How to enable ROOT and run apps as ROOT account in macOS

In macOS, certain parts of the file system are not available by default, even if you are the administrator. But if you use the root user on your Mac, you get to read and write rights to the entire file system.

You can even access files from another user’s account. This is useful, for example, if you have forgotten your username or password or if an ex-employee leaves the company without sharing the login information for his company laptop.

By enabling the root user to open apps, you have complete control over your Mac. Unfortunately, while this can be useful for advanced users, it is much easier to damage your Mac. Apple is fully aware of this and has disabled the root user by default.

This article will tell you how to open apps as “root” to gain administrator rights over an application or the macOS operating system.

How to open an app as Root in macOS

To open apps as root, you need to use the Terminal app. The terminal is a command-line app that allows you to quickly take control of your operating system and make changes.

Use the Sudo command to run apps as root

Click on the Apps folder and open the Terminal app. You can find this app in the Utilities folder and click on Terminal.

Now open the Apps folder on your Mac, where all the apps are visible. Next, Right-click on the app you want to run as root administrator. Then click on “Show package contents”.

If it is an open file, then skip the above step. For the purposes of this example, I will assume that you are trying to start an app.

Show package contents

In most cases, you will click through to the “Contents” folder and then click on the “macOS” folder.

In the “macOS” folder, you will find one or more “Executable Unix File(s)”. Make sure you have the correct executable file in front of you. Click on it once to select the file.

Unix Executable file

Now go back to the Terminal window. You will now run the executable Unix file as the root administrator.

In the Terminal window, type:

sudo {space} and then drag the executable Unix file into the Terminal window behind “sudo “.

Run app as root user on mac

You will see that the app’s location will now appear after “sudo “. Then enter the administrator password of your Mac and press enter. The app will run as root administrator in macOS.

The root user is an administrator account, which means it has a different profile than the user you are logged in with by default in macOS.

If you open an app as root, you will not get the familiar custom app settings that the app already has from your account. So any app settings or changes as a root user in the app.

Enable root account in macOS

You can also enable the root user in macOS. Here’s how to enable the root account.

Open a Terminal window, press the Command + spacebar key combination. Then, in the Spotlight search window type: Terminal and open the app.

In Terminal type the following command:

dsenableroot

Then enter your administrator account password once and then a strong root password twice. After that, the root account is enabled in macOS.

Enable root account on Mac

Next, log out of your Mac and click “Other User” on the login screen.

Login as root account in Mac

Enter “root” as the user and the root password. You are now logged in as root in macOS.

To disable the root user, use the command:

dsenableroot -d

follow the steps to block the root account.

I hope this guide has helped you. Thank you for reading!

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