We can state for sure that hardening the security of your Mac and protecting your privacy do not take a ton of effort. Developers from Cupertino did a great job stuffing macOS with many easy-to-use safety features. Thanks to this, setting Security Preferences to make your MacBook Pro or Air, iMac or Mac mini fully secure is more like completing some fascinating puzzle than doing boring chores. The vivid example of such approach is the situation when you want to install some app from the source different from the official Apple AppStore. You can keep trying to do that for ages, but macOS just won’t allow installation until you change your security preferences. We’ll tell you how to change basic Mac security settings without harming the overall computer protection.
How to Change Security Settings on Mac for Unidentified Developer
We bet you’ve seen this notification many times:
It’s not an uncommon situation when many useful and cool apps from trustworthy developers are not presented in the AppStore (for example, because of Apple’s infringement upon the developer’s selling profits). Before downloading third-party software from the Internet, make sure it is safety and secure!
Anyway, if you want to work around the ban to install apps from all sources, not only AppStore, do the following:
- Look for the target app in the Finder.
- When holding down the “control” key, choose the app’s icon.
- Pick “Open” from the popped up menu.
- You will soon see the message: “[Application Name] is from an unidentified developer. Just click “Open”
More comprehensive way to allow app installation from anywhere is by disabling Gatekeeper feature on your Mac. However, this method requires pretty much technical hustle, plus we do not recommend doing it anyway.
Setup Mac Privacy Settings
Perhaps, Security & Privacy settings in System Preferences is the most intimidating part. Many users do not pay enough attention to it. However, it is quite important to figure those settings out, especially Location Services, Contacts and Calendars apps, as well as Accessibility. Overall, the Privacy tab defines which applications can access the specific system services. Let’s have a closer look at its menu.
The Location Services section is there to detect your location by allowing apps and websites to collect and apply data based on the current device’s location. Pick this field from the sidebar list. Then, check/uncheck apps to allow or reject access. Choose wisely which app you can trust!
In the Contacts and Calendars menu, the user has to decide which applications and websites can access the contacts and reminders information on the computer.
In the social media sections – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – the user may fine-tune permits for these social networks and their native apps. For example, provide or prohibit their access your photos and other personal information.
The Accessibility tab regulates the list of apps that have access to the deep system stuff, which basically allows to control your computer and make changes at the system level. So you have to be really careful and grant such access only to those apps that you 100% trust.
Those are the basic things every Mac user should know about the changing and fine-tuning Mac security settings to take care of the computer’s safety and overall health!
Making Use of FileVault Disk Encryption
FileVault is a disk encoding utility in macOS. You should use it to prevent unauthorized access to your information by other users or apps. After you turn the FileVault feature on, it encrypts the data on the hard drive. It can be unlocked via the iCloud account or with the master password or recovery key. An administrator is the only person who can install the master password. In general, this option is a great idea to secure any file when, for instance, you are having a vacation elsewhere with the favorite device or let many people work on your Mac. Once you don’t need FileVault anymore, you can easily turn it off when.
Here is How to enable and disable FileVault on your Mac:
- Log in under the user, whose data you wish to encode.
- Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu. Pick the Security icon. After that, click the FileVault tab.
- Decide on the master password by choosing to Set Master Password.
- Select a password alone or with the help of Password Assistant.
- Changing the existing pass is possible with the help of the Accounts icon found in the System Preferences.
- Come back to the System Preferences Security window. Select the Turn on FileVault option. The encryption process then starts off, but it may take some time in case there is a lot of information stored in the home directory. It is better to choose the Secure Erase checkbox to avoid any problems with the necessary data.
To disable FileVault, do the following:
- Go Apple menu à System Preferences à Security & Privacy.
- Select the FileVault tab.
- Press Lock and type an administrator login details.
- Turn Off FileVault.
- Reboot the computer.
Keep in mind that FileVault feature may impact your Mac’s performance as it increases hard drive and CPU load. On the other hand, modern Apple computers come with enough hardware resource to make the negative effect almost unnoticeable during the typical everyday operations. The biggest inconvenience one may experience is the unavailability of ‘passwordless’ boot or standby awakening.
Dealing with Mac Firewall Settings
Nowadays, the firewall is an integral part of almost any operating system, including the latest Mac OS X. Usually, once you log in, it’s already enabled by default. All the more, it’s important to know how to turn on the firewall, configure it or disable in case there is such need. Below you will find answers to questions you’ve probably asked yourself many times: “What is firewall all about? Should I use this tool?” Let’s get going!
Macs are rightfully considered to be very secure machines. However, as the number of malware and viruses for macOS grow, the role of firewall becomes more significant. The utility allows blocking hackers, spam, and malware. It is a filter located between the device and the outside network that sorts out traffic allowing some types of it to pass and blocking the other types. The main purpose of a firewall is to enhance the security of your Mac.
The good idea would be to have the firewall enabled at all times, no matter what you aim to do. The only exception is when the user is sure about the network’s security and access to the online world is made via a router or sharing device with the separate built-in firewall.
Follow these instructions to turn the firewall protection on (or off if that’s the case):
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then move to Security & Privacy and click Firewall (to unlock the tab, you will need to enter an administrator name and password).
- Click Turn On Firewall.
For advanced fine-tuning, click Firewall Options. There you can:
- Block all incoming connections;
- Allow only specified apps and services to connect by adding them to exclusions;
- Allow the signed software and built-in software to receive incoming connections
How to Work with the Mac Automatic Login?
Many people are eager to let their Macs log them in automatically and loading the desktop without making any stops. On the one hand, it weakens security; on the other hand, allows to speed up Mac’s bootup process. Decide on what’s more important to you while we will show you how to enable or disable the automatic login. The only thing you will need is an admin access.
- Find “System Preferences” in the Apple menu.
- Then, you will need “Users and Groups.”
- Press the lock button; authenticate with an admin account.
- It is time to choose “Login Options.”
- Move on to “Automatic login” drop-down menu to turn it off or on. If latter is the case, select the username to log in automatically.
- Restart your device for the changes to take effect.