Mac OS

Automatically Log Out After a Period of Inactivity on Mac

log out due to inactivity

Enabling the “Log out due to inactivity” feature on a Mac is a good security practice. When you enable the “Log out due to inactivity” feature. Your Mac will automatically log out the user session after a specified period of inactivity. This prevents unauthorized individuals from gaining access to your Mac and its contents if you step away from your computer without manually locking it. In this article, we shall discuss how to automatically Log Out After a Period of Inactivity on Mac. Please see how to Create an S3 Bucket with Terraform, how to Remove Expired Configuration Profiles on Mac, and Enable or Disable Mac asking for Password after Sleep or Screen Saver.

Why should you Enable logging out due to inactivity on Mac?

You can set your Mac to automatically log out the current user after a set period of inactivity. This helps ensure that your information is secure when your Mac is unattended as mentioned above. Below are some more reasons to implement the “Log out due to inactivity” feature on a Mac. Please see Build Docker Images with GitLab CI, and How to disable Lock Screen on Windows 10.

  1. Protect sensitive information: Logging out of a user session helps protect sensitive information from being accessed by non-authorized users. It ensures that your open applications, documents, emails, etc remain private and secure when you’re not actively using your Mac.
  2. Data loss prevention: Leaving your Mac unattended sometimes leads to accidental data loss. This is because, someone might inadvertently modify or delete important files, emails, or documents. Logging out or locking the user session helps reduce this risk.
  3. Compliance requirements: In some firms, regulatory or compliance requirements mandate session timeouts and automatic logouts to protect sensitive information. Enabling the “Log out due to inactivity” feature helps meet these requirements and ensures adherence to security policies.
  4. Shared or Public environments: If you’re using a Mac in a shared or public environment. Enabling the “Log out due to inactivity” feature is even more crucial. It helps maintain privacy and prevents unauthorized access to your user account. This is done by protecting your personal data from being accessed or tampered with by others.

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How to set log out due to inactivity

On your Mac, choose the Apple menu and then select System Settings. Next, click on Privacy & Security.

Mac System Preference Access

You would notice the Advanced button is greyed out. Please click on the Lock to make changes on your PC. You will be required to authenticate by entering your administrative password. Next, you will have to select Unlock.

Authenticate to access ADVANCED settings

Click Advanced at the bottom.

Advanced Acess on Mac

Check the box for Log out after [X] minutes of inactivity and enter the number of minutes in the box. By default, 10 minutes is set but not enabled. I will reduce this from 10 to 5 in my case. This will help balances security and convenience based on my individual needs (preferences).

Enable log out after certain Time

Click OK and do not forget to click on the padlock to re-lock your settings.


By enabling the “Log out due to inactivity” feature on your Mac. You will be enhancing the overall security of your macOS. This will help protect your data from unauthorized access and promote good security practices. It is recommended to set an appropriate idle time threshold that balances convenience with security, based on your individual needs and preferences.

I hope you found this blog post helpful on how to Automatically Log Out After a Period of Inactivity on Mac. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any questions.

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