Enter administrator commands in Terminal on Mac
You must be an administrator or root user, also called superuser, to execute many of the commands used to manage a server.
For example, if you’re not an administrator or a root user, entering the
shutdown command gives you an error:
shutdown: NOT super-user
This is because the
shutdown command can be run only by the root user or by an administrator user with root user privileges.
To run commands with superuser privileges, use the
sudo stands for superuser do.
The following example works on computers with macOS installed, so don’t run it unless you want to restart your computer:
% sudo shutdown
You’re asked for the password of the current user.
Only administrator users can use
sudo. If you’re not logged in as an administrator, you can do so by entering the following command, where adminUsername is the name of an administrator user:
% su adminUsername
You’re asked to enter the password for adminUsername, after which a new shell is opened for that user.
If a command requires it, you can use
su to switch to the root user. Under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t log in as the root user.
Important: If you use
su to log in as the root user, be especially careful because you have sufficient privileges to make changes that can cause your computer to stop working.