How to Add Administrator Accounts to Your Mac

Allow others to make changes on your Mac

What to Know

  • Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > lock icon > password > OK > + > Administrator > enter information > Create User.
  • To promote a user, go to Users & Groups > Administrator > account to change > Allow user to administer this computer.

This article explains adding additional administrator accounts or promoting existing users in macOS 10.15 (Catalina), but the procedure is nearly identical in older versions.

About Administrator Accounts

An administrator account has the same basic capabilities as a standard user account, including its own Home folder, desktop, backgrounds, preferences, Music, bookmarks, Messages accounts, Address Book/Contacts, and other account features. Setting an administrator account apart is its elevated privilege levels. Administrators can change system preferences that control how the Mac works and feels, install software, and perform many special tasks that standard user accounts cannot perform.

Your Mac computer needs only one administrator account, but allowing one or two other trusted people to have administrative privileges is a straightforward process.

Close up of web page Log in button
SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

Creating a New Administrator Account

You'll need to be logged in as an administrator to create or edit user accounts. You created an administrator account when you first set up your Mac. Then:

  1. Launch System Preferences from the Apple menu or the Applications folder.

    The System Preferences command under the Apple menu
  2. Click Users & Groups.

    macOS System Preferences
  3. Click the lock icon and enter your password. Click OK.

    macOS System Preferences > Password
  4. Click the plus (+) button located below the list of user accounts.

    The plus sign to add an account.
  5. Select Administrator from the drop-down menu of account types.

    macOS System Preferences > Users > Admin
  6. Enter the requested information: the new account holder's full name, account name, password, and password hint.

    Click the key next to Password to have the Password Assistant generate a password for you.

  7. Click Create User.

A new Home folder will be created, using the account’s short name and a randomly chosen icon to represent the user. You can change the user icon at any time by clicking the icon and selecting a new one from the dropdown list of images.

Repeat the above process to create additional administrator user accounts. When you’ve finished creating accounts, click the lock icon in the bottom left corner of the Users & Groups pane to prevent others from making changes.

Promote an Existing Standard User to Administrator

You also can promote a standard user account to an administrator account. Open Users & Groups as above, log in to your Administrator account, and select the account you wish to change. Place a checkmark next to Allow user to administer this computer.

One use for an administrator account is to help with diagnosing issues with your Mac. Having an administrator account in pristine condition can help rule out problems caused by corrupt files in a user's account. 

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