Can anyone tell me how to modify a user and add them to a group in terminal on SL (10.6.1)?

It seems that usermod is not used by Mac.

4 Answers 4


dscl is the usual way to modify any stuff from Directory Services (whether local or remote) from the command line. See the dscl manpage for all the info (or the local one if you are not running 10.6). Google turns up many examples of how to use it (including many from macosxhints.com).


Adding a user:

dscl . append /Groups/admin GroupMembership usershortname

Removing a user: (from the group not the system)

dscl . delete /Groups/admin GroupMembership usershortname

Reading the membership of the admin group:

dscl . read /Groups/admin GroupMembership

To add an example, this is how you can modify someones homedirectory:

dscl . -create /Users/postgres NFSHomeDirectory /opt/local/var/db/postgresql84

You can see also properties for an object using the read command:

dscl . -read /Users/postgres

You're correct, these commands are not included in OSX. Although there is a port of adduser for Mac, so you can add a user and change their groups from the command line. Command info here.

  • I am looking more so for the modifying a user and adding them to a specific group
    – ricbax
    Oct 25, 2009 at 1:12
  • this tool can do both.
    – user1931
    Oct 25, 2009 at 2:06

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