How to Create Users in Mac OS X Lion - dummies

How to Create Users in Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

People who share folders and drives in Mac OS X Lion (or your Mac) are users. A user’s access to items on your local hard drive is entirely at your discretion. You can configure your Mac so only you can access its folders and drives, or so only one other person or group (or everyone) can share its folders and drives.

Before users can share folders and drives (or have their own accounts on your computer, for that matter), they must have an account on your Mac. You can create two different kinds of accounts for them: a User Account or a Sharing Account.

  • When you create a User Account for a person (User 1), the account has its own Home folder, which is filled with User 1’s files. Nobody but User 1 can access files in this Home folder unless, of course, User 1 has provided someone the account name and password.

  • When you create a Sharing Account for a person (Sharing 1), the person using that account doesn’t have a Home folder and can’t access other users’ Home folders. Sharing 1 can access only the Public folders inside all the Home folders on that Mac.

You can create a new User Account only in the Users & Groups System Preferences pane. You can create a Sharing Account in the Users & Groups or Sharing System Preferences panes.

When you add (create) a user, you need to tell your Mac who this person is. This is also the time to set passwords and administrative powers for this new user. Here’s the drill:

  1. Choose Apple→System Preferences (or click the System Preferences icon in the Dock), click the Users & Groups icon, and then make sure that the Password tab is selected.


    The first user created (usually at the same time you installed OS X) always has administrator permissions.

  2. Click the + button beneath the list of users.

  3. Choose Standard from the New Account menu at the top of the sheet.

  4. In the Name text box, type the full name of a user you want to add.


  5. Press the Tab key to move to the next field.

    Mac OS X Lion suggests an abbreviated version of the name in the Account Name field.

    The name of each user’s folder (in the Users folder) is taken from the short name that you enter when you create a user.

  6. Tab to the Password field, and enter an initial password for this user.

    The small, square button with the key to the right of the Password field, when clicked, displays the Password Assistant.

  7. Press the Tab key to move your cursor to the Verify text field.

  8. In the Verify text box, type the password again to verify it.

  9. (Optional) To help remember a password, type something in the Password Hint text box to jog the user’s memory.

  10. Click the Create Account button to create the account.

  11. (Optional) Click the account picture above the Full Name field, and choose a different one.


  12. (Optional) Click the Set button next to Apple ID to enter (or create) the user’s Apple ID.