OS X Mavericks: 7 tips for the travelling Mac

If you're travelling with your Mac please follow these selected tips to help you stay safe while on the road.

OS X Mavericks: 7 tips for the travelling Mac

Find My Mac

Before you travel be sure to switch Apple's Find My Mac feature on. Just like Find My iPhone, Find My Mac uses iCloud to help you track down a lost or stolen machine.

To turn it on, launch System Preferences>iCloud and check Find My Mac at the bottom of the list. Then launch System Preferences>Security & Privacy>Location Services and tick "Enable Location Services".

If your Mac is lost or stolen just visit www.icloud.com/find on another computer, or use the Find My iPhone app on an iOS device. If the Mac is connected to Wi-Fi and not asleep you will see it on the map. You request it play a sound, lock the Mac or erase it completely if it goes online. You can invoke the latter actions even if your Mac isn’t online -- they will execute the next time it is.

To learn when your Mac next goes online, tick Notify Me When Found.

More information on this here.

Password control

If you don't use passwords to control user accounts (and you should) then take pains to ensure all user accounts have passwords and disable automatic login.

System Preferences>Users&Groups controls these sertings.

Switch off automatic log in in the Users&Groups pane by clicking Login Options and ensuring Automatic login is switched off in the next pane.

Change login passwords in Mavericks by consecutively selecting each user account on your Mac and clicking the "Change Password…" button in the Password pane. Enter your old password (if you have one), your new password and create a password hint. Once you've done this select Change Password and repeat the process on other accounts.

Another smart step is to enable System Preferences>Security&Privacy>General, "Require Password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins".

More info.

Check your Sharing

Navigate to System Preferences>Sharing> and turn off File Sharing. This will stop anyone gaining access to your files. If you need to share files then change the File Sharing permission from Everyone to No Access. This still allows people who know your password and user name to access your files, but stops anyone else.

You should disable any unused sharing options in the Sharing pane by ensuring the relevant checkboxes are unticked.

Media privatization

To prevent other people accessing your iPhoto or iTunes collections while you travel:

iPhoto: In iPhoto navigate to Preferences, select the Sharing tab and ensure Share My iPhotos is unchecked.

iTunes: In iTunes, select the Sharing tab in Preferences and ensure Share My Library On My Local Network is unchecked.

You can continue to share from both apps by enabling Share My… , but selecting the Require Password option in the pane. Give others your access details to let them access your files.

File to ignore

On the road you may occasionally see other people's Macs show up in the Shared sidebar in the Finder, while other people's media libraries may be visible in iPhoto or iTunes. Don't worry about this -- you might be able to see them but they can't see you unless you have Sharing enabled.

Creative cloud

When you travel it makes sense to use Dropbox (or another online service) to store all your important files and folders. If you lose your Mac you needn't lose your data.

Also before you travel take a moment to add your Mac to your insurance manifest and take a note of your Mac's serial number, visible in About This Mac>More Info.

Have a great trip!

Mavericks Tips and Tricks

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