File Vault

Click on the button Turn on Vault… When you do this, you will have to enter an administrator username and password.

You are then presented with a dialog to enter a master password. This password is a safety net that will allow you to decrypt your system in the event you forget your account password. Click the key icon and create a very strong password and WRITE IT DOWN, and stick it in your file cabinet.
After a few moments, you will have an encrypted home directory.

Create a secure account password
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a secure password in your system. Even if you encrypt your home directory, if someone can easily guess your password, it doesn’t matter how encrypted your data is.

There is a really great program 1Password that will manage your account passwords. It can generate secure passwords for you. I however, take a low tech approach to secure passwords. The website Diceware shows you how to create very strong but easy to remember passphrases. Use this site and create a long password. Your data will thank you if it is ever lost.  

Turn on your Firewall
If you are using WiFi on a public network, you want to make sure your Macbook is inaccessible. OSX includes a firewall that will protect your computer on public networks.

There you go, some simple tips that will help you keep your system locked down, if you have any other tips please post them here.


  1. monika on December 4, 2009 at 3:55 am

    thanks for this tremendous tips seems very useful.i keep all your points in my mind and will follow them definitely.

  2. Alesandra on August 12, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Really nice piece of information.really very useful for a is very important to have computer knowledge.i like your contents.the way you explain operating system,hardware,software is great.thanks.


  3. Vincenzo on August 12, 2010 at 2:54 am

    After reading you article all my basics are cleared plus i update my knowledge about macbook. Thanks to you for this excellent work.

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