How to Change the User Name in a Mac

By Bennett Gavrish

When you create a new user account on an Apple computer running the Mac OS X operating system, you must assign a unique username to the account. This username is also referred to as a short name or login name. In order to change the username for an account on a Mac, you must enable special administrative privileges and then manually rename the individual's username and user folder.

Things You'll Need

  • Mac running OS X 10.5 or later

Step 1

Click on the "System Preferences" icon in the dock and go to the "Accounts" control panel.

Step 2

Highlight "Login Options" from the left side of the window and then click on the "Join" or "Edit" button.

Step 3

Click on the "Open Directory Utility" button in the dialog box that appears.

Step 4

Click on the lock symbol in the lower-left corner of the window and enter your administrative username and password. Then go to the "Edit" menu at the top of the screen and choose the "Enable Root User" option. Enter a password to use with the root user account and press "OK."

Step 5

Log out of your Mac computer and then log back in using "root" as the username and the password you just set for the root user account.

Step 6

Open a new Finder window, navigate to the "Users" folder and edit the name of the folder for the username that you want to change. When entering the new username, make sure to use only letters, lowercase characters and no spaces.

Step 7

Go back to the "Accounts" control panel in System Preferences and click on the plus symbol.

Step 8

Create a new account for the computer using the new username you have chosen for the old account. When you try to save the account, the system will recognize that there is already a user folder assigned to the new username. Click "OK" to have the system link the new username with the old user folder.

Step 9

Log out of the root account and then log in with the new username.