Posted on 14th January 2016 by Ashley

Login Window Policy Banner for OS X

Greetings mac admins and happy new year! I first posted about this feature back in November 2012 but thought that it was worth a revisit since this is such a great little feature that many are still not aware of, despite its initial appearance being way back with the release of OS X Lion (10.7).

Every now and then I have a student on an Apple Training course that asks if something like this is possible and so I decided to start the year by updating this little number!

So what is this feature and why is it so useful?

Many institutions enforce usage policies to make clear to their users what they can and cannot do on a company computer.

Making users aware of these policies has often been provided via an email, verbally during an induction programme of a new member of staff or on printed documentation or signs.

In more recent times, MDM solutions are becoming more popular and also have ways to enforce these policies. (http://www.amsys.co.uk/tag/mdm/)

For example, schools, colleges and universities will need to make students aware of exactly what access they are entitled to on a public computer and perhaps where to correctly save their work.

With the release of OS X Lion, Apple introduced the ability to display a ‘Policy Banner’ at the Login Window of an OS X computer that requires a user to acknowledge certain conditions before proceeding. Perfect for enforcing these usage policies.

What is even better about this feature is it’s simplicity to set it up.

So, here are the documented simple steps to create a Login window policy banner for OS X Lion (or later) :

Step 1: Create a text document (using TextEdit) with the information you wish to display at the login window.

You can use either a Plain Text File (.txt), Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Rich Text Format Directory (.rtfd)

Step 2: Save this file with the exact title ‘PolicyBanner’ to your Desktop. (The document MUST be titled exactly ‘PolicyBanner’ as one word, with a capital ‘P’ and ’B’ with NO space between the 2 words).

Here’s an example of a document you could create, notice you can add images as well as text to the document, so perhaps a company logo would be a nice touch  :