Languages

OS X: How to change the language displayed in the login window

Learn how to change the language displayed in the login window.

The text of the login window will be displayed in the language that was selected when Mac OS X was installed, or the language selected the first time Mac OS X was started on a new Mac. Learn how you can change the language used for the login window.

There are two ways to change the language of the login window:

  • Reinstall OS X and select the desired language during installation
     
  • Or, use the steps below depending on your version of OS X.

OS X Mountain Lion, Lion, 10.6, 10.5, or 10.4

  1. Login as a user who has an administrator account.
  2. Open Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities/).
  3. Type or paste this command in Terminal:
    sudo languagesetup
  4. Press Return.
  5. When prompted for a password, enter your account password and press Return again.  If your user has no password (a blank password) and you are using Mac OS X v10.5 or later, see sudo command requires a non-blank admin password.
  6. A list of available languages will be displayed. Type the number that appears next to the language you want to use, then press Return.
  7. Quit Terminal.

Mac OS X v10.3.9 or earlier

  1. Enable the root user. To learn how to do this, see Enabling and using the "root" user in Mac OS X.
  2. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu. 
  3. For Mac OS X v10.2 through 10.3.9, click Accounts.
    For Mac OS X v10.1.5 or earlier, click Login. 
  4. For Mac OS X v10.2 through 10.3.9, click Login Options.
    For Mac OS X v10.1.5 or earlier, click the Login Window tab. 
  5. Next to "Display Login Window as," click to select the "Name and password" option if it isn't already selected.
  6. Quit System Preferences. 
  7. Choose Log Out from the Apple menu. 
  8. In the login window's Name field, type: root 
  9. Enter the password you used when enabling the root user, then click Log In. 
  10. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu. 
  11. Choose International from the View menu. 
  12. Click the Language tab. 
  13. Drag your preferred language to the top of the Languages list. Important: This will change the language used in the text fields in the login window, and will also change the keyboard layout in effect when the login window is present. 
  14. Choose Log Out from the Apple menu.

    Important: You'll probably want to disable the root user after following these steps. See Enabling and using the "root" user in Mac OS X.

 

Additional Information

After following these steps, the login window should now use the language you have selected.

Tip: Use System Preferences to change your "Display Login Window as" setting, if desired.

Last Modified: Aug 1, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Aug 1, 2012
  • Article: HT4102
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