How to customize profile pictures for user accounts on your Mac

Profile photo on Mac login screen

We recently showed you how you can personalize the experience on Apple’s platforms if you upload your iCloud profile photo. On the Mac, it’s possible to adjust profile pictures for macOS user accounts independently of your iCloud profile image.

Unlike your iCloud profile photo—which appears on the home page, in Family sharing and iCloud settings on iOS and macOS and in apps that use profile images like Messages and Mail—macOS profile pictures identify your computer’s user accounts on the macOS login and boot screen and in the Fast User switching menu.

In this quick tutorial, you are going to learn how to customize your Mac experience by changing the profile picture for your macOS user account.

To change your macOS account picture:

As mentioned, you can pick an image for your macOS user account independently of your iCloud profile image.

1) Go to System Preferences → Users & Groups and click the Password tab. If necessary, click the lock icon in the lower left corner of the window and enter your administrator name and password.

2) In the lefthand section, choose the user account to change the profile image for. Keep in mind that you must have admin privileges to change profile pictures of other user accounts on this computer.

Customize Profile Pictures Mac

3) Click the preview photo in the right section, and do one of the following:

  • Defaults: Apple-provided pictures included with macOS
  • Camera: Take a photo with your Mac’s built-in Face Time camera
  • Photos: Your pictures
  • Photo Booth: Photos from the Photo Booth app

4) Click Save to accept the photo.

Tip: You can also drag and drop an image file into your existing macOS profile picture.

This image will instantly appear as your new macOS user account and login image and when changing users in the Fast User Switching menu.

New Mac profile photo

Again, this profile image is not the same thing as your iCloud profile image and it won’t replace the photo on your contact card in Contacts, unless there’s none set.

The profile image for your user account is used to identify you on the login screen, on the boot screen and in System Preferences → Users & Groups.

It does not replace your iCloud profile image, which is used universally across iOS, macOS and platforms in apps like Messages and Mail, on your contact card, in the AirDrop menu and anywhere iCloud profile images are used.

If no iCloud profile photo has been set, your Mac will show your macOS account picture in other places, such as the AirDrop menu and in plenty of other places.

If you’re concerned about nearby iOS and macOS devices seeing your photo in the AirDrop menu, set AirDrop availability to Contacts Only in Control Center or set your profile image to a generic mugshot photo.

You can change profile pictures for other users on your computer provided you have their admin privileges.

RELATED: How to change your iCloud profile photo

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