How to change your username on a Mac

Change your Mac's usernames in 4 easy steps

How to change your username on a Mac

It’s important to know how to change your username on a Mac, especially if multiple people use your computer. You can change your username on your account any time you want, as long as you have the right administrator password. Here’s how to change your username on a Mac without creating any problems!

Before you begin, please take the time to back up any important information that you may need from this user account. If something goes wrong, you could accidentally lock the account or create other problems that may leave you without access, so prepare accordingly.

Step 1: Log into a different administrator account

Apple Login

You cannot rename an account that you are currently using. So, your first step is logging out and then logging into your administrator account (the one that provides the authorization to change things like usernames, etc.). You can log out at any time by selecting the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your Mac, and choosing Log Out [name you want to change].

If the account that you are using has administrator privileges, then you’ll need to find a workaround. The easiest way is to log out and then create an alternative administrator account for these steps. You can delete this temporary account when you are finished with the other steps.

Step 2: Rename the home folder

how to change your username on a mac

For a complete name change, you will need to start with your home folder. Your home folders are located in the Users folder. You should be able to find the Users folder by going to the Finder menu, selecting Go, choosing Go to Folder, and then typing in Users.

Here, look for the folder that has the “short name” of the username you want to change. For example, if the full name is “John Mac” then the short name may just be “John” (or it may be identical to the full name). Jot this name down, because you’ll need it later, and then change the short name folder to the name that you want. Don’t bother shortening it. You’ll have to put in the administrator password again at this point.

Step 3: Log into Users & Groups to find your user profile

Mac Users and Groups

Head over to System Preferences, which you can find in the menu bar. Here, select Users & Groups and click the padlock button so that you can start making changes — you will probably have to enter the administrator password yet again at this stage.

Look for the username that you want to change, and right click on it (or control click, double-tap, whatever opens the shortcut menu on your computer). From the shortcut menu, choose Advanced Options. This should take you to a new window.

Step 4: Rename the proper fields and restart

In Advanced Options, look for two fields called Account name and Home directory. In the Account name field, you will want to change the name to the exact same name that you gave the home folder in step 3. Make sure the names match exactly and that there are no spaces, otherwise this won’t work.

In the Home directory field, do the exact same thing. Input the precise new username that you want for your Mac.

Now select the Ok button in Advanced options. Log out of this administrator account, and log into the account whose name you have changed (the new name should now be visible). Check to make sure that all your files and apps are visible, and that everything appears to be working properly. Perform a few basic actions and open some documents. If everything looks good, then your new username is ready to be used!

Note: This method works with the latest MacOS updates, including High Sierra, El Capitan, and Yosemite. Some of the icons or names may be a little different, but the basic steps are the same. If you don’t have one of the latest updates, then your operating system is already a few years out of date, and we suggest you update it before you try changing usernames.