by Matt@smalldog.com and Ed@Smalldog.com

FROM MATT: If you’re working on a confidential document and someone walks into the room who shouldn’t see your screen, you can instantly turn the screen down to minimum brightness (totally dark) by pressing ctrl-shift-eject. To turn the brightness back to where it was, press any key.

This is a small time saver for those of us conserving battery power. Whenever you’re on the phone or otherwise idle at the computer, consider turning the screen off with this tip. Dimming your screen is the easiest and most effective way to increase battery life!

FROM ED: This reminds me of an older Mac Treat, about how to lock down a Mac with a secure, locking screen saver. This takes literally a second longer to activate than Matt’s awesome tip above, but the benefit is that the Mac will “require a password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver.” We do this on the Macs we use as POS cash registers at Small Dog’s retail stores.

First, this tip requires that you have set a password for your account on your Mac. This is the same password you enter when you install new software, or run the Software Update from Apple. If you don’t have a password, you should. Go to System Preferences > Accounts to set this up. DON’T do this tutorial if you don’t know your password – you’ll lock yourself out of your computer. That won’t be fun.

Once you have your password sorted out, set up a screen saver. Click on the blue Apple in the upper left hand corner of the screen and choose “System Preferences.” In System Preferences, click on “Desktop & Screen Saver.” Choose a screen saver you like. Next, to really make securing your Mac superfast, click on the button that says “Hot Corners,” and choose a hot corner. Now, whenever you put your mouse in that corner, your screen saver will activate.

After the screen saver and hot corner is selected, click on the “Show All” button at the top of the System Preferences window. Click on “Security,” and select “Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver.” Important note: this is the password you’ve assigned yourself in your Mac’s user Account – see above.

Now, when you need to step away from your computer, and you want to quickly lock it down, simply mouse into the hot corner you’ve selected for your screen saver. The screen saver will activate, and won’t turn off until you’ve entered your password!

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