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Mac users: Here's how to set up a new user account

If you need a new MacOS account for your partner, your kids or your roommate, here's how to create one.

- 02:30
Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're practicing social distancing and staying inside due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might find yourself suddenly sharing your Mac with your partner, kids or roommates. What you might not know is that you can easily set up a different account for each person, so everyone can personalize their settings and options without forcing a custom layout or shared internet history on everyone else.

Creating multiple user profiles gives the people in your household a private, customizable experience on the same device. It can also help avoid issues with things like logging in and out of accounts -- for example, if everyone in your family uses Gmail, you don't have to log in and out of your accounts constantly if you just log into your own profile. And if you're a parent, it's great for setting parental controls on your child's account. 

Here's how to set up new user accounts on your Mac, according to Apple. Just note that you have to be an administrator of your Mac to make these changes (more on that below). 

Read more: Best Windows and Mac laptops and desktops for 2020

1. On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen. Click System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups. You'll see a list of current users to the left -- if you're the administrator, you'll see the word Admin below your account name. 

2. Click the lock icon to make changes, and enter the administrator name and password.

3. Click the + button below the list of users. 

4. Choose the type of account you'd like to create: standard, administrator, managed with parental controls, or sharing only. Here are the differences:

  • Standard: Standard users can install apps and change their own settings, but can't add other users or change other users' settings.  
  • Administrator: Can add or manage other users, install apps, and change settings. Your Mac can have multiple administrators.
  • Sharing only: Can access shared files remotely, but can't log in or change settings on the computer. An administrator will need to give them permission to access shared files or screens. 

You can change a standard account to an administrator later on if you want to.

5. In the same window, enter the new user's full name, which will general an account name for them automatically. Enter and verify a password, and a password hint. (If your Mac has Touch ID, new users can add a fingerprint after logging in to unlock their account.) 

6. Click Create User

7. That's it! You should now see the new user's name on the list alongside yours and any others you've created. 

To get started on customizing the new user account, log out of your Admin account and let the person you created it for log in. From there, they can customize their background, apps, browsers and just about anything else they want to.

Need more Mac tips? Check out Your new Mac: This is the best way to set up your Apple computer, and the 10 best tricks you didn't know your Mac could do

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