When you setup a Mac or create a new Mac user account, you’ll be asked for a full name during the setup process, and that full name gets associated with the user account. But what if you want to change the full name associated with a user account in Mac OS? Perhaps you had a name change, or want to correct a typo in the full account name, and you want the Mac user account full name to reflect the adjustment.
This tutorial will show you how to change the full name associated with any user account in Mac OS. For example, if a user account name is set to “John Doe” but you want to change it to “Sir John Doe III”, these are the steps you’d want to take. You can change the full name of any user account on a Mac as long as you have admin access of the computer.
Be forewarned that changing an account name can lead to problems with logins, keychain data, saved network logins, since the associated full name will no longer be the same, and thus attempting to login or use the old full name will no longer work. This is not a process to take lightly. It is essential that you thoroughly backup the Mac before editing user account details, otherwise the user account and any related data or files could be damaged or lost irretrievably.
How to Change the Full Name Associated with a User Account in Mac OS
Important: back up the Mac before beginning the process of editing user account name details. Editing user account details could lead to problems with the user account being modified. Do not proceed without a complete backup made with Time Machine or your backup method of choice.
- Backup the Mac before beginning, do not skip a backup otherwise you may ruin your user account
- Pull down the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
- Choose “Users & Groups” from the system preference options
- Click the lock icon in the lower right corner to authenticate and unlock the preference panel
- Locate the user name you want to edit the full name of, then right-click on that account name (or hold down the Control click and click on the account name) and choose “Advanced Options”
- At the Advanced Options screen, locate “Full Name” and replace the name in the Full Name field with the new name you’d like to use on the user account
- When satisfied with the change to the full name field, click “OK” to set the change of the user account full name *
- Exit out of System Preferences
- Restart the Mac for the full name change to carry over everywhere
In the screenshot examples here, we changed an account user full name from “OSXDaily” to “OSXDaily.com Example Name”, because the name is long it becomes truncated in the Users & Groups preference panel.
* Do not make any other changes or edit any other fields in the advanced user account options. One wrong change could make the account completely useless and lead to major problems.
The advanced user account options allow for many other changes to be made, though all should be limited to advanced users only with compelling reasons to make those changes, and a thorough understanding of the risks involved (there’s a reason Apple puts a giant red warning on the top of this preference panel setting screen, it is remarkably simple to render a user account useless if you are not 100% certain in what you are doing). We’ve covered many of these advanced user account topics before, including changing user account short names in Mac OS, changing the user home directory in Mac OS, or even moving a home directory to another location.
It’s worth mentioning that changing a user account full name should only be used for making minor changes to the literal full name of a user account (“Jane R Doe” to “Jane Doe”, etc) and this should absolutely not be used to rebrand an existing user account for someone else. If you want to have an account for an entirely different person, simply make a new user account on the Mac instead.
The approach detailed here applies to modern versions of MacOS and Mac OS X. Much older versions of Mac OS X allowed users to edit the full name simply by clicking on the users full name within the generic Users preference panel view, but now it has been relocated to the advanced section.
And by the way, this does not change the name of the actual computer itself, which is the name that appears on a network. You can change the Mac computer name with these instructions if need be.