Enable Root User on Mac

As an administrator on your Mac, you have plenty of privileges like managing other user accounts and changing their settings. But if you need to access additional areas of the system, then you might need to become a root user which is different than an administrator.

This “superuser” is disabled by default on Mac. So, if you need to enable a root user, this tutorial shows you how in addition to changing that root password if needed.

Take caution as a root user on Mac

A root user can access system files and comes with a great amount of responsibility. Apple recommends the following for root users:

The root user account is not intended for routine use. Its privileges allow changes to files that are required by your Mac. To undo such changes, you might need to reinstall your system software. You should disable the root user after completing your task.

If you still want to enable the root user on your Mac, we’ll now show you how.

Enable a root user on Mac

Open your System Preferences with the button in your Dock or by clicking Apple icon > System Preferences from the menu bar. Then, do the following to enable a root user.

1) Select Users & Groups, click the lock button on the bottom left, enter your Mac user password, and click Unlock.

2) Choose your Admin account on the left and then click Login Options.

Mac User Login Options

3) Next to Network Account Server, click the Join button.

4) In the small pop-up at the top, click Open Directory Utility.

Open Directory Utility on Mac

5) Click the lock button, enter your Mac user password once more, and click Modify Configuration.

6) From the menu bar, select Edit > Enable Root User.

Enable Root User on Mac

7) When prompted enter and verify a root user password and click OK.

Enter Root User Password on Mac

You are now a root user on your Mac.

Disable a root user on Mac

When you finish your task, you should disable the root user account as Apple suggests.

Follow the same steps one through five above. When you get to step six, select Edit > Disable Root User from the menu bar.

Disable Root User on Mac

Change a root user password on Mac

If you need to keep the root user account open but need to change the password, this is pretty simple. Again, follow the same steps one through five above. When you get to step six, select Edit > Change Root Password from the menu bar.

Change Root Password on Mac

Enter and verify the new root password and click OK.

Enter Root User Password on Mac

Wrapping it up

Now that you know how to enable a root user and change the password on your Mac, is this something that you’ll be using? If so, let us know what types of tasks you need to perform that require a root user level.

For help with other devices, check out our Tutorials section.