How to switch users on a Mac

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Updated: 11/30/2020 by Computer Hope

Having multiple accounts on your Mac can serve many purposes. For example, you could set up parental restrictions for your children or save custom settings for different users. Once you’ve created additional accounts on your Mac, the following sections shows you two methods for switching between them.

Switch accounts by logging out

The default method for changing user accounts is to log out of the current one, and then into another.

  1. In the menu bar, click the Apple macOS menu icon icon.
  2. Select Log Out at the bottom of the Apple menu.

Log Out selector in macOS.

Note

You can also use the shortcut key combination Command+Shift+Q to log out of a user account.

  1. Click the Log Out button on the prompt that appears.

Log Out button in macOS.

  1. Choose a different user on the login screen and enter the password.

Use fast switching

The more recent versions of macOS have a fast user switching feature that allows you to change users without logging out. This section shows you how to enable this feature, and then how to use it to switch accounts.

How to enable fast user switching

  1. In the menu bar, click the Apple macOS menu icon icon.
  2. Click System Preferences at the bottom of the Apple menu.

System Preferences selector in macOS.

  1. Click the Users & Groups shortcut icon.

Users & Groups icon in macOS.

  1. Click the lock symbol in the lower-left corner of the Users & Groups window.

Lock icon in macOS.

  1. When prompted, enter your password and click the Unlock button.

User account unlock password prompt.

  1. On the left side of the window, under the list of accounts, click Login Options.

Login Options button in Macos.

  1. In the section on the right, check the box next to Show fast user switching menu as to enable fast switching, and then choose how you’d like names to appear.

New user in macOS.

  1. You should now see the current account’s name in the upper-right corner of the Apple menu bar.

How to utilize fast switching

  1. Click the account name in the upper-right corner of the screen. In this case, it would be “Computer Hope.”

Username in the Apple menu bar.

  1. Select an account from the drop-down menu.

Choosing a different account in macOS.

  1. Enter the account password to change users.
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