How To Set A Time Limit On Computer Use On A Mac

Budgeting time for technology use can be helpful in the classroom and at home. If you have a Mac (any version of OS X), then there’s a simple built-in feature that you should know about.

Essentially, it limits the amount of time a user can spend using the computer before it shuts down or goes to sleep (requiring a password to restart or wake up).

It’s a useful tip that any connected educator or parent should know about.f you haven’t done so yet, you will need to create a new user account on the Mac, this can be done quickly through the Users and Groups control panel. Assuming you have the new account created:

First off, make sure you’re the admin of the computer.


Now, head over to the main System Preferences menu in the Apple menu.

mac time limits

Select ‘Parental Controls


Click the lock icon in the bottom left corner to unlock the control panel. This lets you then punch in your admin password.

mac time limits

Choose the user account you want to limit and then select the appropriate time limits on the left.


Now you should select the ‘Time Limits‘ tab.

mac time limits

Here you’ll want to check boxes, move sliders, and generally get it how you like.

mac time limits


Now you can just close the window and you’re all set!

1 Comment

  1. Ryan

    December 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    There is a known bug with this. If you input both “bedtime” and “weekday time limits” it won’t don’t either. This is only occasionally and Apple says it is fixing it.