When a Mac is switched on for the very first time, we’re asked to type in our name, and create a password. It’s in this process that we’re creating a User Account. A macOS user account is comprised of the following:
- username (e.g. John Smith or, johnsmith)
- Home folder
Whether you realise it or not, whenever you’re using a Mac computer, you’re doing so under the identity of a specific user. A user that is specific to the computer, only (in other words, it’s not related to the internet..).
A Mac computer can have multiple users, each with their own separate, private and secure space.
But not all users are equal, some users have more privileges than others.
Generally, there are two types of user account: Administrator, and Standard.
To view your User Account, to change your account password, or to create a new User, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu in the menu bar.
Your User Account will be listed on the left, where it will indicate the account type: Admin or Standard.
Selecting your account will reveal the Change Password button on the right.
You can also create new user accounts here.
When a new user account is created, an accompanying Home folder is created along with it. Your User account is intrinsic to your Home folder: Your User Account is the owner of your Home folder.
When you switch on the computer you should be required to sign-in to your user account, using a password that you’ve previously set. It’s this password that allows you access to your desktop, along with the rest of the contents of your Home folder.
Mac computers allow for several users, with each user having their own personal, private Home folder.
When a different User logs in to the computer, they only have permission to access their own Home folder, and are prevented from accessing the Home folders of other Users.
To create a new User account, you need to be an Administrator of the computer. In other words, you need to have Admin privileges.
Create a new User account
Click Login Options to manage how Users log into the computer.
With Login Options selected, we can see on the right…:
- Automatic Login should be set to Off. If it was switched on, when the computer is switched on it would not prompt for a password. Although this may be quick and convenient, if your computer gets into the wrong hands all of your data will be accessible.
- Display login window as: List of users allows users to simply select their user account (as apposed to typing their user name), before typing their password.
- Fast user switching allows users of the computer to quickly and easily switch between account via the menu bar.