I know how to enable root account on Mac OS X Leopard, but not Snow Leopard or newer OS X versions. How can I do it?

  • 4
    Why do you want to enable it? There's nothing I do that I can't just as conveniently do with sudo. – David Thornley Sep 21 '09 at 17:00
  • 1
    Sometimes even Apple tells you to enable the root user for some administrative tasks that are just easier using root: support.apple.com/kb/HT1428 – Arjan Oct 23 '09 at 8:36
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The steps are covered in the article Enable root account in Snow Leopard and this Apple support page. Directory Utility is accessible through System Preferences on all versions of OS X since 10.6.

  1. Go to System Preferences » Users & Groups, then click the padlock. Enter your password.
  2. Click Login Options, then Join… in the right pane
  3. In the new window, click Open Directory Utility…
  4. From the Edit menu, select Enable Root User.
  5. Select Change Root Password from the Edit menu and type in the new root password.
  6. Click the padlock icon to lock the application again.

If you need a full root shell and find sudoing cumbersome, you can do:

sudo su -

That will give you a normal UID 0 shell to play with.

  • 2
    'sudo -i' does the same thing afaik. – Rich Bradshaw Sep 23 '09 at 18:11
  • 1
    I do it this way on the linux boxes I use too. There is no reason to have a root account anymore. – sal Oct 23 '09 at 13:45

Reference this link, do as follows:

How to Enable the Root User Account in Mac OS X

Terminal user can make it like this:

dsenableroot    #enable
dsenableroot -d #disable
  • Wow! I wish I know this years ago. – Hai Vu May 15 '15 at 13:16

Type sudo passwd then su - will work with the new password.

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