In most operating systems, the root user is the user which has access to all system settings and operations. This is a user which is defined by default within the system. Since this user has complete access, usually, this user is not accessible directly. Access can be created, if required, but should be used only by advanced and experienced programmers. This is because, any change made by the root user could affect the system to a large extent. It could also make the system unstable.

Exposing or using the root user also makes the system vulnerable to attack. If a hacker can gain access into your root user account, then the entire system is at his or her disposal. All your data, settings, preferences, and anything else associated with the system is immediately compromised. Thus, protection of the root user setting is extremely important. In order to keep your system safe, it is recommended that this mode is not activated at all.

However, sometimes, usually to use the hidden system settings, this access can be enabled. In such cases, all the proper precautions must be observed.

Apple has ensured that the MAC devices are protected to a large extent. The root user feature is automatically disabled. There is no option which directly takes the user into the options available for the root user. However, if required, there are certain mechanisms to allow this kind of access. The access may cause the entire system to be compromised. Hence, the user must make sure that the root user is always logged out after use. While creating a password, the password must be stronger than the user’s usual passwords.

The root access allows a user to have access to certain system settings and features which cannot be altered otherwise. This setting is needed sometimes by advanced programmers only. Thus, Apple has removed this access by default. However, this access can be enabled or disabled if required.

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How to Enable or Disable root User from Terminal in Mac

Using the command window is one of the easiest and simplest ways to enable root user mac terminal.

  • Use the Launchpad to launch Terminal
  • Enter the command dsenableroot.
  • The username will be displayed, and it will ask for a password. Enter your user password
  • Enter a password for the root access
  • In the next field, re-type the same password for the root access to verify it.

(NOTE: For security reasons, and to keep the number of characters in your password secure, the terminal does not show any data even when passwords are entered. Type in the passwords and hit Enter.)

  • When the message “dsenableroot:: ***Successfully enabled root user.” is displayed, the root access is given with the chosen password.
  • After your work is completed, use the command dsenableroot -d and give the user password to remove access.


How to Enable & Disable root User Using GUI

The Graphic User Interface is usually used by people who are not used to programming. It allows a simple, direct way to enable or disable root user mac access. By simply after the path described below, root access is enabled. After the user’s work is complete, they must log out of the root user’s account.

  • On your Mac desktop, click on the Go tab, and then click on Go To.
  • When the window opens, enter /System/Library/CoreServices/ and click Go. Alternatively, follow Macintosh HD > System > Library > CoreServices folder.
  • Double click on the tool named Directory Utility. Click the padlock and give your user password to unlock it.
  • Click on Edit, and then on Enable Root User from the drop down menu.
  • Provide the root access password and verify it in the dialog box that opens.
  • Click OK to save these changes.
  • Once you are done with your work, follow this same path and Disable Root Access.


How to Enable or Disable the Root User on Your Mac Using Sudo Command:

how to set up the root user, enter the command sudo -s in the terminal window. Provide the user password when prompted. If the command is properly executed, the shell’s prompt should end with root#. Use the command end to remove root access when you are done with your work.


To enter root access with the defined password, re-login to your Mac using the username root and password as the root password.

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Using root access gives the user access to a large number of system settings. However, this can leave a user’s system vulnerable to attack. All necessary precautions must be observed to protect the user’s data and system. This root user has control over all the system settings and preferences. To protect the system, it is disabled by Apple. It can be re-enabled, and then used, as described in this article.

Enabling root access on Mac can lead to system instability if the user is not familiar with it or does not know what exactly to do. Hence, it must be used only when required and switched off as soon as possible. Ensure that your root access password is stronger than the passwords that you regularly use.