Changing Your Computer's Settings

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

Creating additional accounts

If multiple people are going to 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, all users 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

Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionMultiple 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.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionSelecting the Users & Groups settings
  2. Locate the Lock icon in the lower-left corner of the window. It will either be open or closed.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionThe Lock icon
  3. If the Lock icon is closed, you will need to click it and type your password in order to make changes. Then click Unlock.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionTyping a password to unlock the settings
  4. Click the button with the plus sign (+) to begin creating a new account.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionCreating a new account
  5. Choose the account type from the drop-down menu.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionSelecting 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.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionTyping 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. Then click Done to switch to the new image.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionSelecting a new account picture

To switch to a different account:

  1. Click the Apple icon, then select Log Out.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionLogging out
  2. You will see an icon for each account. Select the account that you want to use.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionSelecting an account
  3. Type the account password and press the Return key (or Enter key) to log in to the account.


    Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionTyping the account password