Most of us really don’t want others to use our Macs, but there are some cases where a family member or friend may need to use our machine. Setting up a guest user account allows them to use our computer and keeps them out of our shared files, if we choose.
Select “System Preferences” from the Apple menu and then select “Users & Groups.” Since we will most likely make some changes, select the lock in the lower-left corner, enter your “User Name” and “Password” and then select “Unlock.” Now, we can easily make and save new changes.
In the left pane select the “Guest Account” and you’ll see the status, whether it is off or log in. To allow guests to log in to your computer, checkmark the box. If you want to enable parental controls, checkmark that box also. Open “Parental Controls” and set up your preferences and restrictions.
And lastly, if you want to allow guest users to connect to shared folders, you can checkmark that box as well. You will also need to set up “Sharing” in System Preferences. You will be shown a list of all the things you can share with your guests, such as files, screen sharing, printer sharing and more.
There are some things you and your guests should know before they use your Mac. Guest users cannot have access to shared files unless you want them to have access. Guests will have access to the same apps you have installed. If you want them to only have access to Safari, you must go to “Security & Privacy” in System Preferences and then select the “File Vault” tab and turn it on. When your guest logs out, restarts or shuts down your machine, it will erase everything they did, except for those changes you authorized.
If you don’t ever allow others access to your Mac, turn off your “Guest User” account by selecting it and then removing all the checkmarks.
Once you have finished with your preferences, select the lock in the lower-left corner to save and lock your changes.
For more than 15 years, Scott Lindsay has helped thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 400 articles about Apple and Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@live.com.