An administrator account has full access to everything on the Mac, it can install software updates, uninstall and install applications, access and delete system files, access other user files on the same computer, and perform any other administrative type of task. Sometimes it can be helpful to create a new separate administrator account on a Mac, usually for a different person to use, or for troubleshooting purposes, or to differentiate a designated admin account from the primary user account. This walkthrough will show you who to make a new admin account in Mac OS.
It’s important to point out that because an administrator account has complete access to anything on the Mac, you should not create a new admin account for just anybody. Be aware that if you do give someone an administrator login, they can perform any administrator task, including installing and removing software, reading and accessing other user files, modifying system files, and much more. An administrator account is not suitable for casual guest access. If a guest wants to use your computer, a much better solution is to setup and use the Guest User account on the Mac, which has very limited access to exposure to the rest of the Mac. If you expect someone to regularly use your Mac, make a new Standard user account for them instead of an admin account.
Creating a New Administrator Account in Mac OS
The process of making a new admin account works the same in practically every version of macOS and Mac OS X, from the latest versions to the oldest. Here are the steps:
- Go to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
- Go to “Users & Groups”
- Click on the lock icon in the corner, then enter an existing administrator account user and password to unlock the preference panel
- Now click the “+” plus button to create a new user account
- Pull down the submenu next to “New Account” and choose “Administrator” from the dropdown menu
- Fill out the user account details for the new Administrator account: full name, account name, password, and a password hint, then click on “Create User” to create the new Administrator account for the Mac
That’s all there is to it, the newly Administrator account has been created and will be accessible at the login screens on the Mac.
Note that every Mac must always have at least one administrator account. By default, when you setup a new Mac, that default user account on setup is an administrator account.
If you create a new admin account (or a new standard account), you can easily delete that user account later too if need be. Aside from removing unused accounts, that can be helpful for if you need to set up a temporary Admin account for a troubleshooting task, and then when finished troubleshooting, that account can be removed.
It’s also worth noting that you can create a new general Standard user account instead, and then later decide to change a standard account into an administrator account (which can be accomplished at the command line too).
On a related topic, one fairly common pro security-conscious strategy is to create a new separate standard user account and use that Standard account exclusively for most day-to-day computer usage. Then, only login and access the administrator account when specific admin tasks need to be performed. That strategy can help to prevent possible exposures or data breaches in some scenarios, but it can be a little cumbersome to switch back and forth between two different user accounts for different computing tasks. In a similar manner, many advanced users will create a new user account (admin or standard) on the same Mac, and use one account exclusively for work purposes, and one account exclusively for personal purposes – that’s a great strategy for people who work and play on the same computer hardware, as it helps to keep work and personal identities, activities, documents, and files separate.