You’ve probably customized a lot of things on your Mac, like the menu bar, Dock, and other elements. But did you know that macOS can also customize your login screen?
Maybe you want to ask for a username and password when logging in for added security. Or maybe you often forget your password and want to display a hint. Or start your day with one of your favorite phrases? No problem, all of the above you can add to your login screen.
Next, let’s take a look at how we can easily change the login screen on Mac with various methods.
Change Your Mac Login Screen
In general, most of the settings for the sign-in screen are in your system preferences. These settings allow you to make adjustments such as enabling automatic login, displaying a list of users, showing control buttons, opening VoiceOver, and much more. To get started, click the Apple menu, then click System Preferences in the menu bar and select Users and Groups.
Before you make changes to the sign-in screen, you may need to unlock Users’ and groups’ preferences. If so, tap the lock icon in the lower-left corner of the window, enter the password when prompted, and tap Unlock.
Mac Login Screen Settings
Now, click on the login option at the bottom of the left pane. On the right side of the results page, select the option you want to use on the sign-in screen from the options below.
1. Automatic login: This feature lets you head directly to the desktop when you start your Mac, rather than having to enter your credentials first. Turn on automatic login and enter the user’s account name and password to enable it. It’s convenient if you’re the only user of your Mac and always keep the computer in a safe location. If you have FileVault turned on, automatic login is disabled by default.
2. Display login window as: You can choose from List of users and Name and password. The former lets you pick your username and then enter your password, while the latter requires you to enter both. If you’re concerned about security, choose Name and password, since it requires you to know both the username and password.
3. Show the Sleep, Restart, and Shut Down buttons: Check this box to display these controls on the login screen.
4. Show Input menu in login window: Enabling the Input menu lets the user pick the language to use on the Mac before logging in. This is helpful if you regularly switch between languages or keyboard formats.
5. Show password hints: You can enable the display of password hints when you click the question mark or enter the password incorrectly three times in a row. To add or change a password hint, click a user on the left and select Password. Next, hit the Change Password button. Enter your old password, along with a new one, and confirm. Then add your password hint at the bottom and click Change Password.
6. Show fast user switching menu as: This option lets you switch between users quickly from your Mac menu bar. You can choose to display full names, account names, or an icon. When you’re done making your selections, click the lock button again to prevent further changes.
Enable Accessibility Options on the Login Screen
VoiceOver, Zoom, Sticky Keys, and additional accessibility options are also available on the login screen. Click the Accessibility Options button and then check the relevant boxes for the items you want to display.
When you turn on any of these accessibility features, your settings will apply to every user on the login screen. Turning off a feature will disable it for all users on the screen as well.
How to add a custom message to the sign-in screen
To add a message to the login screen, open the Apple menu, click System Preferences from the menu bar, and select Security & Privacy.
If necessary, click the Lock button and enter the password to change it. Then follow these simple steps:
1. Click the General tab.
2. Check the box for Show a message when the screen is locked box and then click Set Lock Message.
3. Enter the message you want to display on the login screen in the popup dialog box, then click ok.
The next time you lock your screen or start up your Mac, you’ll see your message at the bottom of the login screen.
How to change your profile picture
As mentioned earlier, if you use the sign-in screen with a list of users, a picture of the user profile appears above the user name. You can easily change your profile picture if you wish.
To change the picture, open the Apple menu, click System Preferences, and select Users and Groups. Now, do the following:
1. Select your user profile on the left.
2. Move your cursor over the profile picture and click Edit when it appears.
3. In the popup window, select the location of the image you would like to use or pick a Camera to snap one with your Mac’s camera. In macOS Monterey and later, you also have the option to use an Emoji or animated Memoji.
4. Optionally, use the zoom slider to adjust the photo.
5. Click Save.
How to sign in with the Apple Watch
While technically not a login screen “customization,” there is another way to log into your Mac besides the automatic login or name and password options we’ve mentioned. If you own an Apple Watch, you can log in to your Mac with it too.
To enable the feature, open the Apple menu and click System Preferences, then choose Security & Privacy. Now walk through these steps:
1. Select the General tab.
2. Check the box for Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac. (If your Apple Watch is running watchOS 5 or earlier, the box will have the label Use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac instead.)
3. Enter your Mac user password if prompted.
Once you enable this feature and log in to your Mac’s login screen while wearing your Apple Watch, you’ll see a short message on the screen showing that you’ve unlocked it with your Apple Watch.
Fill your Mac with personality
You can experiment with any or all of these options to discover what you like best on your Mac login screen. And since the features are so easy to change, you can adjust them whenever you like.