How to enable automatic logon on a Mac

If you’re sure nobody else can get into your Mac or MacBook and that you’re unlikely to leave it somewhere, you can switch off that initial Mac login prompt if you want. Instead, you can have your system boot up and log you in automatically so you’re ready to go in a much shorter time.

I would suggest only doing this if you live alone or trust your partner or housemates. It is a strong security feature you’re skipping here that can leave your Mac vulnerable to snooping. If you’re confident that you don’t need to log in every time you start your Mac, here is how to automatically log in.

Automatic logon on a Mac

Windows has a similar setting where you can skip a login at boot. While logging in isn’t exactly laborious, it can shave previous seconds of your starting your computer and being able to use it. I’m surprised MacOS has this option, but it does.

  1. Select the Apple menu and System Preferences.
  2. Select Users & Groups.
  3. Select the small padlock icon in the bottom left of the Users & Groups window.
  4. Enter your Apple ID to authenticate.
  5. Select Login Options in the center of the window.
  6. Select Automatic Login and select your username.
  7. Authenticate again to record the change.

From now on, every time you boot your Mac, it will boot straight into MacOS instead of prompting you for the login. You can disable it at any time by repeating the steps above and selecting Off at Step 6. This will return your Mac to requiring a logon again.

If your username is not selectable at Step 6, it is likely that you have FileVault enabled. This requires iCloud authentication. The only way around that is to disable FileVault and try again. FileVault provides valuable security using disk encryption and if you have it enabled, I would strongly suggest leaving it that way. However, it’s your Mac to use your way, so do this to disable it:

  1. Select System Preferences and Security & Privacy.
  2. Select FileVault and the lock icon.
  3. Select Turn Off FileVault and set a local password.

Make that password the same as you login or change your login password to the new local password to enable automatic login.

Remember, if you do this and leave your computer somewhere someone can gain access to it, they will be able to log straight into it. Only make this change if you’re sure your Mac or MacBook is going to be safe.

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