I'm looking to create a macOS UI that lists some information about an item. If the user has sufficient permissions (i.e. is an Admin), they should be able to turn this read-only info UI into a read-write one.

The first thought was, of course, to make it a window/panel with a button that says "Edit". Upon clicking that button, all deactivated controls would be activated and the user would be able to edit the form.

Then I remembered that, around the system's UI, there are little locks like this, which do essentially what I'm trying to do:

Two windows, on the left the System Preferences' Users & Groups pane, on the right the Get Info pane for a file. The left has a modestly-sized orange padlock icon with the text "Click the lock to make changes." The right has a small orange lock with no text.

Is this a good UI for this? Is there a better one that I'm not thinking of? A pencil in the title bar or something? I would love any thoughts 😁

  • 1
    The lock indicates they will have to authenticate to be able to edit. “Edit” indicates they are able to edit without any further authentication.
    – Dwev
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


Contacts in MacOS uses an Edit button. Functionally the same as the lock icon, but it's more friendly, without the focus on security.

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