How to keep people from messing with the System Preferences on your Mac

How to keep people from messing with the System Preferences on your Mac

When we first set up our Macs we tweak and adjust settings to suit our own personal preferences. The worst thing in the world is when someone comes along and doesn't respect our Mac. We've all experienced it from time to time. They pop into System Preferences like they own the place and start changing things like trackpad speed, display resolution, and who knows what else. We are left appalled when they're done. Luckily, OS X has a neat little trick to keep people from doing all these terrible things. Here's how:

  1. Click on the  logo in the top left corner of your Mac and click on System Preferences.
  2. In the same top menu, now click on View and then Customize.
  3. The System Preferences window now should have checkmark boxes next to each item in System Preferences. Simply uncheck the ones you want to hide and click Done.

That's all there is to it. While there isn't any password protection for System Preferences in OS X (even though there should be), this is a neat trick that should keep anyone out that is on your computer for only a limited amount of time, unless they also know about this trick. In that case, you're out of luck and would be better off just creating a Guest account.

And remember, for some of us changing our System Preferences is just as bad as rearranging our living room furniture. Don't do it!

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to keep people from messing with the System Preferences on your Mac


Wow! I didn't know that. Thanks for this tip. Sometimes I allow family members to use my computer and some one always make changes. This is a great tip!

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While I don't have my iMac yet....I seriously doubt I'd let anyone even 10 feet physically near it, let alone touch it! :)

Great tip, but never let anyone on the computer except as a guest. I never tell anyone my sign on password.