How to View the Login History on a Mac

Method 1: Console App (Most Comprehensive)

  • Open Console App: Go to Applications –> Utilities –>
  • Sidebar: In the sidebar, expand the “Logs” section.
  • Relevant Logs: Look for logs named:
    /var/log/system.log: Contains a mixture of system events, including logins.
    /var/log/secure.log: More focused on security related events, including authentication logs.
    /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports: Will contain crash reports related to login issues.
  • Filtering: Use the Console app’s search bar and filter options to narrow down log entries. Look for keywords like “login” “logout”, “authentication” or usernames.

Method 2: *last* Command (Terminal)

  • Open Terminal: Go to Applications –> Utilities –> Terminal.
  • Execute Command: Type the command *last* and press Enter.
  • Login List: This will show a list of recent logins, including usernames, where they logged in from (locally or remotely) and timestamps.

Method 3: System Information (Basic Overview)

  • Apple Menu: Click the Apple icon in the top left.
  • About This Mac: Select “About This Mac”.
  • System Report: Click the “System Report” button.
  • Software Section: Navigate to the “Software” section and then select “Logs”.
  • Limited Logs: You might find some login related entries in the displayed logs here for troubleshooting

Other Things

  • Log Rotation: Mac systems rotate log files so they don’t grow too large. You might only be able to see login history for a limited period.
  • Complexity: Console app logs can be detailed. You might need to refine searches to find the specific login events you’re looking for.

Beyond Logins: Other Ways to Track Activity

Screen Time: (System Preferences –> Screen Time) Tracks application usage and provides a general overview of activity.

Third Party Apps: Parental control or activity monitoring software can offer more in depth usage reporting.

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