- Click the “Apple” menu.
- Select “System Preferences.”
- Click the “Users & Groups” icon.
- Click the “Lock” icon.
- Enter your administrator name and password as prompted.
So you’ve convinced a friend, colleague or family member to give your Macbook a try. You show them how to connect their iPhone via USB and sync up their photos, play around with the Mail app, maybe even draw something on the next generation iPad using iDraw or iDoodle. You might even consider adding them as a user so they can start working out of your MacBook Pro rather than having to bring their own computer every time (this is what I do). But wait! Before you add them as an additional user, make sure that they don’t have any personal data stored on their iPhone or iPad that you wouldn’t want synced back onto your computer. Otherwise it’s going to be really awkward when you go through the process of adding them as a guest user and you see their private data start to show up.
When I first started using my Macbook Pro, I used it before figuring out how to add guest users. This resulted in me accidentally syncing photos from other people’s cameras onto my computer. It wasn’t until months later that I discovered the entire contents of these camera’s had been synced to my computer – not just the pictures but all the comments others had made on these photos! That was definitely an awkward situation to explain to someone who is expecting their personal data not to be available on another device they connect with via USB. To prevent this scenario from happening again, here are some steps for deleting a guest user off your Macbook (these steps work on both Macbook/Macbook Pro computers running Lion and Snow Leopard).
First of all, if you are showing someone how to use your MacBook for the first time, at some point you should create a user account for them so that they have access to their own documents. Most likely they will want their own email accounts, contacts and calendars as well. To set up a new user account (this is done on the computer itself – not on an iPhone or iPad), select ‘System Preferences’ from the Apple Menu and then ‘Accounts’.
Click on the plus symbol at bottom right corner of dialog window to add a new user
Type in the name of this new user (no spaces) and click on the ‘Create User’ button.
This new user will automatically be set to use a temporary password (just type in random numbers/letters or just click on OK if you don’t want to set a password). Now, make sure the new user is added as an administrator. This way they can change settings and add other users without being prompted for your admin password. Click on this name and then click the small ‘gear’ icon in the lower left corner of that person’s preferences window. In this section uncheck ‘require password to wake this computer from sleep’. Then check off both options under login options: – ‘Show this user window when logging into an administrator account at startup’ and – ‘Allow user to administer this computer’.
It is now safe to add this new user as a guest user. But before you do, make sure the files/folders and applications on your MacBook that you don’t want synced back onto this computer are not accessible by other users. You can protect your personal documents by clicking ‘File’ in the top left corner of Finder window (or pressing Command+Shift+G) and then selecting ‘Get Info…’ from the dropdown menu. Now click on ‘Sharing & Permissions’ tab at top of the Get Info dialog box
You’ll see a list of all folders and files within your Home directory. To prevent access to these items for all users except yourself, uncheck the box next to ‘Everyone’.
Click on the padlock symbol at bottom left of Get Info dialog box. You will prompted to enter your admin password, which needs to be used anytime you want to prevent access to a file/folder (the worst thing about this is that Macbook users who don’t know about this shortcut typically end up just clicking OK rather than entering their Admin password. This means that no one can open or delete any of these items including yourself! To fix this situation, restart your computer and hold down Command+R until you see the ‘Apple’ logo). Now that Guest User #2 has been added and all personal files are protected from being synced back onto your computer, it is time to remove them as an extra user.
As a precaution, make sure Guest User #2 is not currently signed into your computer. If they are, force them to logout at least once by holding down Shift+Control+Option on keyboard and then click on the ‘Log Out’ button at upper right corner of screen (this makes it harder for someone to get back in from a remote location). Then hold down Command+Option+Delete. Make sure that before you confirm this action you have confirmed there are no personal files/folders accessible by anyone but yourself! Click Cancel if so or just enter your admin password when asked to do so.
Finally, reset your administrator’s password if you changed it after first setting up your MacBook. Don’t worry too much about doing this since Guest User #2 is not using your computer. However, if you have any trouble logging back in with Guest User #2 in the future or can’t remember your password (I know you made it secure but sometimes we make mistakes), go to Apple’s Support page and launch ‘Keychain Access’ from there (this little app helps retrieve passwords that are easy to forget).
Very important: even though guest user access has been disabled on this machine, don’t use backup software, VPNs or anything else that automatically signs into websites like Gmail.com as these could still be set to log into a user account that no longer exists on your MacBook. Also keep an eye out for accounts left over from previous owners including kids who might not have logged out but then deleted their own user account.
You can easily tell if an account is active because it will have a small icon on the right side in place of a username. If you see this, just click on this arrow and select ‘Log Out’ from the list that appears. Guest User #2 should now be truly gone from your MacBook! Since you are finished working with other users here’s one last tip for those who do not use Time Machine: don’t forget to delete any large files/folders that were created by guest user(s) as these may be taking up valuable disk space unnecessarily. To find these type: “#” followed by Command+Shift+G to bring up spotlight search at top of screen and then type “~” and press the ‘Enter’ key. Now click on ‘Go to Folder…’ from the dropdown menu. Type in: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/* (this will reveal all folders created by Mobile Sync including any files backed up by this service). Delete these items and then reboot your MacBook to clear out memory cache.
` Here are some additional tips for those interested in securing their Macbook even more:
If you have a free block of extra disk space, consider enabling FileVault 2 which encrypts everything within your Home directory including any personal files left over from guest users such as /Users/Shared and Documents folder. This can prevent anyone who hasn’t entered a special password from gaining access to your files. It can be enabled using the ‘Security & Privacy’ pane within System Preferences or by clicking on this link: how-to-enable-filevault2/
Some users also choose to disable Siri as well as Spotlight search in general since it could lead Google, Bing and others directly to sensitive information stored locally such as Tor hidden service private keys, SSH encryption keys found via Control+Shift+G (spotlight search) while on a public network or even an old resume! Again, you can find instructions for disabling these features here: disable-search-with-spotlight/.
Either way, you’ve successfully disabled guest user access permanently on your MacBook without losing any personal data. Next time you boot your MacBook you will see a login screen with only two users: ‘Username’ and ‘Admin.’.
1. Click the “Apple” menu.
2. Select “System Preferences.”
3. Click the “Users & Groups” icon.
4. Click the “Lock” icon.
5. Enter your administrator name and password as prompted.
Under “Users,” select “Guest User.” If a guest user account is turned on, any person with access to this computer has the option of logging in without a password and making use of your Mac.
The Guest User account is created by macOS; it’s severely limited and has no access to system files. If you delete this account from Users & Groups, it will be recreated when you install macOS or The Guest user account in System Preferences is for testing only: available features are limited, documents cannot be accessed, and saving files to