OS X Mountain Lion: What is the home folder?

What is the home folder?

The home folder stores your documents, preference settings, and other information. A home folder is created for each user of your computer when his or her account is set up. If you are the only user of your computer, there is only one home folder. The home folder isn’t actually named “Home”; its name is the same as the account name specified in your user account. Your home folder appears in the sidebar of Finder windows.

When you are logged in to your account, your home folder’s icon is a house. If your computer has multiple accounts and someone else is logged in, that person’s home folder has the house icon, and your home folder has a folder icon.

Home Icon

The folders inside your home folder, which include Desktop, Documents, and more, make it easy to find various types of files on your computer.


The files and folders that appear on your desktop.


Most files you save on your computer, such as text documents.


Files you download from a local network, the web, or another source.


Your movies, including projects you create using iMovie.


Your music files, including MP3 and AAC files used by iTunes.


Your photos, including pictures you’ve imported into iPhoto or taken using Photo Booth.


Files you want to make available to other users on your network.


Webpages for hosting your personal websites.

You can’t change the name of a home folder. If you want to use a different name, you must create a new user account (this requires administrator privileges). You can then move items from your previous home folder to your new home folder if you wish.

Last Modified: Aug 8, 2013
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