Changing Your Computer's Settings

Better understand the OS X Lion settings available to you in this free lesson.

Creating additional accounts

Multiple accountsMultiple accounts

If multiple people will be using your computer, you'll need to decide whether everyone will share an account, or whether each person will have his or her own account. Having a separate account for each person has some advantages. For example, everyone will have their own desktops they can personalize. In addition, parents will be able to set parental controls for each child's account.

Administrator, Standard, and Managed accounts

Before you start making new user accounts, it's important to understand the different types:

Generally, it's safer to be logged in to a Standard account instead of an Administrator account. If you're logged in as an Administrator, it may actually make it easier for an unauthorized user to make changes to your computer. Therefore, you may want to create a Standard account for yourself, even if you're not sharing the computer with anyone. You'll still be able to make Administrator-level changes; you'll just need to provide your Administrator password when making the changes.

To create a new account:

  1. From System Preferences, select Users & Groups (if you are using an earlier version of OS X, select the Accounts category).
    Selecting the Users & Groups settingsSelecting the Users & Groups settings
  2. Locate the Lock icon in the lower-left corner of the window. It will either be open or closed.
    The Lock iconThe Lock icon
  3. If the Lock icon is closed, you will need to click it and type your password in order to make changes. Click Unlock.
    Typing a password to unlock the settingsTyping a password to unlock the settings
  4. Click the button with the plus sign (+) to begin creating a new account.
    Creating a new accountCreating a new account
  5. Choose the account type from the drop-down menu.
    Selecting an account typeSelecting an account type
  6. Type a full name and password for the new account (the Account name will appear automatically). In the Verify field, type the password again. If you want, you can type a password hint to help you remember it. When you are done, click Create User.
    Typing the name, password, and hint for the new accountTyping the name, password, and hint for the new account
  7. If you want, you can click on the account picture and select a different picture.
    Selecting a new account pictureSelecting a new account picture

To switch to a different account:

  1. Click the Apple icon and select Log Out.
    Logging outLogging out
  2. You will see an icon for each account. Select the account you want to use.
    Selecting an accountSelecting an account
  3. Type the account password and press the Return key (or Enter key) to log in to the account.
    Typing the account passwordTyping the account password