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How to add or delete a user on a Mac

If you need a new Mac user account for your partner, your kids or your roommate, or want to get rid of an old account, here's how.

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You can create new user accounts on your Mac for each person that uses it.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The holidays are just around the corner and you might be considering getting a new Mac for your household. Instead of sharing one user account with your partner, kids or roommates, you can easily set up a different account for each person. That way, everyone can personalize their settings and options without forcing a custom layout or shared internet history on everyone else.

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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. 

And if others in your household have their own Mac separate from the household Mac, here's how you can delete their old user account and free up some memory.

How to add a new user on a Mac

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 for 2021

1. On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen. Click System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.

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, Sharing only or Group. Here are the differences:

Creating a Mac user account

Standard Standard users can install apps and change their own settings, but can't add other users or change other users' settings. You can change a standard account to an administrator later on if you want to.
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.
Group This doesn't create an account, but creates a category where all accounts within this category have the same access privileges. If you have three children who use your Mac, you can make a group called "Children" that gives them all the same level of access. That way you don't have to set up access privileges for three accounts, and you can avoid one child getting upset for not having the same access that another has.

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 have the new account owner log in. From there, they can customize their background, apps, browsers and just about anything else they want to.

How to delete a user on Mac

If someone in your household gets their own Mac and doesn't need to be on the household Mac, here's how to delete a user account, according to Apple. Again, you have to be an administrator to make these changes.

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. Select the user or group you want to delete, then click the - (minus) button below the list. However, if the user you are trying to delete is logged on to the Mac, you won't be able to delete them. 

4. A window will appear with three options: Save the home folder in a disk image, Don't change the home folder, and Delete the home folder. Here are the differences:

Deleting a Mac user account

Save the home folder in a disk image This archives all the user's documents and information so the user can be restored later if needed.
Don't change the home folder The user's documents and information remain and the user can be restored later if needed.
Delete the home folder The user information is deleted and the storage space is freed.

5. Click Delete user.

How to change a Mac username

If someone wants to change their username to a nickname, or if you need to rename an account for any other reason, no worries. Here's how to change the name of the account when you're logged in as another user, according to Apple

1. On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the top -eft corner of your screen. Click System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.

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

3. Control-click on the user account you want to rename and select Advanced Options.

4. Change Account name to the new name of the home folder. This name should have no spaces in it.

5. In Home directory, change the account name after /Users/ to match the new Account name.

6. You can rename the Full name of the account, but it doesn't have to be the Account name. You can use either the Full name or Account name to change the account.

7. Click OK, then restart your Mac.

Need more Mac tips? Check out the 7 best hidden Mac features, 5 ways to speed up your Mac or how to transfer files from your old Mac to your new Mac

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