Understanding User Accounts in macOS

Everyone who uses a Mac has a user account. If you’re the only person using your Mac, then there will only be one account. But if you share your Mac with other users — your family or coworkers, for example — your Mac will contain multiple user accounts. At least one of these is an administrator account, and that account is allowed to change any settings on the Mac. Others can be standard user accounts, who can change settings that affect some of what they do on the computer. You can also have accounts that are managed with parental controls; these are designed so your kids can use your computer safely. Finally, there are sharing only accounts, which you can create to allow users to access some files on your Mac over a network.

In this article, I’m going to explain how to create user accounts, when and how to use each of these different types of accounts, and how to delete them when you don’t need them any longer.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

4 thoughts on “Understanding User Accounts in macOS

  1. I use multiple accounts for work, personal, special projects and find this very useful for a lot of reasons, from using different docks, different Dropbox accounts or simply letting display night shift disabled for my photo editing user (you don’t want to edit pictures with a heavily shifted white point).

    I use osx fast user switching and keep all my users (3) running.

    What is not clear to me is: do background users use cpu and ram or are they freezed? How this affect battery?

    I couldn’t find a clear answer to this.
    Thanks

    • I’m not sure. I would assume that most things are frozen, but I know you can play music in an account that is logged out. Try checking in Activity Monitor, which will show you processes and apps that are using CPU and power and list the user whose account is running them.

  2. I use multiple accounts for work, personal, special projects and find this very useful for a lot of reasons, from using different docks, different Dropbox accounts or simply letting display night shift disabled for my photo editing user (you don’t want to edit pictures with a heavily shifted white point).

    I use osx fast user switching and keep all my users (3) running.

    What is not clear to me is: do background users use cpu and ram or are they freezed? How this affect battery?

    I couldn’t find a clear answer to this.
    Thanks

    • I’m not sure. I would assume that most things are frozen, but I know you can play music in an account that is logged out. Try checking in Activity Monitor, which will show you processes and apps that are using CPU and power and list the user whose account is running them.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.