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Archived - Mac OS X 10.4.3: Allowing non-admin users to change the time zone setting

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

In Mac OS X, a user who isn't an administrator cannot change the time zone setting in System Preferences without authorization. In this advanced article, learn how an administrator can use Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later to change the /etc/authorization file so that a non-admin user can adjust the time zone setting.

Please note that this will not affect other settings in the Date and Time preferences or other secured System Preferences settings.

Important: This article contains instructions for editing the /etc/authorization file and is only intended for use by system administrators who are familiar with editing configuration files in a command-line interface. Misconfiguring this file can cause issues, including preventing any user from logging in. Be sure that you make a back up of the /etc/authorization file before editing it.

To grant time zone setting access to a non-admin user, do this:

  1. Make sure that you've updated to Mac OS X 10.4.3.
  2. Open the /etc/authorization file in a text editor.
  3. Locate the text that makes up the system.preferences.accounts right; it looks like this (in its entirety):

    <key>system.preferences.accounts</key>
    <dict>
    <key>allow-root</key>
    <true/>
    <key>class</key>
    <string>user</string>
    <key>comment</key>
    <string>This right is checked by the Admin framework when making changes to the accounts preference pane</string>
    <key>group</key>
    <string>admin</string>
    <key>shared</key>
    <false/>
    </dict>

  4. Below this block of text (immediately below the </dict> tag), add the following section of text:

    <key>system.preferences.dateandtime.changetimezone</key>
    <dict>
    <key>class</key>
    <string>allow</string>
    <key>comment</key>
    <string>This right is used by DateAndTime preference to allow any user to
    change the system timezone.</string>
    <key>shared</key>
    <true/>
    </dict>


    Please note that the "This right is used by..." string does not include a line break; make sure that you enter it all on one line.
  5. Save the file.
Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012
  • Last Modified: Feb 19, 2012
  • Article: TA23576
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