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How to Modify Owner Information on a Mac

by Andrew Tennyson

Whether you've purchased a used Mac or just want to update the personal contact data on a Mac you already own, you can edit the owner information on the device. You can modify a number of ownership details on Macs running OS X Yosemite, including the Apple ID, home directory, administrator account name, computer name and contact email addresses.

Modifying Your Apple ID

Your Apple ID is the primary identifier associated with your Mac. To modify it, first sign out of all applications that use the Apple ID. These include apps such as iTunes, the App Store and FaceTime. While logged out, visit the My Apple ID website (link in Resources). Click the “Manage Your Apple ID” button and then sign in using your current ID or email and associated password. Use the links and fields on this page to change personal account preferences, privacy settings and contact information.

Changing the Account Name and Home Directory

Your Mac's account name, also referred to as its short name, must match the name of the home directory on the device. When changing one, you need to also change the other. To change both values, log out of your current account and sign in to an administrator account. If yours is the only account on the Mac, create a new administrator account through the Users & Groups section of System Preferences. You can't change this information on your primary account while logged in to the account itself. Log in using the new administrator account, open the Finder, click the home directory for your primary account and enter a new name. Click the "Apple" logo in the top corner of your screen, select "System Preferences" and then choose "Users & Groups." Click the "Lock" icon in the bottom corner and enter your account password. Hold down the "Control" key, click the name of your primary user account (not the one you're currently logged in to) and select "Advanced Options." Enter the new account name in the "Account Name" field. This must be the same as the new name you entered for the home directory. Click the "Browse" button next to the Home Directory field and select the home directory you just renamed. Click "OK" when you are finished.

Disabling Find My Mac

If you are selling your computer or have recently purchased a Mac that still has the previous owner's iCloud account associated with it, take a moment to turn off the Find My Mac feature so that the previous owner can't track you. Click the "Apple" menu, select "System Preferences" and click "iCloud." Remove the check mark from the "Find My Mac" check box, sign out of iCloud and confirm you want to remove iCloud data, when prompted.

Changing Your Computer Name

The Computer Name on a Mac is used by other devices on the same network when you attempt to connect to them. If you pair devices via Bluetooth, for instance, this name is what the other devices see. The Computer Name is also used by the Finder app. To change the Computer Name, click the “Apple” menu in the upper-left corner of your Mac's screen and choose “System Preferences.” Select “Sharing” on the System Preferences dialog and change the name in the Computer Name field. Depending on your settings, you may need to click the "Lock" icon and enter your administrator password before you can edit the Computer Name.

Editing Other Owner Email Addresses

In addition to the primary email address tied to your account, each Apple ID has up to three other email addresses associated with it: the rescue email, the alternate email and the notification email. Each serves a particular purpose. The rescue email, for instance, is used when someone attempts to hijack your account. The alternate email is used by Apple as a secondary contact method. The notification email is used to convey certain types of announcements. To change any of these, visit the My Apple ID website (link in Resources), click “Manage Your Apple ID” and log in using the account associated with your Mac. Click “Edit” next to the email address you want to change. To add an email address, click “Add.”

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About the Author

Andrew Tennyson has been writing about culture, technology, health and a variety of other subjects since 2003. He has been published in The Gazette, DTR and ZCom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Fine Arts in writing.

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