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Set up users, guests, and groups on Mac

Set up users, guests, and groups on Mac

If your Mac has multiple users, you should set up an account for each person so each can personalize settings and options without affecting the others. You can let occasional users log in as guests without access to other users’ files or settings. You can also create groups. You must be an administrator of your Mac to perform these tasks.

Add a user

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  3. Enter an administrator name and password.
  4. Click the Add button below the list of users.
  5. Click the New Account pop-up menu, then choose a type of user.
  • Administrator: An administrator can add and manage other users, install apps, and change settings. The new user you create when you first set up your Mac is an administrator. Your Mac can have multiple administrators. You can create new ones, and convert standard users to administrators. Don’t set up automatic login for an administrator. If you do, someone could simply restart your Mac and gain access with administrator privileges. To keep your Mac secure, don’t share administrator names and passwords.
  • Standard: Standard users are set up by an administrator. Standard users can install apps and change their own settings, but can’t add other users or change other users’ settings.
  • Sharing Only: Sharing-only users can access shared files remotely, but can’t log in to or change settings on the computer. To give the user permission to access your shared files or screen, you may need to change settings in the File Sharing, Screen Sharing, or Remote Management pane of Sharing preferences. See Set up file sharing and Share the screen of another Mac.For more information about the options for each type of user, click the Help button in the lower-left corner of the dialog.
  1. Enter a full name for the new user. An account name is generated automatically. To use a different account name, enter it now—you can’t change it later.
  2. Enter a password for the user, then enter it again to verify. Enter a password hint to help the user remember their password.
  3. Click Create User.
  4. Depending on the type of user you create, you can also do any of the following:
  • For an administrator, select “Allow user to administer this computer.”
  • Use Sharing preferences to specify whether the user can share your files and share your screen.

For information about Apple’s privacy policy, see the Apple Privacy Policy website.

If your Mac has Touch ID, a new user can add a fingerprint after logging in to the Mac. The user can then use Touch ID to unlock the Mac and password-protected items, and purchase items from the iTunes Store, App Store, and Apple Books using their Apple ID. See Use Touch ID.

Create a group

A group allows multiple users to have the same access privileges. For example, you can grant a group specific access privileges for a folder or a file, and all members of the group have access. You can also assign a group specific access privileges for each of your shared folders.

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  3. Enter an administrator name and password.
  4. Click the Add button below the list of users.
  5. Click the New Account pop-up menu, then choose Group.
  6. Give the group a name, then click Create Group.
  7. Select each user and group you want to add to the new group.

Use Sharing preferences to specify whether the group members can share your files and share your screen.

Convert a standard user to an administrator

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  3. Enter an administrator name and password.
  4. Select a standard user or managed user in the list of users, then select “Allow user to administer this computer.”

Let occasional users log in as guests

You can let other people use your Mac temporarily as guest users without adding them as individual users.

  • Guests don’t need a password to log in.
  • Guests can’t change user or computer settings.
  • Guests can’t log in remotely when remote login is turned on in Sharing preferences.

Files created by a guest are stored in a temporary folder, but that folder and its contents are deleted when the guest logs out.

Guest access works with the Find My app to help you find your Mac if you lose it. You can locate your Mac if someone finds it, logs in as a guest, and then uses Safari to access the internet. See Set up the Find My app to locate a missing Mac.

Note: If FileVault is turned on, guests can access Safari, but can’t access your encrypted disk or create files.

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  3. Enter an administrator name and password.
  4. Select Guest User in the list of users.
  5. Select “Allow guests to log in to this computer.”
  6. If you like, select “Limit Adult Websites” to prevent the guest from accessing adult websites.
  7. To let guests use your shared folders from another computer on the network, select “Allow guest users to connect to shared folders.”

Customize the login experience

If you are an administrator, you can specify how the login window looks to all the other users.

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Users & Groups, then click Login Options.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it.
  3. Enter an administrator name and password.
  4. Click the “Automatic login” pop-up menu, then choose a user, or choose Off.If you choose a user, then whenever the Mac starts up, that user is automatically logged in. If you choose Off, then at startup the Mac opens a login window showing all the users. Automatic login takes effect the next time you restart the Mac.

Note: Automatic login allows anyone to access your Mac simply by restarting it. If automatic login is enabled, make sure your Mac doesn’t automatically log in an administrator. When FileVault is turned on, automatic login is disabled.

  1. Select the options you want. If you have any questions, click the Help button for detailed information.

To permit new users to access your shared files or screen, you may need to change settings in the File Sharing, Screen Sharing, or Remote Management pane of Sharing preferences. See Set up file sharing and Share the screen of another Mac.

To open Sharing preferences, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Sharing.

See also If you forgot your user or account name on MacChange your password, user picture, or automatic login items on MacDelete a user or group on MacCreate an Apple ID on MacApple Support article: Frequently asked questions about Apple ID


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