Macs Are So Easy To Use

I’m still struggling with my mac, but I am getting better.  Nonetheless, this week’s UI episode was so comical I decided to post it.

The Task:  By default, the screen saver locks me out of my Mac every 5 minutes!  Make it not timeout for 15-30 minutes and not force the immediate password.  This shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Step #1:  Go to the System Preferences, click on “Desktop and Screen Saver”, and move the slider from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.  Great!  Hey, they even let me choose from a bunch of cute screen saver options!  Nice.

Disappointment #1:  It didn’t work!  My machine still locks me out after 5 minutes.

At this point, it took me days before realizing that it was probably the Mac equivalent of power-saving mode causing the problem.  If I weren’t a techie, I never would have thought of this.  But hey, no problem, I can fix that…

Step #2: Go to the System Preferences again, and find the “Energy Saver”!  Great!  Sure enough, the defaults are too low.  Extend them out.  Nice.  Now I must be all done.

Disappointment #2:  OK – it partially worked, but shoot, it’s still prompting me for my password all the time.  How do I fix that?

I spent a lot of time combing through both the screen saver and also the energy saver panels.  But I couldn’t find where they have an option to not force password prompting.  Searching through other panels didn’t discover anything either.

Finally, Google solved the problem.

Step #3: Go to the System Preferences “Security” tab, with “Require password [immediately] after sleep or screen saver begins.”  Change that value.

Alas, 3 days, 3 control panels, and 1 Google search later, I no longer have my Mac locking me out all the time.  Score one up for Apple’s mastery of User Interface design!  Hope this helps someone else someday too.