Do you find entering the login password every time your Mac starts up boring? We have some great news: there is a cool workaround; you need only to enable one nice built-in trick in macOS.
The Good Old Days
Longtime Mac users may recall the “golden era” of Mac OS, when the system logged them in without requiring a password. A lot has changed since then, especially when it comes to internet security, and so Apple has moved forward with a multi-layer protection shield built into its desktop operating system. This includes, as the first step, the requirement for a username and password in order to access the data on the Mac.
macOS Security Now
At the startup of the computer, users running the latest macOS version are presented with the accounts that are enabled on the Mac. To access that user and the data that they have been working on or have stored on the machine, it’s necessary to input the selected account's password. This is especially useful in multi-user environments for privacy and security reasons.
However, if you are the sole user of that Mac, then having to enter in the password each and every time you start the machine can become a tedious task. Fortunately, those good old days can be restored by enabling a feature called “Automatic Login”. It isn’t recommend doing for obvious security reasons; it's not secure, because the password requirement is being eliminated and therefore anyone can make changes on your Mac without requiring the admin's permission.
Since the first (and in this case only) account of macOS is an admin user, it has root privileges, meaning this user can install and remove anything on the Mac. If you’re the one using it then it's fine, but think of the risks if the Mac ends up in the hands of an unauthorized person. As such, if you want to activate automatic login then do so with this understanding in mind.
How to Enable Automatic Login in macOS and OS X
- Launch System Preferences.
- Click on the Users & Groups panel.
- Click on the lock and enter the admin password to enable the grayed-out options.
- Click on the “Login Options”.
- Locate “Automatic login”, click on the drop-down menu, and select the username to automatically log in. By doing so, whenever the Mac starts up this user is automatically logged in. If you select “Off” then at startup the Mac opens a login window displaying all available users.
- Close the System Preferences app and reboot the computer to enjoy the automatic login feature. You will still need to log in manually after logging out, switching back from another user account, or locking your screen.
Automatic Login Grayed Out or Unavailable
There are two factors that disable the automatic login feature:
- FileVault is enabled. This means that disk encryption has disabled automatic login for security purposes, and so there is only one thing to do to enable automatic login: turn off FileVault. That means giving up added security and opening your Mac to everyone. Is this what you really want?
- You are using Apple ID as login. In this case manual login is required every time that the Mac boots. When trying to enable automatic login you might see the following message: “A user with an encrypted home folder can't log in automatically.” If you are still determined to use automatic login, then just change the account password and choose not to use an iCloud password.
Now it’s time to decide: will you drop the first shield that macOS is using just for the sake of convenience? If you do so, here is a pro tip: create a standard user and use that account for automatic login, instead of the admin account – purely for security reasons.
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