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How to protect the privacy of the Mac

Set up a new computer that is quite arduous, especially if you do it with a keen eyeprotect the privacy of the Mac. This is also interesting Mac, which, as they were designed, tend to hide all those settings that may not be of interest to the end user. If you purchased a new Mac or installed a new version of OS X, this is the right time to check the settings for improve Mac security and data privacy.

You too who are reading this article will need to protect your private data. When you are working with sensitive files, images and passwords, you would like to make sure that other people cannot easily access them. Despite this, with a Mac, even the most basic information, such as messages exchanged via iMessage, can be read easily if we are not careful. For many of us, this can be an urgent problem to protect the privacy of the Mac. Fortunately, OS X is highly configurable to guarantee data protection, search results and much more.

Protect Mac privacy: Check System Preferences

By default, OS X is very simple to use and immediately ready for use. This is great, but your private data can be accessed by anyone who even uses your Mac for a moment, so you feel the need to protect the privacy of your Mac.

Most of the actions that can be performed in OS X have been designed to be very intuitive and simple to use. But this means that anyone sitting in front of your Mac can accidentally access files that you would like to keep them inaccessible to most. I show you some general settings that you could check to get started protect the private Mac.

  • Check the privacy system preferences: OS X integrates a highly customizable privacy control panel. To access it, just go to System Preferences -> Security and Privacy and select the tab Privacy. On this page you can set which apps have access to your location, iCloud data, and which ones can access system files (these apps are listed under the heading accessibility). If you want certain apps to not access your sensitive data, you can simply disable them from this configuration page.

protect the privacy of the Mac

  • Enable FileVault: the latest versions of OS X integrate a called data crackling system FileVault. When you enable this feature, you need the password you use to log in to the Mac or a recovery key to access the data on your computer. Go to System Preferences -> Security and Privacy and select the tab FileVault. Activate the option and the entire disk of your Mac will be encrypted. This does not mean that when you normally use your Mac to access your documents you will need to enter a password in order to open them, but if someone were to steal your computer and try to read the data directly from your disk bypassing the operating system, without the login password could not read any data. Activation of an encryption system such as FileVault it also involves the loss of all your data if you forget your login password, so be careful.

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  • Do not use the Keychain: the OS X keychain a system for saving your passwords. You will certainly have also used it unintentionally to store your login information when you use Safari to browse. Although it is very convenient as a system, my advice if you want to protect the privacy of not using it, because anyone with access to your Mac can browse the internet and use your data to log in to your name. Alternatively, use a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password (which you can find on Mac App Store) that require a master password before showing all your login data.
  • Manage iCloud settings: iCloud a very useful solution to integrate your Mac with iOS devices. iCloud sync all your photos, files and more between your devices. If you have an iPhone and / or iPad and have iCloud sync enabled and use a Mac shared with other people, if you want to protect your privacy I suggest you completely disable iCloud, so as not to allow other users to see your sensitive data . To deactivate it, go to System Preferences -> iCloud and click on the button Go out. This action will stop the synchronization of all your data on iCloud, which will still be accessible if you connect to the site www.icloud.com.

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  • Disable iMessage and FaceTime: Continuity was a great novelty introduced with OS X Yosemite. From your Mac you can send and receive calls and text messages, which are synchronized with your iPhone. A potential problem can show up when someone else is using your computer and you get a message that you don't want other people to see it because it maybe contains sensitive data. In addition to displaying the notification banner with the text of the message, those who use your Mac can also read the entire conversation and reply in your place. To avoid this problem and protect privacy, you can disable the synchronization of messages with the iPhone by opening the app Messages -> Preferences and logging out of your iCloud account. You can do the same with the app Facetime.

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  • Disable web search from Spotlight: to work, Spotlight needs to send your research data to Google, Apple is Bing. Every time you search through Spotlighttherefore, Apple collects all your data. Although Apple itself has stated several times that all data collected is anonymous, you may still prefer to disable this collection. This involves deactivating the web search from Spotlight. To do this, go in System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Search results and deselect the items Web searches with Bing is Spotlight suggestions.

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  • Hide your files from Spotlight: continuing to talk about Spotlight, you can decide which files can be searched (and therefore shown) by this powerful tool. If someone is using your Mac, they can activate Spotlight and search for all types of files on your Mac. This is great if you yourself are looking for something you can't remember where you placed it, but potentially risky if used by others. Fortunately, you can customize what Spotlight can show. To do this, go in System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Search results and disable the types of files you want are no longer shown. You can also select the tab Privacy to add files and folders you wish would not be indexed and shown by Spotlight.

After completing all these configurations to protect the privacy of the Mac, the computer became more secure. You will have lost some features that make using OS X convenient, but at least you have hidden your private data from prying eyes.

Protect Mac privacy: Apps and data

OS X does not protect your data from the apps you download, so to protect your privacy you will need to do it manually. Apple tries to make sure you don't install malicious apps downloaded from unsafe sites, and thought of integrating a tool in OS X that blocks the installation of unsigned apps. You can still go beyond these security measures, and once an app is installed that Apple says is not safe, OS X assumes that you know what you are doing. Be aware of online privacy a big step in understanding what you are doing with your computer, but you need to take another step.

  • Use a VPN:Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) help you protect your privacy. Configuring a VPN ensures that all your web traffic is encrypted, which is important if you are using your MacBook for example by connecting to a public network.
  • Allow only the installation of approved apps: Internet full of billions of apps and some of them could contain malware, spyware or other malicious code. Apple offers a feature that allows you to install only trusted apps that have been submitted, checked and added to Mac App Store or that are signed with a signature recognized by Apple. You can also disable this feature and install all the apps you find on the web, even those that are not signed, but better leave it active. You can verify that this protection is active by going to System Preferences -> Security and Privacy and selecting the tab General. You will see a call section Allow apps downloaded from:. Make sure the option is selected Mac App Store if you want to install only the apps downloaded from the Mac App Store. Or,Mac App Store and identified developers to allow also the installation of apps downloaded from the web but deemed safe by Apple.

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Of course, this is the least you can do to protect the privacy of the Mac with an eye on the activities you do on the web. Another suggestion could be to stay away from Google as a search engine and use alternative but equally valid solutions as DuckDuckGo, which helps you browse the web by doing research while safeguarding your privacy.

Block access to the Mac

Blocking access to data on the Mac is only part of your battle for conquering Mac protection. Apple's most popular computers are portable, which means it's crucial to block access to these devices.

  • Enable the lock screen: go to System Preferences -> Security and Privacy and select the tab General. Activate the box Request password is Disable automatic login to make sure you are asked for your password every time you turn on your Mac.

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  • Hide your account: by default, when you are in front of your Mac's lock screen, you can see all the accounts registered on your computer. Someone could theoretically select your account and try to guess your password. If you want to add an additional level of security, you can hide the registered accounts so that you will have to enter both the username and the password when you access the lock screen. To activate this works, start the app Terminal, paste this command and hit enter:

sudo dscl. create / Users / hiddenuser IsHidden 1

  • Enable guest account: when a friend of yours asks you to use the Mac, the best solution is to give him access as a guest user. This will prevent you from accessing your apps and data. To activate the guest user go to System Preferences -> Users and Groups and click on the padlock at the bottom left. Enter your Mac password and then click on Guest User and enables the voice Allow guests to log in to this computer. If you have previously activated FileVault, guest users can only access Safari.

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We have come to the end of this article which showed you how to protect the privacy of the Mac, and now the computer will take better care of your privacy. Most of your data will be more secure. Of course, there is no configuration that allows you to make your Mac completely secure. But at least you have made your data and files more difficult to be viewed by other people.

I hope this guide to protect the privacy of the Mac will help you. If you have other tips you want to share with us, write us through the comments at the end of this article.