How to Enable Activation Lock on Your Mac

If you’re concerned about losing your Mac to theft or loss, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself. One of them is using the new Activation Lock feature, available on recent iMacs, Mac Minis, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Airs. This uses a new security chip called the T2 Security Chip to let you lock and wipe your Mac remotely.

Even after wiping it, Activation Lock will prevent anyone else from using your Mac, rendering it completely useless to anyone else. To enable it, you’ll need macOS Catalina, have two-factor authentication enabled on your Apple ID, and set Secure Boot to the default “Full Security” setting.

What is Activation Key on Apple Mac?

Owners of Apple devices like iPhones and iPads will be familiar with the Find My app. This allows you to track your Apple devices when they are lost or stolen, locate them on a map. It also allows you to securely lock or erase your device to prevent it from being used and to prevent your data from being stolen.

The Activation Lock feature on Mac brings this security feature, previously restricted to iOS devices, to newer Apple Mac devices. It requires the T2 Security Chip to be able to lock and securely erase your Mac. Newer iMacs have this chip, as do Mac Minis and MacBooks (both Pro and Air) from 2018 onwards.

Like iPhone and iPad users, this gives you the ability to remotely control your Mac’s security into the Find My app. You can access this software online or from the Find My app on your iOS or other Mac devices.

Find my apps in Launchpad

If you want to control your Mac remotely and you have multiple macOS devices, you can do this using the Find My app. To access it, look for Find mine inside Launchersaccessible from the Dock at the bottom of your Mac screen.

Check T2 security chip and activation lock status

If you’re not sure if your Mac has a T2 Security Chip installed that allows Activation Lock to work, you can quickly check this from your Mac’s System Report.

  • To access your Mac System Report, click to enter Apple menu at the top left of the screen, then click About this Mac.
About this Mac in the Apple menu
  • inside overview in your Mac’s info dialog, click System report button.
The System Report button in the About This Mac window
  • Under Hardware in the menu on the left, click Remote controll. If you don’t see Remote controllsearch iBridge instead of. Below Model Nameyou should see Apple T2 security chip display.
Controller information in the Controller menu
  • If you have installed T2 Security Chip, check if Activation Lock is activated. To do that, click Hardware in your System Report and check Activation lock status field.
  • If this is set to Enabled, the Activation Lock is working and you don’t need to do anything. If it says Disable, you will need to follow the instructions below to enable it.
Status: Enabled in Hardware menu
  • To enable Activation Lock on your Mac, you need to set up Find My Mac. However, if you’ve changed your Secure Boot settings at any point, you’ll need to change it first.

Set Secure Boot to Fully Secure

The Activation Lock setting will only work if the Secure Boot setting on your Mac is set to Full Security. Secure Boot is another advanced setting, introduced on modern Mac hardware, that ensures that only legitimate, trusted Apple and Microsoft operating systems can boot.

  • Changing this setting requires you to boot into your macOS recovery system and access Startup Security Utility. To do that, keep Command + CHEAP keys on your keyboard as soon as the Apple logo appears during startup.
  • From there, click Utilitiesafterward Startup Security Utility. Use your macOS username and password to authenticate, then Safe bootmake sure that Full security setting is enabled.
Startup Security Utility Full Security has been selected
  • Restart your Mac as usual to continue after this point.

Turn on Find My Mac

Apple’s Find My app lets you track your Apple devices. It allows you to locate them, control and lock them remotely, and delete them if necessary.

Activation lock is at the heart of this remote protection, and it requires the Find My Mac setting to be enabled.

  • To turn on Find My Mac, click to type Apple menu in the top left, then click System Preferences.
System Preferences in the Apple menu
  • In yours System Preferencesclick Apple ID. On macOS Catalina, this entry is at the top right of the window.
Apple ID in System Preferences
  • Under yours Apple ID install, click icloud. Listed in different apps that use iCloud service, click the checkbox next to Find My Mac.
Unchecked Find My Mac icon in iCloud menu
  • macOS will prompt you to confirm whether you want to enable Find My Mac. To confirm, click Allow.
Allow Apple ID Alerts

Once enabled, you can confirm that Activation Lock is enabled by reporting it to your System Report (Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report > Hardware).

Use Find My Mac

You can use Activation Lock on your Mac using the Find My app, on other Apple devices you own, or by visiting the iCloud website.

  • Sign in to the iCloud website with the same Apple ID you use for your Mac. Click Find iPhone to access Find My Online. Despite saying iPhone, this will still work for your Mac.
iCloud website
  • You’ll need to sign in again with your Apple ID. When you’re done, click the drop-down menu in the top menu bar, then choose your Mac from the list.
Ben's MacBook Pro selected in All Devices
  • To take advantage of Activation Lock mode, click Lock up in the options menu that appears in the Find My page. You can also click Erase a Mac if your device is lost and you want to make sure your data is secure.
Ben's MacBook Pro

When either of these options are pressed, your Mac device will then initiate a remote lock or wipe.

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