How to set up multiple users on your Mac

Multiple users on MacOS

Multiple users on MacOS (Image credit: iMore)

In order to make multiple accounts safe and secure, macOS compartmentalizes your data and settings, linking them to your user ID. That way, you can keep a shared Mac in the living room or somewhere else accessible to the whole family. Everyone can use it, but each person's data is siloed from other members of the family.

Setting up multiple users on a Mac is just as applicable to work situations where more than one employee has to use the same Mac. Individual user accounts provide the best protection for everyone: They ensure that no one accidentally deletes your data or sees information they're not supposed to see.

Note: The Managed with Parental Controls account option is the best for kids, giving parents a lot of control over how their children can access the Internet and use their Mac. To understand more how parental controls work on the Mac, read the link below!

How to set up multiple users on your Mac

  1. Select System Preferences in your dock.
  2. Click on Users & Groups.

Screenshot (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click on the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner of the Users & Groups window.
  2. Enter your administrative password, and click the Unlock button.

Unlock (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the plus button at the bottom of the user list.
  2. Under New Account, select the account type. Administration can create new user accounts, can install apps and can change settings. Standard users can install apps and can change their settings only. Sharing only users can access shared files only. Managed with Parental Controls is pretty self-explanatory. Groups provide the same access privileges to more than one user.
  3. Enter the full name of the new user.
  4. Enter an account name. The account name can be something else; this is what will be used for the name of the user's home folder.You can tie this new account to their iCloud password if you know their iCloud ID. You can also have a separate password for this new account.
  5. Click on Create User when you're done.

Add user (Image credit: iMore)
Jaclyn Kilani
Contributor

Jaclyn Kilani is a content writer at iMore. She's a longtime Apple addict with a flair for creating (written works, design, photos; you name it!) on her devices. Jaclyn has also worked in the marketing sector for over 16 years, dabbling in a bit of everything from writing to graphic design and digital marketing. In her heart of hearts, however, she is a born writer and an avid reader who adores everything about the written word. Someday she may even churn out a book or two.

Throughout her career, Jaclyn has also developed something of an addiction to all things Apple. Her professional and personal life is enhanced by an ever-growing collection of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watches, and even AirTags. Luckily, this expensive habit is of great use to her work at iMore, where she writes with authority on Apple products and the accessories that go with them.

6 Comments
  • Great how-to! I recently got an iMac and recently tried to figured this out. You should really mention fast user switching. That's my most favorite part of having multiple users. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thank you Peter! Was only asking someone how to do this earlier today so your very helpful article was perfectly timed.Much appreciated Sent from the iMore App
  • Once you've explained how easy it is to create accounts, it would be good to advise creating an extra account solely for managing the computer and making it the only one with the "administration" privilege. It's a simple thing to do and makes your system a little more secure (if only from your own inadvertent mistakes).
  • Very helpful how-to, thanks Peter! It is so fun to get more tricks on using Mac. :)
  • How does this affect backups? Can time machine backup other users files? If you have photos set to store a full copy of the icloud photo library, can one mac be set up to have a copy of several icloud photo libraries, one for each user account?
  • How does this affect unlocking the Mac with your Watch? Will this still work? Will the Mac unlock and go into the proper user account? Will it work for the other user's Watch for their account?