What is this?: "require an administrator password to access system wide preferences"

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Good User, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Good User macrumors member

    Good User

    Jul 23, 2014
    in Settings-->Security & Privacy-->Advanced... button there are two tick boxes that the lower one is apparently about asking or not asking the password when you click on the lock icon, Am I right? Why does my mac always asks for a password while I wanna change settings? There no difference if I check or Uncheck this option, I am confused! so What does it do?
    BTW, Is there a difference between administrator and login password that I have? I only have one account on my mac with one login password, should I set an administrator password separately?

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  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Your Login password is for logging in to your admin account, and also the password for your admin user.
    There is no difference, it's all about allowing the full use of your system, and knowing that there are parts of your system that you may want that extra level of "safety", to maybe help you take care of your system, and make you think (however briefly) about what you are doing :D

    In that security pref pane, where you can change that setting, you can click on the "?", which will show you a little detail.
    That would be relevant if you have another user account (such as for a child, or some other user that you want to provide an account, but don't want that user to change settings that might be important for you, or even to disable parts of your system without your knowledge, etc.
    And, as you have discovered, it's not really relevant when you have only one, admin user on your system, because you already know your own admin password :)

    Additional info (some of it my own opinion): Some users suggest that you have admin account (which you already have), then add a standard user account, and use THAT account for the extra security that configuration might offer. The standard user does not have permission to do much of anything in settings, and would need to input both the account name and password of an admin account on your Mac to change those settings.
    And, you will probably realize after you use your new Mac for a while, that those settings that need a password to unlock, are settings that you really don't change very often, once you discover the setup that you prefer.
  3. Good User thread starter macrumors member

    Good User

    Jul 23, 2014
    I know it now.
    Thanks for your complete answer plus the additional security tip:) best wishes for you.
  4. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    The setting is unfortunately not labelled well. Basically, some sections in System Preferences have a lock in the lower-left corner and block access to certain system-wide or device-related settings as long as the corresponding lock is closed. With this setting disabled, some of these locks are opened for you when you launch System Preferences. Enabling will force you to enter a password first. It primarily affects administrator accounts, not standard accounts (although opening one lock will open all the others with this setting disabled as long as System Preferences is open, thus giving standards users access to these settings if the administrator forgets to close the lock). I believe it concerns settings such as startup disk, sharing services, printers, energy settings and Time Machine.

    It is generally advisable to enable this setting, even if you are just running with a single account. System Preferences has had a bit of a reputation for loopholes in the past, as it was too generous with access for certain settings, whereas a Terminal user would have had to use sudo to get this level of access. In general, I recommend using a standard account as suggested by DeltaMac. It is simple to set up and easy to manage, plus safer.
  5. rceee macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2007
    New Orleans
    Sorry to revive an older thread. But I like this tip about creating a standard user account and not using the administrator account day-to-day.

    But does anyone know what potential problems this could cause? I mean for one thing, do you have to reinstall all of your software, or are apps system-wide? Do you lose access to all of your keychain data? Safari browsing saved data like logins, credit cards, etc? Things like that?
  6. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    Keychain and Safari preferences are per user account. Apps are system wide for all users, unless installed in a specific user Applications folder. So apps don't need to be reinstalled again.

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