If you own a Mac or a Macbook, you may be surprised sometime to see a Guest User account in the list of accounts, or on the initial login screen after you boot up or reboot. Then you may try to remove it, only to be unable to. Here’s what’s likely going on, and how to delete that Guest User account.
You would think that it would be straightforward to remove a Guest account from your Mac computer, and for the most part it is, except for when you go to remove it (which you do by unchecking “Allow guests to log in to this computer” under the Users & Groups section of your Preferences), and find that you are unable to uncheck it!
If this is your situation, read on…
How to Remove a Guest User Account from Your Mac or Macbook
If you are unable to remove a Guest User account from your Macbook or Mac because the option to uncheck “Allow guests to log in to this computer” is greyed out, the most likely reason is because that Guest User account is currently logged in.
There are a couple of different ways that you can confirm this. One is to click on the dropdown of user accounts from your menu bar (if you have that enabled). To do this, simply click on your own name on the menu bar, and you will see the list of user accounts.
The orange circle with the white check mark next to a user means that their account is logged in to your Mac or Macbook.
If you don’t have the user accounts dropdown enabled, then instead log out of your own account by clicking on the Apple logo in the far upper left-hand corner of the menu bar, and choosing “Log Out (your username)”:
This will take you to the login screen, where you will almost certainly see that the Guest User account is logged in.
The thing to understand is that just because the Guest User account isn’t the currently active account, it may still be logged in.
And by now you may have figured out that the key to being able to delete the Guest User account is first logging that account out.
To do so, log in to the Guest User account, and then click on the Apple logo in the far upper left-hand corner, and select “Log Out Guest User”.
Before logging the Guest User account out, your computer will give you this warning:
You are logged in as a guest user. Logging out deletes all files and information in the guest user home folder. These files cannot be recovered.
Go ahead and hit ‘Delete Files & Log Out’ because you don’t care because you are wanting to delete the guest account entirely.
Once your computer is done processing this request, you will be returned to the login screen, where you will see that the Guest User account is no longer logged in (denoted by the absence of the orange and white circle and checkmark).
Now log back in to your account (we are assuming here that you are the administrator of your computer and have admin privileges).
Once logged back in to your account, you can also always check that the Guest User account is indeed logged out by clicking on the drop down list of users from your menu bar. You will see that the Guest User account no longer has the checkmark next to it.
Now, open up your System Preferences, and go to Users & Groups:
Highlight the Guest User account, and you will see that the “Allow guests to log in to this computer” checkbox is no longer greyed out. Uncheck the checkbox next to “Allow guests to log in to this computer”:
Be sure to click the lock when you are done.
Now, when you look the list of users you will still see Guest User, but you will see that it is off.
This is the equivalent of removing the account altogether (or as near as you are going to get), because in order to re-enable the Guest User account, someone would need your computer’s adminstrator password.
As to how that Guest User account was activated and showed up in the first place, if you didn’t set it up that way yourself, the most likely way is that your last OS update included that ‘feature’. But if you aren’t sure, it’s best to go ahead and change your administrator password while you’re at it.
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