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Tell If Someone Was Using Your Mac

This guide is about the How to Tell If Someone Was Using Your Mac. I will try my best so that you understand this guide very well. I hope you all like this guide How to Tell If Someone Was Using Your Mac.

While not everyone should always password protect their Mac to prevent unauthorized access, not everyone does. Sometimes people share common logins, whether it’s a roommate, sibling, spouse, or anyone else. If you’ve ever wondered if someone has used your computer while you’re away, Mac OS X is actually a pretty easy way to find out.

Find out if anyone has used your Mac on the console

This works best if you put your Mac to sleep when you’re away, because what we’re looking for are system wake-up events. If you are not sleeping while your Mac is away from your computer, start by doing so now to keep track of this wake-up information.

  • Find and open the console with Spotlight (Command + space bar)
  • Click the search bar in the upper right corner of the console and type “Wake” to sort the system logs for wake events
  • Scroll to the end of the list to find the most recent events, look in the list for a wake-up note that matches the time you think someone used the computer

First, you need to remember the time, because that alone can give you the information you are looking for. Also, read the reasons for the alarm to see how the Mac was awakened and by what method. For example, Mac laptops display “EC.LidOpen (User)” or “LID0” to indicate that the Mac has woken up by opening the display cover. All Macs display EHC or EHC2 to indicate that the Mac was awakened by touching the keyboard or trackpad. OHC or USB usually means that an external USB device or mouse was used to wake the Mac, etc. Some of the exact syntax for wake-up reasons vary depending on the OS X version, but most of the codes are similar enough to draw common conclusions.

Here are some examples of what you see on the console: 24/24/12 3:22: 26,000 PM Core: Wake Cause: EC.SleepTimer (SleepTimer) 24/12/12 15:40: 31,000 PM Core: Wake Cause : EC.LidOpen (User) 2/24/12 5:23: 40,000 PM kernel: Wake-up time: EC.SleepTimer (SleepTimer) 24/12/12 8:11: 03 000 PM kernel: Wake-up time: EC.LidOpen (User) 2/24/12 9: 05: 09 000 PM core: Wake-up time: EC.LidOpen (User) 24.2.2012 12: 32: 06.000 PM core: Wake-up time: EC.LidOpen (User) 25.2.12 . 00: 51: 44.000 AM core: Awakening cause: EHC2

Eventually, you’re looking for a date, time, or wake-up event that doesn’t match your own normal Mac use. Maybe the alarm on the trackpad (EHC2) at midnight is suspicious, or maybe it was unusual for someone to open the lid of a laptop yesterday at 3:40 p.m. Ultimately, you need to determine what is suspicious or inaccurate, but looking at system logs will give you information that is virtually guaranteed to be accurate, as most users don’t think about interfering with those logs.

Find alarm information on the command lineIf you’re more inclined to use the command line, or want to check for wake events on a remote Mac via SSH, try searching for “wake up” or “wake up cause” using the grep command with the syslog command:

syslog | grep -i “Wake up cause”

Using Syslog with grep displays exactly the same wake-up information as the console, but because it is available from the command line, it can be more powerful for advanced users.

Keep in mind that while syslog and console monitor sleep and wake information, they may not show logon attempts and failures or a screen saver wake-up. In this case, the best protection is to always remember to set password protection on your Mac and lock the screen with a password, even if you leave for a few minutes if you are in a situation where sensitive information may be compromised or accessed by others.

You can also find similar information on Windows machines, although you will need to look elsewhere.

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FAQ: How to Tell If Someone Was Using Your Mac

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Apple Devices only.
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James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.


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