Our MacBooks are precious to us, and losing them would be devastating. You can only imagine the added psychological trauma that comes with data loss and possible misuse of the device. Thefts come without notice, so the best thing you can do is prepare in advance.

how to keep your mac safe and recover stolen mac

This article outlines Apple’s recommended steps to keep your Mac safe in the event of theft. Our condolences if you’ve lost your Mac. But don’t worry, there are many ways to get your device back, so don’t give up hope just yet. Read on to learn more.

What Can Possibly Happen to Your Mac?

Don’t assume that thieves are kind and generous when your Mac is stolen. The most obvious thing that can happen then is a complete data wipe or a factory reset. God forbid, your Mac could also become a medium for unethical activities and illegal transactions. Reselling or destroying your Mac are other possibilities that will make you cringe.

Basic Preventive Measures to Keep Your Mac Safe

Enabling all the important security settings is paramount to keeping your Mac in Apple’s safe hands, even if something terrible happens. Even though most of the settings are pretty basic, they will surely come in handy to you sooner or later.

Set a Strong Password

A strong password is the easiest way to protect your Mac from quick attacks. The stronger you keep your password, the more time it will take to crack the code. Password managers are a must if you struggle to remember passwords. “1234567890”,” “ABCDEFGHIJ” or your pet’s name are no longer enough in the modern Internet age.

You can also use a password generator that generates random combinations of alphanumeric characters. To change your password —

  1. Select the Apple logo () in the upper-left corner.
    click on apple logo in the top-left corner
  2. Click on System Settings.
    open system settings
  3. Select TouchID & Password.
    open touchid and password
  4. Click the Change option under Password.
    click on change
  5. Enter the required information and set your new password.
    type in new password

Change Your Password Frequently

Setting a solid password is only half the battle; you need to change it regularly to keep your Mac secure. We recommend reminding yourself to change your password every few months.

Don’t Leave Your Mac Unlocked

Leaving your MacBooks unlocked is as harmful as inviting burglars into your home. It may not surprise anyone, but an unlocked Mac loses all of its primary protection and becomes an easy target for thieves.

Add Multiple Users Instead of Using a Single Account

If multiple users have access to your Mac, e.g. your family or close friends, it’s best not to take any risks and create a separate user for each member. This way they’ll also have their own space to do their work.

If you don’t want to set up a full-fledged account, you can also set up a temporary guest account with limited features. To add multiple users-

  1. Right-click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner ().
    click on apple logo in the top-left corner
  2. Click on System Settings.
    open system settings
  3. Under Users & Groups, select the Add Account option. To enable adding guest users, select the button next to the mentioned option.
    add account in users and groups
  4. Enter the details and create a new account.
    add a new user account

Set Your Mac to Lock When Left Idle

If you forget to lock your Mac before you leave, you can set it to lock itself after a certain amount of time. Here’s how to do it —

  1. Click on the Apple logo () in the top-left corner.
    click on apple logo in the top-left corner
  2. Open System Settings.
    open system settings
  3. Scroll down until you find Lock Screen. Select it.
    open lock screen settings
  4. Set the time intervals according to your preferences. (Choose smaller time intervals to ensure maximum security)
    set lock out timings

Start Using Passkeys

Passkey is a new development in the tech world that eliminates the need for you to remember passwords. You can just log in to your accounts with FaceID or TouchID. Yes, it’s that simple and efficient. The most common lately is Google Passkey, but Apple Passkeys exist too.

google passkeys to keep your mac safe

Prevent Granting Administrative Access to Multiple Users

An administrator is the one who can grant permission to access and change important settings of the Mac. This explains why you shouldn’t give administrative rights to other users of your Mac, like they give you Happy Meals at McDonald’s. When setting up a new user, there is an option to revoke administrative rights, so keep your eyes open.

Related Read: How to Set Up MacBook Like a Pro

Encrypt Your Files

It’s always a good practice to lock your important files and documents, no matter what device. Fortunately, Macs have built-in proprietary file encryption software – FileVault. It’s your best bet because it comes from a first-party vendor.

Turn on Find My

Find My has been life-saving for many individuals, thanks to its ability to navigate you to the location of your stolen or misplaced device with pinpoint accuracy. Not only that, Find My can locate your device even when it’s turned off, you can remotely reset it, erase its contents, and even play sound. Turning it on is an unspoken rule.

apple find my

Find My is available as a separate app across all Apple devices.

Attach an AirTag if Available

AirTags take Find My functionality to a whole new level with live tracking. An attached AirTag is virtually an unconditional guarantee for your Mac, because you can always find it again unless the AirTag is disabled or destroyed.

Turn On Notify When Left Behind

This feature alerts you via push notification when your device is outside a preset radius. If you have an iPhone, you can turn this feature on for your devices in the Find My app.

4 Ways to Recover a Stolen Mac

Check Find My

After learning the hard truth, you should immediately check Find My on other Apple devices you own. Alternatively, you can check iCloud.com/find for your device’s location. You can have your Mac ring when it’s nearby to make the search easier.

find my website

If you haven’t set up Find My yet, your Mac won’t appear in the device list. In this case, you should immediately change all your passwords and log out of all devices.

Mark As Lost

If you can’t find your Mac with Find My, you can mark it as lost. This prohibits Apple Pay, and you can even set your Mac to display a custom message so someone who finds it can contact you. Here’s how to mark your device as lost –

  1. Open Find My.
    find my devices
  2. Right-click on your device and select Mark As Lost.
    mark as lost in find my
  3. Click on Continue after going through the warnings.
    mark as lost

File a Report at the Local Law Enforcement

As with any other valuable possession, you should report to local authorities if you have lost it. You may be asked to provide your Mac’s serial number, which can be found on the back of the machine and on the outer box your Mac came in.

Remotely Erase Your Mac

To prevent misuse of your lost Mac, it’s best to wipe it remotely. Please keep in mind that you’ll not be able to restore your data later, so it’s advisable to back up your Mac regularly.

erase mac remotely

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

It’s not hard to set up the above things in advance, especially since these measures can be of great use in finding your misplaced or stolen Mac. If you ever find yourself in a crisis, don’t waste a second, use the Find My app or website to search for your device and notify local law enforcement if necessary.

FAQs on Keeping Mac Safe and Recovering Lost MacBooks

loader image

Without wandering here and there, check your device's location in the Find My app on another Apple device you own. If you don't have one, visit iCloud.com/find and locate your device on the map. If that doesn't help, you can also notify local law enforcement to speed up the process.

You can mark the device as lost with Find My or wipe it remotely to make sure no one misuses it.

Find My is a sophisticated tool from Apple that tracks the location of your device in real time. It proves beneficial when searching for stolen or missing devices. Moreover, Find My lets you remotely wipe your device, mark it as lost or play sound. Once set up, you can view your Mac and other Apple devices on the map.

Yes. If you are afraid that someone might misuse your Mac's files and programs, it is recommended to wipe your device remotely. Remember that you can't undo this step. So, if you already have a backup of your Mac, it's better. So, it is recommended to make a backup of your Mac on a regular basis.

To protect your Mac from physical theft:

  1. Enable a strong login password or use Touch ID or Face ID on supported models.
  2. Consider setting up a firmware password to prevent unauthorized access.
  3. Keep your Mac in a secure location when not in use, especially in public places.

Leaving your Mac in a car can be risky, especially during extreme weather conditions. Cars can become very hot, which can damage the internal components of your Mac or lead to theft. If you must leave your Mac in the car, store it in the trunk out of sight and take extra precautions to secure the vehicle.

Was this article helpful?