You might have a Mac that the whole family shares or just want to let a friend use it when they’re visiting. To keep your own Mac user account and all of your files and items safe, you can easily add and then switch users. Plus, you can quickly delete a Mac user account when you’re finished sharing your computer.
Here’s how to add and manage user accounts on Mac.
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Open your System Preferences
To manage user accounts on your Mac, open System Preferences from your Dock or click Apple icon > System Preferences from your menu bar.
Select Users & Groups, click the lock button on the bottom, and enter your password. Then follow one or more of the sets of steps below to add, delete, or switch users.
Know the user account types
When you begin the process of adding a new user on your Mac, you’ll need to know the type of account to set up. Here’s a summary of the types of user accounts on Mac.
- Administrator is likely the type of account you have as the Mac owner. Administrators have complete privileges to install apps, change system settings, and manage user accounts.
- Standard users can install apps and change their own settings, but not manage other users.
- Manage with Parental Controls is the type you’d normally use for children who can only access specific items per the Parental Controls you set up.
- Sharing Only accounts are useful for shared files or remote screen-sharing. These users cannot log into your Mac or change any settings. Note: You may need to adjust your sharing and remote management options to use this type of account.
- Group user accounts let multiple users access the same items and have the same privileges.
How to add a user on Mac
Adding a new user on your Mac takes just a few clicks and is easy with the following steps. This is the way to go if they will be using the Mac regularly, like others in your household.
- On the left, click the plus sign to add a new user.
- Select the New Account type (described above) from the drop-down box.
- Enter all of the information for the new user and click Create User when you finish.
If you would like to give the new user a specific photo, click on the current one next to the user’s name. Select a photo or snap a new one with your Mac’s camera and click Save.
If you’re finished adding new users, you can click the lock button to prevent further changes and then close the Users & Groups window.
How to add a guest user on Mac
If you want to allow a guest user on your Mac, this is also simple. Guest user accounts can be used when someone uses your Mac temporarily, such as a friend who is visiting. This type of user account does not require a password to log in.
- On the left of the Users & Groups window, click Guest User.
- Mark the top checkbox to Allow guests to log in to this computer.
- Optionally, you can mark the boxes to Enable parental controls or Allow guest users to connect to shared folders. These options are completely up to you.
Once you allow guest users on your Mac, simply click the Guest User option on your Mac login screen for your pal to use your computer.
How to add a group user account on Mac
Group user accounts are handy for team project at work or group projects for school. It’s not likely you’ll use this type of account often, but here are the steps to add a group account.
- On the left, click the plus sign to add a new user.
- Select the New Account type from the drop-down box and pick Group.
- Enter all a name for the group under Full Name and click Create Group when you finish.
- Select users from the list by marking the checkboxes.
How to switch users on Mac
The quickest and easiest way to switch users on Mac is with the button in your menu bar. This is ideal when sharing your Mac with others in your home because you’ll need to switch accounts regularly.
If you don’t see your Mac user account button in the menu bar, follow these steps to add it for account switching.
- Head back to the Users & Groups area of your System Preferences. Unlock the settings and enter your password if necessary.
- Click your Admin account on the left.
- Click Login Options.
- Check the box for Show fast user switching menu as and then choose from Full Name, Account Name, or Icon in the drop-down box for how you want it displayed in the menu bar.
You should see your name, account name, or the icon appear in your menu bar. You can then lock and close the Users & Groups window.
Now when you want to switch users, click the button in your menu bar and select the user you want to switch to. Your screen will display the login option for that user to enter their password.
You can also use this button in your menu bar to display the Login Window for your guest users.
How to delete a user on Mac
If there comes a time when you’d like to delete a user account on your Mac, this is just as easy as adding one. Maybe your child got their own computer and won’t share yours anymore or perhaps you set up a user account for a friend and prefer they use a guest account now.
- On the left of the Users & Groups window, click the user account you want to remove and click the minus sign.
- Choose to save the home folder in a disk image, don’t change the home folder, or delete the home folder. Apple’s Support page goes into detail about these options.
- Click Delete User.
The user account will no longer be listed in the Users & Groups list and that person will not be able to log into your Mac.
Manage your Mac user accounts easily
Each of these sets of instructions should have you covered for whichever type of user account you want to add or delete. And as you can see, switching between those accounts takes nothing more than a click.
Are you planning to add user accounts for others on your Mac? Or maybe you plan to just use the guest user account type? Let us know your thoughts and plans in the comments below!
Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a project manager, department manager, and PMO Lead. She then decided to follow her dream and now writes about technology full-time. Sandy holds a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology.
She loves technology– specifically – terrific games and apps for iOS, software that makes your life easier, and productivity tools that you can use every day, in both work and home environments.
Her articles have regularly been featured at MakeUseOf, iDownloadBlog and many other leading tech publications.