If you have recently received a used Mac with the old admin account requiring an unknown password, or if you’ve forgotten an old admin password that you want to delete, there is a way to delete it and begin using your Mac again.
A password isn’t required to delete an administrator account on a MacBook. First, create another administrator account to access the computer’s settings. Using the new administrator account to remove the current administrator account from the computer.
Read the steps below to learn how to delete the old admin account and start using your Mac.
Steps to add a separate admin account
Adding a separate administrator account to your MacBook is easier than it seems.
- Restart your Mac
- Once the screen lights up as it’s booting up, hold the Command key and the “S” key.
- Once the black and white dialogue pops up, type: /sbin/mount -uw /
- Push enter and after “Root” shows up, type: rm var/db/.applesetupdone
- Push enter and once “Root” appears again, type: reboot
- Press enter to boot up the computer.
After completing these steps, you will be prompted to select a main language, then the country in which you are setting up your Mac. You will then be asked if you want to import any information from another device. You may click “not now” if you don’t want to set up the Mac with all of your information right away. Finally, you will be asked if you want the Mac’s location to be turned on.
After this, a screen will appear that gives you the option to enter your Apple ID and password. You may enter your existing Apple ID credentials, create a new Apple ID, or simply skip this section and go onto the next page, which is a license agreement. Click agree.
On the next page, you will be prompted to create a new account for the Mac. This will be the account you log into to access the Mac, so write down your password or choose one that you will remember easily.
After that, you will have the option to sign up for updates and news from Apple. You may skip or fill this section out. From there, your computer will be ready to boot up and you will be able to use it.
Steps to delete old admin account
After you have accessed your Mac on the new account, you can see and remove the other admin account by following these steps:
- Open System Preferences.
- Click on the Users and Groups icon to see the other accounts on the Mac.
- To enable changes, you must click the lock at the bottom left of the screen. This will bring up a box asking for your password.
- Enter the password you created when setting up your Mac admin account in the last section. After entering your credentials, you will be able to edit the accounts on the Mac.
- Click on the account you wish to remove to highlight it and bring up its info.
- Click on the “-” on the left of the screen below the listed accounts. This will open a dialogue box.
- Select “Delete this home folder” and click on OK.
To save and archive the information from the old admin account, choose the option: “Save the home folder as a disk image.” This will ensure that no information or content is deleted, but the account is still removed. It will save a disk in “Deleted users and groups.” This information can be accessed and recovered at any time.
If you select, “Don’t change the home folder,” the home folder and all of its information will remain in users and be intact. If you choose this option, you will be able to restore the old account and all of its information at any time.
If you delete the home file, you will not be able to recover the account or any of the information on it through your Mac. If the other account was created through an Apple ID, however, you will be able to recover files, photos, and messages saved on the iCloud. To view files saved on the old admin account, log in to iCloud with the Apple ID used to create the old account. If you have forgotten your Apple ID, you may look it up through the Apple site.
Why can’t I delete an Admin account on Mac?
The steps above should ensure that an account is successfully deleted, but if you are having trouble doing so, there are some things you can check to make sure everything will go through as planned.
If it’s not allowing you to click on the accounts on the left or make any changes, ensure that the lock on the bottom left is open. You can open the lock with the admin password you are logged into. Use the password you use to open your computer, not the Apple ID password. This should allow you to edit the accounts.
After you have checked the lock button, ensure that you are following the rest of the steps exactly and you should be able to make the changes you want. If you are still having trouble, contact Apple Support.
How can I get admin access to a Mac without knowing the password?
If you are locked out of an admin account you wish to use, you can change the password and get back into your account. First, you will need to create a new account as explained above. Don’t enter your Apple ID or any other personal information, just enter the minimum required information for setup.
Once you have access to the Mac, open System Preferences and navigate to Users and Groups. Once there, click the lock icon on the bottom right to allow changes to be made. You will be prompted to enter login info. This is the login for the account you just created. After you have entered your information, you will be able to edit existing accounts and information.
Select the account you wish to access and click “Change password.” It will not require you to enter the old password for the account you are trying to access, only a new password that you will use henceforth.
Once you have changed the password, you can login with the recovered account and delete the account you just made by following the steps above.