Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcut for locking the screen

For years I’ve been searching for a keyboard shortcut that would instantly lock my screen / desktop. I’ve seen this on Linux window managers and something like this probably exists on every major operating system.

My current workaround was to open, enable the menu bar icon in the preferences and click each time on the menu bar item -> lock screen.

I tried AppleScript, I tried Automator, I even convinced a friend that it would be necessary to write a small app for this. Recently however, somebody said that there is such a shortcut and that it exists since Mac OS 8.

This holy shortcut is:

⌃ + ⇧ + ⏏ (Control + Shift + Eject)

On Macs without an Eject key you can use the power button in the shortcut instead.

You have to enable »Require Password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins« in the System Preferences -> Security to make this truly lock your screen.

There are probably many other shortcuts in Mac OS I don’t know. If you have any hints where to get a complete list, please let me know!

High Sierra Update

With macOS 10.13 there is now a dedicated screen lock feature which can be invoked with this new shortcut:

⌃ + ⌘ + Q (Control + Command + Q)

Other Updates

  • In Mac OS X terminology this shortcut puts the display immediately to sleep.
  • A website listing this and other shortcuts can be found here

26 thoughts on "Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcut for locking the screen"

  1. Farthen says:

    Apple has a KB article on keyboard shortcuts:

    It doesn’t include Control-Shift-Eject either though. They probably forgot about it.

  2. frankderschrank says: looks promising

  3. dex says:

    You can bind a “5 Finger click” gesture with “Better Touch Tool” to lock your screen 😉

  4. kevin says:

    instead of launching the screensaver/display sleep you could also use launchbars “login window” action which sends you back to the login screen…

    there should be something similar for alfred as well

    the advantage here, this is the mac os x login screen… so, some other user could login and do some work without logging out the first user (often needed on my multiuser mac)

  5. jups42 says:

    even easier is to set an active corner. Go to System Preferences -> Exposé and choose a corner with the option “Put Display to sleep”. In addition you can select the drop down menu and hold down e.g. option key and then the corner’s option is activated when you point your mouse pointer to this corner and press the option key.
    In general, active corners are great 😉

  6. 2ba5 says:

    I love it. But it doesn’t work on MacBook Air (no ⏏ key).
    Control + Shift + Power doesn’t work either.
    Any ideas?

  7. Luke says:

    This is a great, simple way to lock your screen.

    But for a faster wake up time, and something that also works on MacBook Air, I would recommend the article at

    It also includes how to setup a quick Apple Magic Trackpad gesture to activate this, further to dex’s recommendation.

  8. Scott says:


  9. Mostafa says:

    thank you very much

  10. Antonis T says:

    I’ve been looking for a shortcut like this for ages!

    Genuinely, many thanks for posting this here!

  11. James Smith says:

    This also works just fine with OSX 10.6.8. I suspect it can even be ported to an easier key combination. I ported my screen shot combinations to the F14 and F15 keys using System Preferences/Keyboard/ShortcutKeys.

  12. Alex says:

    Thanks for short and helpful tip!

  13. n/a says:

    Except since nobody actually wants to turn on “require password immediately”, this doesn’t work at all. Apple can’t even get the basics right.

  14. angela says:

    This was very helpful! Thanks a million! :))

  15. rlc says:


  16. dude says:

    F* yeah! You’ve made my day! Have been looking for this shortcut for ages!

  17. Michal says:

    Try this little app which does the trick —

  18. Philip says:

    Of course, current Macs don’t have cd drives, and so no “Eject” key.

  19. Christoph says:

    You can use power button instead of eject.

    But I think this is still a poor solution. Better than nothing, yeah, but if I lock my computer I want to go to login and not bring up the screensaver. Sadly there seems to be no shortcut for going to the login screen.

    1. hukl says:

      I have the screen saver disabled so when I hit the shortcut the screen just goes black. I know – you want the login screen 🙂

  20. Scott says:

    You can also use the ‘Show keychain status on menu bar’ option in Keychain Access.

    CMD/Space -> “Keychain Access” -> CMD , (for preferences) -> Tick “Show keychain status on menu bar”

    A small lock will appear in the menu bar, click it and select “Lock Screen”.

  21. Thor says:

    Thank you for including a High Sierra section on a 6 year old post!

    1. hukl says:

      Its one of my most popular posts – of course it had to be updated 😉

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