Welcome to the "Apple desktop: Security and privacy" course. We'll look at how you can sign into your computer securely, lock your computer to keep it safe, and install software updates.
You'll need to sign into your Apple computer before you can use it, using the account and password you created when you first set it up. You'll see your account name and image in the centre of the Sign in screen, and underneath, a box where you can type in your account password. A password is an easy way to secure your computer and the information on it. It's a bit like a key. When your computer is locked, no one else can use it.
Type in your password and press Enter on your keyboard, to log in to your account and unlock your computer.
You should always secure your computer when you aren't using it, to protect your information. One of the best ways to do this is to shut it down when you're finished using it, and securely log in when you start it back up. Let's look at how to do this now.
Start by saving and closing any files or applications you have open before shutting down your computer. Then, look for the Apple icon at the top left of the screen, and click on it to open the Apple menu. Click Shut Down to safely turn it off. This will secure your computer, as you'll need to enter your account password to sign back in when you turn it back on.
If you are just stepping away from your computer momentarily, rather than shutting it down, you might want to put it in a state of temporary hibernation, called Sleep. Your computer will automatically go to sleep if you haven't used it for a period of time. You can manually put your computer to sleep by clicking Sleep from the Apple menu. The screen will go black.
To wake up your computer, press any key on the keyboard. If your computer has been asleep for less than five minutes, you don't have to enter your password, so you'll see the desktop again. If it's been asleep for more than five minutes, it will lock and you'll need to sign in with your account password again. You can adjust the lock time, and a shorter lock time will offer better security, so let's look at how we can change this in System Settings.
Look for the Apple icon at the top left of the screen, and click on it again. In the menu that appears, click on System Settings, and the System Settings panel will appear. Scroll down the list of options on the left side of the panel, until you see Lock Screen. Click this, and some options will appear on the right side of the panel. Look for "Require password after screensaver begins or display is turned off". Next to this you'll see a time. For this demonstration, five minutes. This means that your computer will lock automatically after it's been asleep for five minutes or more, after which time you'll have to enter your password to unlock it. A shorter delay offers better security, so let's change this.
Click on the arrows to the right of the time limit and a list of options will appear. For this demonstration, we'll select one minute. A Lock Screen pop up will appear. Enter your computer account password. To confirm that you want to change the lock screen delay time, click Modify Settings. The pop up will disappear and your computer will now lock after it's been asleep for a minute or more, after which time you'll have to enter your password to unlock it. To close the Lock Screen menu, click the small red button in the top left.
From time to time, your computer might send you a message, or notification, which will appear in the top right of the screen. Other applications and even websites can send notifications too. They might alert you to an email or a news story from a website, for example. Most of these types of notifications will disappear after a moment, which means they are not very urgent or important.
Place your mouse over a notification, and some options will appear. If the notification is from a source you trust, you can click Show or Read Story to open the website or application that sent it. Or, click the cross in the top left corner, to close it.
If you're not sure about the source of the notification, you can just ignore it. It can't hurt your computer if you don't click on it.
Your computer's operating software does a lot in the background to keep your computer secure, with many features that protect your personal data and privacy. That's why it's important to keep your operating software up to date. You can set your computer to automatically update its operating software. Let's look into this now.
Look for the Apple icon at the top left of the screen, and click on it. In the menu that appears, click on System Settings and the System Settings panel will appear. From the options on the left side of the panel, click General, and then Software Update on the right side of the panel. At the top of this screen, you'll see Automatic updates. To the right of this, you should see On, which means your computer will automatically update its operating software. If this is set to Off, click the information icon to the right of the Off, and a pop-up box will appear. Tick each of the grey switches to turn all these settings on. When the switches are blue, they are set to On. So click Done to automatically receive updates when available. Click on the red dot in the top left of the Software Update panel to close System Settings and return to the desktop.
Some minor operating software updates will be installed in the background without interrupting you, but major updates will require your computer to restart. Your computer will always send you a notification to let you know about these major operating software updates. Place your mouse over the notification to see some options. If it isn't a convenient time to install the update immediately, click Options and choose when you'd prefer to be reminded again. When you're ready to install the update, save and close any files or applications you have open, and click Restart. A pop-up box will also appear in the centre of the screen, asking you to enter your computer password. Click on the password field, type your computer password, then click OK. Your computer will now restart and install the new major operating system update. After this, you'll see the Sign in screen once more, where you'll need to type in your account password and press Enter.
[eSafety tip] MacOS notifications are safe to click on, but be wary of fake notifications. A real macOS notification will never ask you for your personal information or direct you to a third-party website.
Your Apple computer comes with built-in security that helps to keep it protected from viruses, keeps your account passwords safe, and much more. Antivirus software can provide extra protection for your computer. You can buy it from a store or website and it can also protect some of your other devices. There are many to choose from, and most offer a free 30-day trial, but make sure you read the fine print about on-going costs before signing up. Look for our courses on antivirus software on Be Connected to find out more.
Most Apple computers have a small, built-in camera called a webcam. It's used for making video calls, and your computer will automatically turn it on when you need it. If your computer has a webcam, you'll see a small circle in the top centre of the screen. Although it's unlikely, someone else could access your computer's camera without your permission and turn on the webcam. A small light next to the webcam should come on when it's in use, but this may not always be the case. Fortunately, you can protect yourself against this very easily. Just get a small piece of masking tape and put it over the camera, simple as that!
You should now know how to secure your computer and what to do about notifications. You will also know that your computer has basic inbuilt security to help protect against viruses and other threats, and you should update your operating software regularly.
If you're unsure about any steps, you can rewind the video, or click the chapter headings to jump to the start of a chapter. If you're ready to move on, there are many other courses to explore on Be Connected.