How to Create a Guest Account on Mac

If you find yourself always letting people borrow your computer, here’s how you can create a guest account so that they don’t mess with any of your own files.

There are many times where might have guests over and someone needs to check their email or the kids want to get online to chat with their friends. This is fine and all, but sometimes you just don’t want them playing around on your own user account. This is why a guest account can be great to have.

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It provides guests the ability to borrow your Mac for a bit, while still keeping your own apps and files safe from accidentally getting deleted or moved around.

With a guest account, you can also limit what users can and cannot access, which can protect you from not only accessing your own personal files, but prevent any malware from getting onto your Mac.

If this is something that’s right up your alley and want to give guests their own account to do their business on, here’s how to create a guest account on Mac.

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Creating a Guest Account in OS X

in OS X, the guest account is actually already created, but you just simply need to enable and configure it.

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First, open up System Preferences from the Dock (or go up to the Apple logo in the menu bar and select System Preferences from there). From there, click on Users & Groups.

If you have an admin password set up (which you mostly likely have), click on the padlock in the lower-left corner of the window and enter your in admin password in order to make changes.

After that, click on Guest User in the left-hand sidebar and check the box for Allow guests to log in to this computer. From here, you can also enable parental controls (and adjust them), as well as choose whether or not guests have access to shared folders.

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At that point, there’s nothing else that you need to configure. The guest account will be enabled, and whenever a guest wants to use your computer, simply just log out of your current account by going up to the Apple logo in the menu bar and selecting Log Out [Your Name].

Using the Guest Account

When a guest uses the guest account on your computer, they are given their own user account of sorts, but any files they download will be automatically deleted when they log out of the guest account.

The guest account also has access to any applications that you installed on your own user account, depending on whether you allowed certain applications to be installed for all users or just your own user account when you first installed them. The good news is that saved passwords for any apps do not carry over to the guest account, so guests will have to log in with their own credentials to access any apps that require a log-in, and they will not have access to any of your own accounts within any apps.

The guest account also works with Find My Mac, so if a Mac ever gets lost, the user who found it and wants to return it can log on as a guest if your own user account is password protected. That way they can get online, which will send the location of your Mac to you.

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As mentioned earlier, you can enable parental controls on a guest account, so you can do things like prevent certain apps from being accessed or block certain websites. You can even put a time limit as far as how long a guest can borrow your computer (that seems a bit rude to do, but to each their own. It can be a feature to apply for kids).

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You can also block other random features of OS X, like prevent users from using the built-in camera, dictation, or changing any of the settings. Usually, won’t need to enable parental controls anyway, especially if you mostly just have trusted friends borrowing your computer for a few minutes, but the features are at least there in case you ever want to enable them at some point.