How To Tell If Your Mac Has Been Remotely Accessed

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If you feel like someone else is using your MacBook, you might not be totally wrong. MacBooks are easy to access remotely, especially if you have that setting switched on. 

This may sound scary, but hackers aren’t the only ones who are trying to access your device. It could just be a family member or friend that you trust. 

If your device starts acting suspicious, slow, and has new apps or websites, these are signs that someone has accessed remotely your Mac and is actively using it. 

This could be potentially dangerous. So, we’ve created an extensive guide on how to tell if your mac operating system has been remotely accessed and how to stop it. 

Let’s get to it!

How To Tell If Your Mac Has Been Remotely Accessed

Start by checking your camera to see if the light is on. Next, check for suspicious activity such as deleted files, additional files, etc. 

These are a few of the many methods you can try to see if someone is remotely accessing your Mac operating system.

Apart from these, make sure the Remote Login option is not enabled on your Mac. To understand all of these in-depth, keep reading below.

How To Tell If Your Mac Has Been Remotely Accessed (Methods)

1. Check For Remote Login

Remote Login is the first and foremost aspect that you need to check to determine if someone has been accessing your Mac.

This feature allows others to connect to your Mac remotely and access files, run programs, and perform other tasks.

However, if you see that the remote login has been accessed without your knowledge, it might not be a good sign. Follow the steps below to check.

Step 1: Go to the Apple menu on the top-left of your desktop.

Step 2: Choose System Settings.

Step 3: Choose General and select Sharing.

Check For Remote Login

Step 4: Check if Remote Login is toggled On.

By checking for Remote Login, you can ensure that no one is accessing your Mac remotely without your knowledge or consent. It’s a quick and easy step to take to protect your privacy and security.

2. Check Recent Logins

The recent logins list might help you determine who all have recently tried accessing your system. You can follow the steps below to check the recent logins made on your system.

Step 1: Open Spotlight using Command + Spacebar on your keyboard.

Step 2: Now, type Terminal and open the application.

Step 3: Type the following command and press Enter: 


This will display a list of recent logins, including the username, date, and time of each login.

If you see a login that you don’t recognize, it could be a sign that someone has accessed your Mac remotely. The last command is the easiest way to check both local and remote logins made on your system.

3. Check For Suspicious Activity

Your MacBook might start behaving suspiciously if it is being accessed by hackers. They are not completely untraceable, so you just need to watch out for the telltale signs that someone is using your device. 

1. Pop-Up Windows- If you suddenly see an unexpected pop-up window on your screen or any dialog box that might not seem familiar, it could be a sign of malware or a remote desktop access tool running on your system.

2. System Logs: You can also go through your system logs and check any suspicious activity or failed login attempts made to your system.

3. Unusual Network Activity- If you’ve noticed a large amount of data being sent or received, then it’s a sign that someone has remotely accessed your Mac. 

4. Run Antivirus Scans

If nothing seems to be working, then it is best to run an antivirus scan on your system. 

Step 1: Launch the anti-virus software program and follow the prompts to run a full system scan.

Step 2: If you find any defects, follow the process to remove these malware or viruses.

Once all of this is done, don’t forget to restart the system. A good antivirus can keep all your personal info safe at all times and protect you from anyone accessing your system remotely.

How To Stop Someone From Accessing Your Mac Remotely

Now that we have seen different ways you can check to see if your system has been remotely accessed, we need to learn how to stop it. 

1. Turn off Remote Management

The first thing you need to do is turn off the remote management. This means that no one will be able to access your device from another one again. Let us look at the steps below.

Step 1: Go to the Apple menu on the top-left corner of the screen.

Step 2: Now, choose System Settings.

Step 3: Open General and select Sharing.

Turn off Remote Management

Step 4: Toggle Off Remote Management.

Once you do this, no one will be able to access your system through Screen Sharing or other methods. 

2. Disable Remote Login

Remote Login allows hackers to log in to your system using SSH (Secure Shell). You can follow a similar set of steps to stop mac users from logging in to your Mac.

Step 1: Go to the Apple menu on the top-left corner of the screen.

Step 2: Now, choose System Settings.

Step 3: Open General and select Sharing.

Step 4: Toggle off remote login access.

Once you have switched it off, you can also check if anyone has tried accessing your system by clicking on the i icon beside the name.

3. Enable Firewall

Firewall is an excellent way to protect your system from anyone who might be trying to gain access to your system while you are trying to connect to the internet or any network. Here is how you can enable it.

Step 1: Open System Settings from the Apple menu.

Step 2: Then, go to Network from the side menu list.

Step 3: Choose Firewall.

Enable Firewall

Step 4: Now, enable the Firewall button on the screen.

After you enable it, you can go to Options below and add apps or software that you do not want the Firewall for. The same can be done to remove certain software from that list and make personalized choices.

4. Use Strong Passwords

Once you know that your device has been remotely accessed, it is best to change all your passwords. Make sure you update it to a strong one, so that nobody can guess it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I tell if my Mac has been hacked?

Yes, you can tell if your Mac has been hacked by simply checking the Activity Monitor. If you notice any unusual activity, that’s a sign. You can also check out the list of recent logn attempts made on your Mac. These should tell you if your Mac has been hacked.

Can a Mac be remotely accessed?

Yes, your Mac can be remotely accessed. For this, you must enable the Remote Login option from System Settings. You can now remotely access your Mac using any tool or sharing software. But be careful since now, others can also do the same. 


Discovering that your Mac has been remotely accessed can be scary, especially if you notice that they are making changes to your device and data. 

We’ve listed all the ways you can check to see if your Mac has been remotely accessed and how to stop someone from doing so.

The instructions aren’t too complicated to follow, so you should be able to protect your device, data and settings without much trouble. 

Let us know if you have had an experience like this and what you did to tackle it, in the comments section.

About Andrew Gilmore
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Based in Norman, Oklahoma, Andrew is an ex-certified Apple technician with over fifteen years of experience in the IT world specializing in macOS and iOS. When he's not writing, he enjoys video games, reading, and really bad movies.

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  • Mike

    a VPN would also be key, correct?

    • Andrew Gilmore

      Thanks for the comment Mike.

      A virtual private network (VPN) won’t do much for helping you detect if your Mac has been hacked, but it can definitely be advantageous for computing security, especially if you are using your MacBook Pro on a public network.

      Establishing a VPN connection will create a secure tunnel to prevent snooping by others on your same local network.

  • Cookie

    I have a TBI I have so many problems. Lots of logs that say good nite Gracie, also warning client. I hv lots of problems so your article helped but I want to go off grid bc I can’t do this anymore,
    They hv taken money, put a lien on my home.
    Now we got a tax fraud in the mail..thank you for doing what you do. Good deeds do come around.