Set up a Keystroke to Lock Your Mac With BetterTouchTool

Lock mac with bettertouchtool

If you come from the Windows world to a Mac, you may be surprised to find that there is no readily apparent way to lock your Mac if you step away from it. There are some ways to do this, such as forcing your Mac to the screensaver and requiring the password to unlock the screensaver. The quickest method I’ve found, though, is by using previously discussed BetterTouchTool.

I searched long and hard for a way to easily lock my Mac. For a time, I was using an app called LockTight, which let me set a keystroke to lock my screen. When I switched from Alfred to LaunchBar, though, this stopped working. I recently discovered how easy it is to set this up with BetterTouchTool, which I was already using anyway.


To get started, open the BetterTouchTool preferences, select the “Keyboard” tab above the main window, and select “Global” in the left column. Then click the “Add new keyboard shortcut” button below the main window, enter your shortcut in the box below it to the left, and select “Switch to Login Screen” in the “Predefined Action” dropdown menu on the right. I set my shortcut to CTRL-OPTION-COMMAND-L. Now, whenever I step away from my machine, I can quickly use that key combination to lock my Mac.

BetterTouchTool is free from the developer’s site. He also offers a paid app, BetterSnapTool. How do you lock your Mac?


Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. Just a note, Ctrl+Shift+Eject locks the screen, no configuration required.

    • Hmm. Not sure why, but on my system that sleeps the screen, but any keystroke wakes it up without needing a password. I know I could set my screensaver to require a password on awakening, but I turned that off.

  2. @Eytan

    Shorter than Evan’s example too!

  3. I love keystrokes. Some of my favourites….

    Sleep immediately (no confirmation)

    Restart immediately (no confirmation)

    Show Dialog with Restart, Sleep & Shutdown
    Options Ctrl-Eject

    Shutdown immediately (no confirmation)

  4. Jason Christoher Henry

    These are some wonderful tips. I’ll definitely use them for my mac.

    Thanks for sharing.


  5. Great tip, although I use sleep display which does exactly what I want.


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