Lock Your Laptop Screen: Keyboard Shortcuts to Keep Your Device Secure

I don't know who needs to hear this, but you should lock your laptop screen every time you step away.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch

Do you lock your laptop when you're not using it? 


Laptops have dozens of handy keyboard shortcuts to make your task easier. You can force apps to close, take screenshots and -- perhaps our favorite shortcut -- reopen the browser tab you didn't mean to close. 

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Remembering to lock your laptop if you step away is probably one of the most important things to remember -- whether you're back in the office or working remotely. An unlocked laptop is vulnerable. Even if you're away for just a few minutes, someone could read your messages, send an email from your account, mess with your files or steal confidential data. 

Here are the keyboard shortcuts that'll keep your laptop secure: 

Lock your MacBook screen by pressing Ctrl+Cmd+Q. This keyboard shortcut will immediately take you to the laptop's lock screen and you'll need to reenter your password to get back in. For an even faster lock, press the power button once. 

If you're using Windows, you can still lock your screen when you're away. Windows users can press Ctrl+Alt+Del and choose Lock from the list of options. You can also press the Windows key+L to lock your screen. If you're not a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you can also click the Start Menu icon, click your username and then click Lock

For more information, check out our definitive Windows 11 keyboard shortcut guide and our favorite Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Watch this: Windows 11: 4 quick ways to take a screenshot on your PC