Recommendations on how to set up a new iMac to be shared with wife?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by difflch, May 5, 2011.

  1. difflch macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2011
    Good morning!
    I just purchased my first Mac yesterday -- a new iMac -- that I will be sharing with my wife as a family desktop.
    Does anybody have any recommendations / tips or links to guides that would help me configure the iMac to be used by the two of us?
    I am particularly interested in if it makes more sense to set up two individual user accounts or a single account for us. While we'd probably both like our own backgrounds and bookmarks, etc, I am struggling a bit trying to figure out how we would use iTunes, Calendar, and other applications where we would like to share our media libraries and other information.
    Thanks in advance!! Chris.
  2. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    two people - one account = bad idea

    If you use MobileMe or Google it's easy enough to have shared calendars. The respective services have info about how to set that up.

    If you both want to use the same iTunes library, you should be able to set that up in a shared directory that both accounts can use.
  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    If you're going to have two separate users but want to share the same iTunes/iPhoto libraries, you have to put those libraries in a location that both users have access to, like the Macintosh HD > Users > Shared folder.

    If you hold down the OPTION key while you launch either iTunes or iPhoto, it should give you the option to create a new library. If you do that, navigate to the Shared folder, and create it there, you should be good to go. Your wife will need to also hold down the OPTION key when she first launches iTunes or iPhoto, then choose the option to open the new library you created.

    If you guys choose to use Fast User Switching (which leaves the other users programs running while the other person is using the computer), there may be some issues with iPhoto and iTunes sharing. If so, just remember to close iPhoto/iTunes before the other person starts using the computer.

    If you don't end up using two separate accounts, but are worried about keeping things organized, Mail and Calendar supports multiple mailboxes and calendars, so you can have individual ones within the same app. Address Book lets you group contacts, so you could create a group of yours and a group of hers.
  4. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Problem with iPhoto in sharing folder is database can become corrupted if you access it on your account and then wife goes on her account and accesses it.

    That's why they recommend putting the iPhoto library on an external drive or sparse image. Google for directions from Apple. And a sparse disk image bundle is a new version of sparse disk image that works with Time Machine better - one change doesn't mean backing up entire sparse image.

    Anyway I don't think iTunes has this problem with multiple users same account.
  5. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    Speaking from personal experience, for the sake of family accord (!) I'd set up two accounts - one for you and one for your wife.

    That way you can both create your own configurations that would therefore avoid the "why did you delete that file etc" syndrome! :)
  6. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    Create 2 Accounts under your System Settings/Accounts
    Make sure that the Mac's preferences is set to prompt for login (no auto login)
    For your iTunes library, I would put it in a 'common' place in the file system and after each of you log in, change your 'library location' to point to that same directory. I have ours setup on a network drive and we use the same iPhoto/iTunes library between multiple Macs.
    Calendar's are gonna need to have the same login information. I use MobileMe and have mine setup to use the full access (mail/calendar/contacts) and my wife's setup is only set (using the same login I use) to use calendar/contacts that way she doesn't get my mail in her inbox.
  7. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    As a free alternative to MobileMe, both of you create Google Calendar accounts then add both to iCal as CalDAV accounts. If you do that for both login names then you'll both be able to see and edit each other's calendars.
  8. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Then if you create two separate accounts then consider get one large external for backing up and another to hold ONE iTunes Library Account to another external. This way the two separate accounts can use the same iTunes folder (on the external) on each of their separate accounts. Just use a joint credit card account on the iTunes store Account.
  9. discounteggroll macrumors 6502


    Aug 6, 2006
    Greenwich, CT
    get a divorce and keep the iMac all for yourself.

    if that's not possible I would agree with others, make 2 separate admin accounts and have the iTunes/iPhoto/etc libraries on a large, FW/USB hard drive that's being backed up to another large, FW/USB hard drive with time machine.
  10. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    One account here for two users. Never had a problem, unless you count, "Honey, when are you gonna be done on the Mac?' as a problem. No logging out and logging in every time we hand off to each other. Simple.
  11. applefanDrew macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2010
    Yea here's a tip.....don't put your gf(s) numbers in address book. :D

    I kid I kid.
  12. difflch thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2011
    Thanks for all the help & suggestions -- I will try out the two accounts route and see how it goes. I was surprised that I could not find out more information / guidance on how to set up a Mac for family usage.

    It is strange to me that iCal can't share a calendar between two users on the same computer! I did check out the Google Calendar via CalDAV and that seems like it could work. We will try out a MobileMe trial and see how that goes, but it might be hard to beat free. :)

    One question -- is there a reason that most of you seemed to suggest an external drive to hold the iTunes / Photo libraries as opposed to the Users/Shared/ folder?

    I'll actually be using Lightroom so figuring out how to organize that will be fun too. :)
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    There are a few weaknesses like that, and the fact that you can't share the same Address Book.
    It's not necessary to use an external drive. Using iTunes from the shared folder works just fine.

  14. SWD macrumors member

    May 3, 2011
    I'm interested in this as well, but with 2 Macs. We've got an iMac, MacBook Pro, and 2 iPhones (along with many other Apple products). I would like to have 1 iTunes Library and 1 iPhoto Library, but accessible on both machines. We use MobileMe to sync calendars.

    We manage primarily using separate machines, and it works ok for the most part. If I want to use her MBP to do work it's fine, but Safari has her favs, logins, as well as mail and contacts. I've been using Chrome on both machines, but am finding myself slowly shifting back to safari.

    I guess the pipe dream is to have 2 accounts that share media libraries, but accessible on both machines. When will the iCloud come to save us?
  15. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I don't think iTunes has this problem, but the support article link a few posts back from Apple mentions that if you share an iPhoto library on a disk that isn't set to ignore permissions, it can cause problems. Your Macs internal disk does not ignore permissions.

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