Can’t log in to your Mac? Why not create a new admin account? A spare admin user account will be untouched, without any changes made to its preference files, and without any data beyond what OS X adds when you create it.
You can also use it to solve other problems with your Mac, like if it freezes up, or if you’ve already tried to reset the SMC or PRAM.
If you can’t log in and get the message “unable to log in to the user account”, it’s not too late to resolve it and get back in to your Mac.
How to Get Back In When You Can’t Log In To Your Mac
If you can’t log in to your Mac probably because you forgot the password or it’s just giving you problems, you can still force it to create a new spare admin user account with a new user ID and password. This way, you can hopefully get back access to your Mac.
When you regain admin access, you can reset your old password, log out and log back in using your regular user account. The challenges with this is that it won’t work if you set up firmware passwords, or encrypted your mac’s drive using FileVault.
You can still create a new user admin account in Single User mode using the steps below:
- Turn off your Mac and restart it in the Single User mode. This boots the computer in a terminal-like interface from which you can directly run commands from a prompt. This mode can also be used for other troubleshooting issues.
- Hold down the Command+S keys and start your Mac
- You’ll see scrolling lines of text as the Mac boots up, and when that stops, the command prompt will display: :/root#, which is the command line prompt
- The startup drive isn’t mounted so you need to mount it to access files on it. at the prompt, type or copy and paste the text / sbin/mount –uw /
- Press Enter or Return key
- You can now access files and folders from command prompt as the startup drive is now mounted
- At the prompt, type rm /var/db/.applesetupdone to remove the one file that tells OS X if the one time setup has already been done. Press Enter or Return
- Once you remove the applesetupdone file, you’ll be guided through the process of setting up an admin user account
- Restart the Mac and follow the guide to create a new user admin account and use it to login again
Elsier is an avid tech writer, who loves mobile apps, games, music, and cars. When she’s not catching up on the latest in tech, she’s binging on reruns of her favorite series.