We all customize our computers and devices to reflect our personal preferences. On your Mac, you can even customize the desktop and the login screen. The default login screen setup is pretty basic, but you can add features and functionality to it.
Maybe you want to enter both your name and login password when you log in (instead of just your password) for additional security. You can also add a password hint and a message to the login screen. By default, you can switch users on the login screen, but you can’t sleep, restart, or shut down your Mac.
Today we’ll look at how to add these features and more to your login screen.
Changing the Login Options
Most of the login screen settings are hidden in a not-so-obvious place in System Preferences.
Go to Apple > System Preferences and click Users & Groups.
Before making changes to the login screen, you must unlock the Users & Groups preferences. Click the lock in the lower-left corner of the dialog box and enter your password when prompted (you’ll need an account with admin privileges).
Click Login Options at the bottom of the left pane. On the right, select the options you want to use on the login screen.
When you’re done making your selections, click the lock icon again to prevent further changes.
All the Login Options become grayed out except for the Show fast user switching menu as dropdown list. You can change how that displays without unlocking the options.
The following seven sections discuss each of the Login Options in more detail.
Turning On Automatic Login
If you don’t want to enter your login credentials every time you boot your Mac, you can choose to automatically log in to your account. If you’re going to be using your Mac in less secure locations, you should not turn on this option.
On the Users & Groups screen, select a user from the Automatic login dropdown list and enter that user’s password when prompted.
The next time that user logs in, the login screen will be bypassed and the system will go directly to the desktop.
Login Window Display Preferences
The Display login window as option allows you to display the login as either a List of users or Name and Password.
The default option, List of users, displays every user’s icon on the login screen. Simply click the icon for the user you want and then enter the password for that user.
The Name and Password option displays two blank fields, Name and Enter Password, and both are required to log in.
This is a bit more secure than the List of users option because you need both the name and the password to log in.
Showing the Sleep, Start, and Shut Down Buttons
By default, the Sleep, Start, and Shut Down buttons are not available on the login screen. You must log in to perform one of these actions.
However, enabling the Show the Sleep, Restart, and Shut Down buttons option adds these buttons to the bottom of the login screen.
Showing the Other Input Sources Menu
If you regularly switch between languages or keyboard formats, you can enable the Show Input menu in login window option to add the Input menu (a keyboard icon) to the upper-right corner of the login window.
This allows you to change the language or the keyboard before logging in.
Showing Password Hints
If you tend to forget your password, you can turn on Show password hints on the Users & Groups Login Options screen in the System Preferences.
To enter the text for your password hint, go to Apple > System Preferences and click Users & Groups. Make sure the user for which you want to add a password hint is selected on the left. Next, click Change Password on the right.
You must enter an Old password, a New password, and then Verify the new password. However, you don’t have to change your password. You can enter your current password as both the old and new passwords.
Enter a hint in the Password hint box that will remind you what your password is. Then, click Change Password.
After you enter the password incorrectly three times, the Password Hint automatically displays.
You can also click the question mark icon in the Enter Password field to display the Password Hint, whether you’re displaying the login window as a List of users (below) or Name and Password (above).
Adding the Fast User Switching Menu to the Menu Bar
The fast user switching menu is not shown on the login screen, but it relates to it. All user accounts on the Mac are listed in the fast user switching menu, allowing you to quickly switch to another user without logging out of the current one.
You can also access the Login Window from the fast user switching menu and the Users & Groups Preferences.
Enabling the Show fast user switching menu as option on the Users & Groups Login Options screen in the System Preferences, adds the menu to the right side of the menu bar.
If you’ve chosen to display the login window as a List of users, you’ll see an orange circle with a check mark next to any user who is currently logged in.
Enabling VoiceOver on the Login Screen
VoiceOver is the advanced screen-reading technology built into macOS Sierra. It enables visually disabled users to control their Mac using primarily a keyboard, refreshable braille display, or trackpad. A dark rectangular outline appears as the VoiceOver cursor. Use this cursor to move around the screen, select controls, and to read and edit text.
If you enable the Use VoiceOver in the login window option on the Users & Groups Login Options screen in the System Preferences, you can use VoiceOver commands to navigate and interact with items on the screen.
Adding a Custom Lock Message to Your Login Screen
You can add a custom message to the login screen. Maybe you want to add your contact information, so any hopefully honest person who finds your Mac can get in touch with you to return it. Probably a rare occurrence, but one can always hope.
Go to Apple > System Preferences and click Security & Privacy.
To add a message to the login screen, you must unlock the option. Click the lock in the lower-left corner of the dialog box and then enter the password when prompted.
First, make sure the General screen is active.
Check the Show a message when the screen is locked box and then click Set Lock Message.
Enter the message you want to display on the login screen on the popup dialog box and click OK.
When you lock your screen or the next time you boot your Mac, you’ll see your message at the bottom of the login screen above the Sleep, Restart, and Shut Down buttons (if you’ve chosen to display those buttons).
Changing Your User Profile Picture
If you’re displaying the login window as a List of users, the user profile picture displays above your name.
To change that picture, go to Apple > System Preferences and then click Users & Groups. Make sure the user for which you want to change the profile picture is selected on the left.
Next, move your mouse over the user profile picture and click edit when the word appears on the picture.
On the popup dialog box that displays, click Defaults to select a picture from Apple’s default set or click Photos to select a picture from your Photos library. Then, click the picture you want on the right and click Save.
To see the profile picture on the login screen, click Login Options and make sure List of users is selected next to Display login window as.
If you can’t change the option because it’s grayed out, click the lock at the bottom and enter your password to unlock the options.
You’ll see your newly selected profile picture on the login screen above your name.
Find Your Own Look and Feel
Experiment with these options and discover what you like on your own login screen.
What do you have on your Mac’s login screen? Have you experimented with any other ways to customize your login screen? Share your customizations with us in the comments.