Change the account name and home directory name on your Mac

Your account short name, home directory name, and full account name are established when you create a user account on your Mac. You can change these names using these steps.

Each user in OS X has a full name and an account name (short name). You can view these names from the Users & Groups pane of System Preferences. Either the full name or account name can be used to log in to your Mac.

Change a 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 Yosemite

Use these steps to change a full name for a user account on your Mac in OS X Yosemite.

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click the Users & Groups icon in the System Preferences window.
  3. If the lock icon in the corner of the window is locked, click the icon to unlock it, then enter an administrator name and password.
  4. From the list of users, right-click or Control-click on the user account that you want to rename. Choose "Advanced Options" from the shortcut menu that appears.
  5. Change the name in the "Full name" field, then click OK.

OS X Mavericks and earlier

Use these steps to change a full name for a user account on your Mac in OS X Mavericks and earlier

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click the Users & Group icon or the Accounts icon in the System Preferences window. The icon that appears depends on the version of OS X that you're using.
  3. Select a user from the list.
  4. Change the name in the "Full name" field.

Change an account 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. You can use the steps below for your version of OS X to change an account name and home directory name.

When modifying the account name (short name) or the home folder name, the name you use should not contain any spaces.

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 Lion and later

Use these steps in OS X Lion and later to change a user's account name and home folder name.

  1. Log out of the account you're renaming, then log in to an administrator account. 

    The administrator account needs to be a different account than the one you're renaming. If needed, create another administrator account, then remove it when you're done.

  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. When prompted, enter the then enter the administrator name and password that you used to log in.
  4. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  5. Click the Users & Groups icon in the System Preferences window.
  6. Click the lock icon in the Users & Groups pane, then enter the administrator name and password that you used to log in.
  7. From the list of accounts, Control-click or right-click on the account that you want to rename. 
  8. Choose "Advanced Options" from the shortcut menu that appears.
  9. Change the "Account name" field to match the new name that you gave the home folder in the Users folder.

    When modifying the account name (short name) or the home folder name, it should not contain any spaces. If the current account name already contains a space, you won't be able to edit this field until the space has been removed. Click immediately after the space, or use the left arrow key to move the text insertion point immediately after the space, then press the Delete key to remove the space.

  10. Change the "Home directory" field to match the new name that you gave the home folder in the Users folder.
  11. Click OK, then close System Preferences.
  12. Log out of the current administrator account, then log in to the renamed account.
  13. Verify that your old files and folders are visible and the account is working normally.

OS X Snow Leopard

Use these steps in OS X Snow Leopard to change a user's account name and home folder name.

  1. Log out of the account you're renaming, then log in to an administrator account. This administrator account needs to be a different account than the one you're renaming. If necessary, create another administrator account, then remove it when you've completed the following steps.
  2. Make note of the current name of the account 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 administrator password when prompted, then press Return.
  6. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  7. Click the Accounts icon in the System Preferences window.
  8. Click the lock icon in the Accounts pane, then enter the administrator name and password that you used to log in.
  9. 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.
  10. Change the "Account name" field to match the new name. In the example above, you'd change it from "johnappleseed" to "john".
  11. Change the "Home directory" field to match the new name. In the example above, you'd change it from "/Users/johnappleseed" to "/Users/john"
  12. Click OK, then close System Preferences.
  13. Log out of the current administrator account, then log in to the renamed account.
  14. Verify that your old files and folders are visible and the account is working normally.
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