“Lock Desktop” – New Mac OS X App

I’ve uploaded one of my first applications for a Mac. It’s extremely easy to use. The tool allows you to lock your desktop when you’re away from the computer and requires a password when you get back.  This is something you can run on demand, instead of waiting for a screen-saver, or logging off.  Lock Desktop 1.0 even keeps your programs running in the back. 

Download the file below.
Lock Desktop – Mac OS X

Mac OS X – Application that will “lock” desktop. This feature was available on my PC and allowed to leave my workstation and ensure that my desktop remained safe. This application runs an Automator script to lock the desktop.


54 comments on ““Lock Desktop” – New Mac OS X App

  1. C. Herrera says:

    Cool, thanks for the utility.

  2. Galley says:

    Awesome! Now all it needs is a custom icon.

  3. Jaguarz says:

    Did you know that in “Key Chain” you can enable a menu-bar LOCK icon that allows you to lock your keychain? Doing so sends your mac to the screen saver which can not be quit with out first unlocking your keychain…. (I’m not denying the usefulness of your app… er, script. I’m a stickler for not having one more piece of software on my mac when Apple built-in a desired functionality already).

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Zachery Hostens says:

    just an fyi, the screenssaver lets you do this too 😡

  5. Josh says:

    Additional FYI, you can do this exact thing by clicking on your user icon in the menu bar and selecting “Login Window…” instead of logout. It’s similar to switching users without actually switching to a different user.

  6. jX says:

    I have an external USB keyboard plugged to my Macbook Pro. Lock Desktop works great with one exception. Every time I run “Lock Desktop,” it locks the system and brings up the “Keyboard Setup Assistant” saying my keyboard is not recognized. I can ignore the Keyboard Setup Assistant by clicking out of it, but it’s just kind of a nuisance.

    Once I log back in, the system automatically recognizes the keyboard again. Do you have any suggestions?

  7. oldcola says:

    First of all thank you Chris.

    Do you people who found the script not useful considered that this is an Automator action, which may be triggered if there is a particular reason to lock the session automatically? Say a call by your mistress on iChat while your wife is around! 😉
    And you can use the same script line with Applescript.

  8. Tiger X says:

    really good 😀

  9. Patrick says:

    Vraiment excellent. A trouvé sa place dans le Dock 🙂 Merci

  10. Bob Sekac says:

    Shocked that Apple does not have a key sequence for this like Microsoft does. This is great; click on the desktop icon and away it goes. I had my screensaver set to 3 minutes etc. and that got old real quick.

  11. 185Queens says:

    You don’t need a keystroke to set the screen saver which requires a password to unlock it.

    Just set a hot corner action in the ‘Desktop and Screen Saver’ system preferences pane.

    You set the unlock screen saver with password in the ‘Security’ system preference pane.

    Then you just move your cursor to the hot corner and your screen saver is instantly activated and requires a password to unlock it. Who needs a keystroke?

  12. Tim says:

    Geez some people are dense: “Who needs a keystroke?”

    It’s not about ‘needing’ a keystroke; it’s about wanting a keystroke. I use a MacBook Pro, where the touchpad is sometimes my only option and a keystroke is much faster. Anyone who’s been a notebook user for more than a year realises the awesome speed boost of using keys over the mouse.

  13. Optikal! says:

    Given the criticism regarding the fact that this capability can readily be accessed without your Automator script, i just want to point out that this is the *only* one-click solution. I put it in my dock and all it takes is a quick chop and voila.

    But question, can key-stroke or function button be set to run this action? I’m a MBP user just like Tim and keystrokes are vastly easier than trackpad actions more often than not.

    Thanks for the app..i like it.

  14. Chris says:

    Thanks for everyone’s comments. The script is free. If you don’t like it, don’t download it. 🙂

    I found it really useful so I wanted to share. I also want a keystroke….but haven’t found a good solution, yet.

    -Chris Cook
    “Lock Desktop” developer

  15. Paul says:

    Your a kind guy, Chris, sharing this with those not capable.

    I made such a script a long time ago for the very the same reason, even tho using a trackpad is not so slow or difficult to use as some of the replies here suggest. But then again, as Tim states boldlyin his posting, we may save 1/100 second this way. Way to go Tim ;-), I guess you are the densest among the dense around here*lol

    Anyway as you say, its free and if you dont like it, dont’ download it. I downloaded it as I am way to lazy to make the automator action again. Saved me some minutes this way.

    Thanks and congratulations with your new job.

  16. Brad says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been looking for something like this for a few days. I’m a windows switcher who used WinKey + L a lot. All of the alternatives on the Mac didn’t work for me (hotcorner for screen saver is not a good solution, keychain access in menu bar, enabling fast user switching, which both put another icon in the menubar)

    Also, if you have QuickSilver installed, you can create a trigger that launches this Automator app…..now Apple + L locks my screen. Perfect!!

  17. md says:

    It may be useful for iCal.

    I was searching for something like it to set iCal to lunch a tune in iTune and then freeze everything so nobody can use my computer if i dont wake up or if i’m not in the room.

  18. Thank you, Chris. I was looking for this. 🙂


  19. Chris Allsopp says:

    Thanks Chris.

    A very handy solution. Much appreciated.

  20. Extremely useful application. Awesome work!!. Hats off to you.

  21. Very nice app Chris. I linked to your page over at my site, I hope that’s okay. If not, just shoot me an email and I”ll get rid of it.

  22. asohn says:

    Is there anything preventing this application from being set to “Open at Login” or otherwise cause a loop?

  23. Christoph says:

    Thanks for this nice Script Chris. I’m a Winows switcher, too. Very Useful.

    By the way I’m using Spark to start Lock Desktop with a shortcut. I use CTRL+ALT+Apple+L because I use Apple+L to reach the address bar in Firefox.

    Sry for my bad english…

  24. M Woody says:

    patrick, the french person, says: Really excellent. A found its place in the Dock Thanks 🙂 .

    And i agree

  25. Alvaro says:

    Great job, I was struggling with using the screensaver option as sometimes I have to leave the office real quickly and I don´t like the idea of leaving the computer unattended until the screensaver comes off.
    Also, I was a bit annoyed with having to type my password everytime I was coming back to the computer after reading a paper or a document that kept me busy for longer than the screensaver set time.

    Well done Chris.

  26. Thanks Chris, awesome tool, really appreciate it. All the best for you.

  27. Rob de Win. says:

    Chris, thanks for this user-friendly tool.
    I’ve searched for this a long time.

  28. dezaray says:

    This program rocks…i have roommates that all ways get on my computer as soon as i step away…even if it is just to go to the bathroom…so now i can lock it and no one can get on it…wooo hooo

  29. Matt says:

    This app is great! Any chance of an update that adds a universal keyboard shortcut? something like Ctrl+cmd+L ???

    Thanks again!

  30. Darryl says:

    Quicksilver with your automator script, works perfect!

  31. Jeremy says:

    QS + this = awesome. Yes, screensaver is set. Yes, I use the keychain mouse menu. Some of us key command faster than using a mouse, especially on a 30″ screen.

    Very useful, thanks.

  32. OSA says:

    Thanks Chris. Just fo me this.
    Very Convenience.

  33. Dave says:


    Thanks for sharing! If you continue development of this idea, I’d love to be able to “paste” a picture (such as a screenshot of a spreadsheet) into the program, so that instead of a blue screen, it looks like there’s some work being done. (There used to be a program that did this, but that was under system 8 — or even 7!) Thanks again!


  34. Thank you!!! Having been a Linux user for several years before switching to Mac a year ago, this is one feature I really missed. This works great. Thank you.


  35. Robert says:

    This is great! Thank you for sharing it.

  36. […] En realidad es acción de Automator comprimida en una aplicación. En primer lugar descargala aqui, es […]

  37. Chris says:

    Thanks everyone. I’ve updated the application!!

  38. Alex says:

    I must be stupid, but I’m trying to download it and it jumps to a new page that says “you must be logged in to download” but why or how does one login to download?

  39. Alex says:

    ohhh and just found this for those wanting a keystroke lock… haven’t tested it myself, called LockTight.




    I think the first one if the universal code and the secod for intel only.

  40. […] con compatibilidad SL, una nueva razón para no tener que instalar Rosetta, disponible en este vínculo. […]

  41. Nuno says:

    Very good. Many thanks

  42. Greoa says:

    Chris – thanks for this application, works great on MBP13 and Snow Leopard! Any chance to implement hot key activation in the near future?

  43. Waldo says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of this action for some time. I was looking for the same solution as many, wanting a Mac equivalent to [Win] + L to lock the desktop.

    While I’ve been using this in conjunction with Quicksilver since Tiger, I’ve noticed that under Snow Leopard it is MUCH slower. I’d read somewhere that Automator scripts that slow down under Snow Leopard should speed back up if rebuilt under Snow Leopard’s Automator.
    Could you provide the applescript text or the steps to generate the Automator workflow?

    Many Thanks,

  44. Hello there, just browsing for information for my Quiksilver website. Amazing the amount of information on the web. Wasn’t what I was looking for, but cool site. Have a great day.

  45. Aditya says:

    I like the utility, but the wireless connection is lost when I activate Lock Screen. I have to log back again when I log in.

    Any way to get around that?

  46. BubbaX says:

    Perfect for what I needed, ignore all the people who tell you other options exist or that blah, blah. This is a simple one-click solution and works exactly that way it should. Thanks!

  47. niko says:

    Bella, ma come si fa il download ??

  48. Adam says:

    This is a great little gadget, thanks!

  49. […] nach elegantere Lösung bietet das Tool „Lock Desktop„. Jenes Programm kann gratis hier heruntergeladen werden. Nachdem es mit einem gängigen Zip-Tool entpackt ist, kann man es an einen […]

  50. Macaw says:

    Alex – August 15, 2009 at 4:08 pm — This for those wanting a keystroke lock… haven’t tested it myself, called LockTight.

    REPLY – it has a ppc version & Snow-Leopard Version; any other Intel can go whistle. There is a similar app to Chris’ called MacLoc. Neither have keystroke. Quicksilver can add on a key- stroke but QS may generate a 108010 error to the point you have to abandon QS. Screensaver isn’t as secure as Log In Screen & my Mac has an odd error that everyhting shuts down behind a screensaver. So for me Log In Screen is only way to go but truly miss keystroke. Advantage of keystroke is its super easy to invoke even when being called awat from comp & unable to look at screen to use any cursor-orientated solutions.

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