MacBook in easy steps: Covers OS X Yosemite (10.10) (2015)

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Sharing OS X

This chapter looks at how to set up different user accounts and how to keep everyone safe on your MacBook using parental controls.

Adding Users

Deleting Users

Fast User Switching

OS X for the Family

Parental Controls

OS X for Windows Users

Adding Users

OS X enables multiple users to access individual accounts on the same computer. If there are multiple users, i.e. two or more, for a single machine, each person can sign on individually and access their own files and folders. This means that each person can log in to their own settings and preferences. All user accounts can be password protected, to ensure that each user’s environment is secure. To set up multiple user accounts:

imageClick on the System Preferences icon on the Dock

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imageClick on the Users & Groups icon

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imageThe information about the current account is displayed. This is your own account and the information is based on details you provided when you first set up your MacBook

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Every computer with multiple users has at least one main user, also known as an administrator. This means that they have greater control over the number of items that they can edit and alter. If there is only one user on a computer, they automatically take on the role of the administrator. Administrators have a particularly important role to play when computers are networked together. Each computer can potentially have several administrators.

imageClick on this icon to enable new accounts to be added (the padlock needs to be open)

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Each user can select their own icon or photo of themselves.

imageClick on the plus sign icon to add a new account

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imageEnter the details for the new account holder

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imageClick on the Create User button

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imageThe new account is added to the list in the Accounts window, under Other Users

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By default, you are the administrator of your own MacBook. This means that you can administer other user accounts.

Deleting Users

Once a user has been added, their name appears on the list in the Other Users panel. It is then possible to edit the details of a particular user or delete them altogether. To do this:

imageWithin Users & Groups, select a user from the list

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imageClick here to remove the selected person’s user account

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imageA warning box appears to check if you really do want to delete the selected user. If you do, select the required option and click on Delete User

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Always tell other users if you are planning to delete them from the system. Don’t just remove them and then let them find out the next time they try to log in. If you delete a user, their personal files are left untouched and can still be accessed.

Fast User Switching

If there are multiple users using OS X it is useful to be able to switch between them as quickly as possible. When this is done, the first user’s session is retained so that they can return to it if required. To switch between users:

imageIn the Users & Groups window, click on the Login Options button

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imageCheck On the Show fast user switching menu as box

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imageAt the top-right of the screen, click on the current user’s name

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imageClick on the name of another user

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imageEnter the relevant password (if required)

imageClick on this button to log in

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When you switch between users, the first user remains logged in and their current session is retained intact.

OS X for the Family

Many families share their computers between multiple users and, with the ability to create different accounts in OS X, each user can have their own customized workspace. If desired, you can also set up an Apple ID so that other users can access a wider range of products, such as the Apple App Store. To do this:

imageAccess Users & Groups

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imageClick on the Apple ID: Set… button

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imageIf the user already has an Apple ID, enter it in the appropriate box. If not click on the Create Apple ID button to create an account

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imageA page on the Apple website is accessed. This contains general information about an Apple ID and also a facility for obtaining one

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If you give someone an Apple ID, credit card information will have to be given. Therefore, the user will be able to access services such as the iTunes Store and the App Store, where they will be able to purchase a range of items.

Parental Controls

If children are using the computer, parents may want to restrict access to certain types of information that can be viewed, using Parental Controls. To do this:

imageAccess Users & Groups, click on a username and check on the Enable parental controls box. Click on the Open Parental Controls... button

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imageClick on the Apps tab

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imageCheck On the Use Simple Finder box to show a simplified version of the Finder

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imageCheck On this box if you want to limit the types of app that a user can access

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imageCheck Off the boxes next to the apps that you do not want to be used

imageClick here to select options for age limits in terms of accessing items in the App Store

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Web controls

imageClick on the Web tab

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imageCheck On this button to try to prevent access to websites with adult content

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imageCheck On this button to specify specific websites that are suitable to be viewed

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To check which sites have been viewed on a Web browser, check the History menu, which is located on the main Menu bar.

People controls

imageClick on the People tab

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imageCheck On the Limit boxes to limit the type of content in email messages, games and text messages

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Time Limits controls

imageClick on the Time Limits tab

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imageCheck On this box to limit the amount of time the user can use the Mac during weekdays

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imageCheck On this box to limit the amount of time the user can use the Mac during weekends

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imageCheck On these boxes to determine the times at which the user cannot access their account

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OS X for Windows Users

General sharing

One of the historical complaints about Macs is that it is difficult to share files between them and Microsoft Windows computers. While this may have been true with some file types in years gone by, this is an issue that is becoming less and less important, particularly with OS X. Some of the reasons for this are:

A number of popular file formats, such as PDFs (Portable Document Format) for documents and JPEGs (Joint Photographic Experts Group) for photos and images, are designed so that they can be used on both Mac and Windows platforms.

A lot of software apps on the Mac have options for saving files into different formats, including ones that are specifically for Windows machines.

Other popular apps, such as Microsoft Office, now have Mac versions and the resulting files can be shared on both formats.

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Many file formats can be opened on both Macs and Windows PCs. Even Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be exchanged, as long as each user has the relevant version of Office.

Sharing with Boot Camp

For people who find it hard to live without Microsoft Windows, help is at hand even on a Mac. Macs have a app called Boot Camp that can be used to run a version of Windows on a Mac. This is only available with Yosemite. Once it has been accessed, a copy of Windows can then be installed and run. This means that if you have a non-Mac app that you want to use on your Mac, you can do so with Boot Camp.

Boot Camp is set up with the Boot Camp Assistant which is located within the Utilities folder within the Applications folder. Once this is run you can then install either Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1 which will run at its native speed.

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