Know your options when deleting user accounts on the Mac

Remove user accounts that are no longer required on the Apple Mac -

Additional user accounts can be created when other people want to use your Mac and when they no longer need their account, it can be deleted. What are your options when deleting users? There are several choices.

On a work computer you might have work colleagues that share computers, or someone else might need to use your computer and you set them up with their own account so they don’t have to use yours.

On a home computer your kids or partner might want to use the Mac occasionally, so you can set them up their own accounts so yours remains private.

These extra user accounts can be deleted if or when the users stop using them. If the space on the Mac's disk is limited, as it is with an solid state drive, you might want to reclaim the used disk disk space.

If someone has private documents, photos and other files, you or they might want to ensure that they are securely erased. That is possible. Here’s how to do it.

1 Open System Preferences

Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner and select Preferences.

Click Users & Groups.

System Preferences in OS X El Capitan on the Apple Mac

2 Unlock and delete

You can’t do much in Users & Groups until you unlock it. Click the padlock icon in the bottom left corner of the window and enter your administrator password (only admins are able to delete user accounts).

Select the account you want to remove in the list on the left.

Click the minus button at the bottom of the users list.

Select and delete user accounts in OS X El Capitan on the Apple Mac

3 Account options

Now we have three main options and one sub-option.

Three options for deleting user accounts in OS X El Capitan on the Apple Mac

The first option backs up the user’s account including all their files to a disk image - a .dmg file. This is stored in the Users folder. (Open your home folder in Finder, Command+click your name in the window title bar and select Users. All user accounts are here.)

The second option leaves the user’s home folder and all its contents as it is. This is useful if there are documents, movies, music and photos you want to recover later.

The third option provides the best security. Select it and then tick the box underneath, Erase home folder securely. Use this and the files that user had will be erased forever with no hope of recovering them. Be careful and make sure this is what you really want.

The option to create a disk image from the user account is a good one to use. You could then back up the the old account to a USB drive and delete it from the Mac’s internal disk to free up space.



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