How to Delete a User on Mac

Get rid of those extra Mac accounts

Person rubbed out and removed with eraser

Andrew_Rybalko / Getty Images

Mac users can create additional accounts on their computers, but there are good reasons to limit the number of accounts other than the owner's Admin account. If you've added additional accounts to your Mac, deleting them is a smart and straightforward action. Here's how to delete a user on a Mac.

Information in this article applies to Macs running macOS Catalina (10.15) through OS X Mavericks (10.9). Earlier versions of the operating system have similar methods to remove accounts and activate Guest User.

How to Delete a User on a Mac

  1. Go to System Preferences by selecting it in the Apple menu or by clicking its icon in the Dock.

    Listing for System Preferences in the Apple menu
  2. Click Users & Groups on the System Preferences screen.

    Mac System Preferences screen
  3. Click the padlock in the bottom left corner of the Users & Groups screen. Input your password and click Unlock.

    Authorization screen for deleting a Mac user
  4. Select the user account in the left panel you want to delete and click the minus sign in the bottom left corner.

    Users & Groups system preferences screen showing Users list
  5. Select one of three actions for the account's Home folder. These are:

    • Save the home folder as a disk image that is saved in the Deleted Users folder.
    • Don't change the home folder. This option saves information from the folder in the standard Users folder.
    • Delete the home folder. This choice wipes all information on this account from the computer. 

    After you make your choice, click Delete User.

    Selection of options for user account
  6. Repeat these instructions if you have other accounts you want to delete. When you finish, click the padlock to lock the account and prevent further changes.

How to Set up a Guest User

You don't need to clutter your Mac with user accounts for people who want to use your computer only occasionally. Instead, you can set up a guest account for drop-in use. Here's how:

  1. As before, go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups. Click the lock icon to unlock the screen and enter your admin credentials.

  2. In the left panel, click Guest User.

  3. Click the box next to Allow guests to log in to this computer.

  4. Optionally, also click Limit Adult Websites.

  5. If you want your guest to be able to access shared folders on the network, click the box next to Allow guest users to connect to shared folder.

    Guest User options in Users & Groups preferences on a Mac

Click the lock at the bottom of the screen to prevent additional changes.

There are several important things you should know about activating Guest User on your Mac.

  • Your guest logs in as Guest User on your network. The connection may not as secure or fast as your regular Admin account.
  • Your guest doesn't need a password to log in.
  • Your guest's files are stored in a temporary folder that is deleted when the guest logs out.
  • A guest can't change your user or computer settings.