askForPassword and askForPasswordDelay in macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)

Update: Apparently 10.13.4 just breaks this completely (defaults write commands won't do anything any more). Thanks to tristan on the MacAdmins Slack for pointing this out.

In macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and earlier, you could go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General > Require password ________ after sleep or screen saver begins, and that would populate the askForPassword and askForPasswordDelay keys in ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver.plist for the user.

In macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), setting that preference in the GUI will not make it appear in the relevant .plist file. However, setting the preference with

defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPassword -bool TRUE
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPasswordDelay -int somenumber
will make the change reflect in the GUI, and setting a .mobileconfig profile will also override what's set in the GUI.

Oddly enough, Apple's own documentation makes it sound as if those two keys exist only in 10.13 and later:

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2 Comments

  1. After fighting for weeks trying to get this to work on 10.14, Your post with the picture finally gave me the answer. This is a device only setting. I was trying to push it with a device group. Now it seems to be working. Thank you.

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