There are some things we all immediately do after we power up that brand-spankin’ new Mac. Some download and organize new apps, while others customize their desktop/lockscreen images.
Me, myself, personally…I tweak all the settings to get them just right. One of the first settings I mess with is turning off the ‘Guest User’ account – Nobody else is using my baby, so there isn’t any reason to even tempt me to allow a stranger’s germy hands to touch my keyboard.
But after some some studying for my latest Apple certification, I dug up a pretty interesting fact that forced me to immediately turn back on the Guest User account so strangers (particularly a thief) could actually login to my computer and connect to the internet.
If you’re not familiar with ‘Find My Mac’, it’s an iCloud security feature that lets you locate your iOS or Mac devices anywhere. You can login to you iCloud account online and as long as your Mac 1) Is powered on 2) Has the ‘Find My Mac’ feature enabled, and 3) Is connected to the internet, you can locate, track, lock, and even wipe your devices remotely.
Now traditional security procedures for locking down a Mac so nobody can do anything with it would be to use to use a strong password and force it to lock itself after a couple of minutes. The thought process behind that is if your Mac decided to grow legs and walk away, nobody could access your data, or browse the web to do whatever it is folks do on the internet…which is any and everything.
Here’s the hook: If a thief can’t get past the login screen, they are less likely to connect your Mac to a network to establish an internet connection, which would subsequently connect it to Apple’s iCloud servers, which would then let you use the ‘Find My Mac’ feature to locate and possibly retrieve your device (Please call the cops…Don’t try that vigilante crap).
On the flip-side, if the Guest User account on your Mac is enabled (there is no guest user password required to login to your computer), that just might tempt a thief to access the web which will initiate a connection between your Mac and your iCloud account.
I know what you’re thinking and don’t worry, a Guest User account can only do very basic things, and you can restrict a Guest User account even more by turning on and adjusting the Parental Controls, and/or encrypting your computer’s Hard Drive with the built-in (Read: $free.99) FileVault feature.
I know it sounds crazy, but if you want to even try to get your Mac back after it’s been stolen, you actually want the thief to be able to take selfies of themselves or yell at people on Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit using your baby.
…Just wipe off the keys with alcohol and a rag if you do get him/her back.