Switch users on Mac

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
July 17, 2023
7 minutes to read

If you share your Mac with family members, colleagues, or friends, there may be multiple user accounts on your Mac. In this article, we’ll explore how to switch users on a Mac with and without logging out, including fast user switching.

fast user switching on mac


  1. Fast user switching on Mac via the menu.
  2. How to switch users on Mac by logging out.
  3. How to switch users on Mac without logging out.
  4. How to enable a guest user.

Before we start

Below, we explain how to switch users on a Mac, but first, we want to introduce a must-have application for every Mac user: MacCleaner Pro.

MacCleaner Pro is an all-in-one bundle of apps that can help you easily clean up and speed up your Mac. It helps clear out junk files like caches, duplicate files, unused large files, service files from previously removed applications, and more.


MacCleaner Pro

Free Download

Fast User Switching on Mac via the menu

macOS comes with a feature called Fast User Switching, which you can turn on in System Settings. Once Fast User Switching is enabled, you can switch accounts right from the menu bar:

  1. Click the user icon at the top of your screen.
  2. Select the user to switch to.
  3. You’ll see the login screen, where you’ll need to provide the user password.
user swithing menu

Now, let’s see how to enable the Fast User Switching option on a Mac. Note that the exact steps will depend on which macOS version you have.

Steps to enable Fast User Switching on macOS Monterey or earlier:

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Go to the Users & Groups section.
  3. Click the lock icon at the bottom of the window and provide your admin password so you can make changes.
  4. Select the user and check the box next to “Show fast user switching menu as.”
  5. Choose how users will be displayed in the menu: Full Name, Account Name, or Icon.
  6. Close System Preferences. Your changes will be automatically saved.
System Preferences showing Users & Groups section

Steps to enable Fast User Switching on macOS Ventura:

  1. Open System Settings on your Mac.
  2. Click Control Centre in the left panel.
  3. Scroll down to find the Fast User Switching option.
  4. Select how users will be displayed next to “Show in Menu Bar.”
  5. If you wish, you can also show Fast User Switching in Control Centre. Use the toggle button to enable it.
System Settings showing Control Centre

How to switch users on Mac by logging out

Another quick way to switch users on a Mac is to log out or lock your screen. Use this option if you don’t need to do it often and don’t want to add the user icon to your toolbar or Control Centre.

How to switch users on a Mac by logging out of the current user account:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select “Log Out [username]” where [username] is the name of the currently logged-in user account. Apple menu showing the Log Out option
  3. This will log you out of the current user account and return you to the login screen.
    Select another account you want to log in to.
    Provide the user password and press Enter. Mac login window

Note that logging out of the current user account will close all open applications and documents associated with that user account. Therefore, make sure to save any unsaved work before logging out.

How to switch users on Mac without logging out

If you want to switch the logged-in user without logging out from the current account, you can use the lock screen. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Apple menu and click Lock Screen. Or press Control+Command+Q.
  2. Move your mouse to unlock the screen and see the login window.
  3. Click Switch User at the bottom of the login window.
  4. Select another user and provide the password to log in.
Mac login window

How to enable a guest user

If you have multiple people who only use your Mac occasionally, instead of creating user accounts for all of them, you can enable guest user access.

A guest user account is a great way to let friends, family or coworkers use your Mac without giving them access to your personal files, data, and settings. You can also set up the guest account with specific settings or preferences; for example, you can limit access to certain applications, websites, or features.

Steps to enable a guest user on your Mac:

  1. Open System Settings.
  2. Click Users & Groups in the left panel.
  3. Click the “i” icon in the right panel next to the Guest user line.
  4. Enable the option “Allow guest users to log in to this computer.”
  5. If prompted, provide your admin password.
System settings showing Guest Users option

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a Guest User account in the Login window.

Mac login screen
Note: The guest user account is a temporary account, and any data or settings created by the guest user will be deleted when the guest user logs out. Also, the guest user account will not have access to your personal files, settings, or applications and is intended for temporary or limited use.


How do I access another user on my Mac?
Can an iMac have two users?
Can Mac admin access another account?
Scroll to Top