Change your OS X account name and home directory name

Learn how to change the account name and home directory name of your user account in OS X. You can also change the full name of the account.

Each user in OS X has a full name and an account name (short name), as defined in the Users & Groups pane of System Preferences. Either the full name or account name can be used to log in to the computer.

Change the account name and home directory name

Because the account name is used to create a user's home directory (also known as the user's home folder), the account name and home folder name must match.

Before following these steps, you should back up your important data. OS X includes Time Machine, a feature that helps you back up and restore your important files to another drive or network volume.

OS X v10.7 and later

  1. Log out of the account you're renaming, then log in to an admin account. The admin account needs to be a different account than the one you're renaming. If necessary, create another admin account, then remove it when you've completed the following steps.
  2. Go to the Users folder on the startup drive. The Users folder contains the home folder of the account you're renaming. Rename that account's home folder and make note of both the old name and new name.
  3. Enter in the current account's admin password when prompted.
  4. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
  5. Click the lock icon in the Users & Groups pane, then enter the admin name and password that you used to log in.
  6. From the list of accounts, open a shortcut menu by Control-clicking the account that you want to rename. Choose "Advanced Options" from the shortcut menu.
  7. Change the "Account name" field to match the new name that you gave the home folder in the Users folder.
  8. Change the "Home directory" field to match the new name that you gave the home folder in the Users folder.
  9. Click OK, then close System Preferences.
  10. Log out of the current admin account, then log in to the renamed account.
  11. Verify that your old files and folders are visible and the account is working normally.

Mac OS X v10.6

  1. Log out of the account you're renaming, then log in to an admin account. This admin account needs to be a different account than the one you're renaming. If necessary, create another admin account, then remove it when you've completed the following steps.
  2. Make note of the current name of the acccount you're renaming. It should match the name of that account's home folder, which is in Users folder of the startup drive.
  3. Open the Terminal app, which is in the Utilities folder of the Applications folder.
  4. Enter the following text in Terminal:

    sudo mv /Users/old_name /Users/new_name

    Replace old_name with the original name of the user account, and replace new_name with the name you want to change it to. For example, if the old user had the short name "johnappleseed," and the new user will have the short name "john," you would enter:

    sudo mv /Users/johnappleseed /Users/john

  5. Enter the current account's admin password when prompted, then press Return.
  6. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Accounts.
  7. Click the lock icon in the Accounts pane, then enter the admin name and password that you used to log in.
  8. From the list of accounts, open a shortcut menu by Control-clicking the account that you want to rename. Then choose "Advanced Options" from the shortcut menu.
  9. Change the "Account name" field to match the new name. In the example above, you'd change it from "johnappleseed" to "john".
  10. Change the "Home directory" field to match the new name. In the example above, you'd change it from "/Users/johnappleseed" to "/Users/john"
  11. Click OK, then close System Preferences.
  12. Log out of the current admin account, then log in to the renamed account.
  13. Verify that your old files and folders are visible and the account is working normally.

Change the full name

A user's full name can be changed by that user or an administrator. The full name doesn't need to be the same as the account name (short name) or home folder name.

OS X v10.10 Yosemite

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
  2. If the lock icon in the corner of the window is locked, click the icon to unlock it. Enter the admin name and password, if prompted.
  3. From the list of users, open a shortcut menu by Control-clicking the user that you want to rename. Choose "Advanced Options" from the shortcut menu.
  4. Change the name in the "Full name" field, then click OK.

OS X v10.9 and earlier

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click either Users & Group or Accounts, depending on the version of OS X that you're using.
  2. Select a user from the list.
  3. Change the name in the "Full name" field.
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