Bringing back Control-Alt-Delete for locking your screen on OSX
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lockscreen 1.0

UPDATE 2016-01-28 - This project compiles and runs as of 10.11 SDK and 64bit El Capitan.

UPDATE 2013-06-22 - Was able to successfully compile the project using 10.8 SDK on a 64 bit Mountain Lion box

We still got mojo! Wow this font is big!

Abstract provides a global-hotkey listener for the Control-Alt-Delete key-chord historically known as 'The three finger salute'. Upon detecting the key-chord, will start the screen saver regardless of what application you're in.

The reason for this app is simple - there's no 'quick' way to lock your screen if you're in a hurry - the available solutions are lacking. With OSX's built-in Hot Corners, about 50% of the time the act of getting up from my desk will jostle the mouse enough to bounce it back out of the hot corner resulting in the screen not locking.


Control-Alt-Delete was used to send a soft-reboot command to the operating system, with Windows NT they instead used this signal to bring up the Shutdown menu, which if you hit Enter would automatically lock your screen, I got used to this mechanism as it was instant and never prone to any problems.


  • "OSX doesn't have an alt button!"

    Yes it does, they call it Option, so if you want to be pedantic you could say this is really about utilizing Control-Option-Delete. If you hook up a PC keyboard, it's really the same key code as ALT.


The bulk of this code is from Apple's own documentation with a little cut/paste from random sources I ran across: I can really take credit for smooshing it all together and packaging up an app.

For the StatusMenu code:

For the hotkey example code:

Nathan Ramella