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I know a Mac volume can be renamed... obviously.

But if you look at the output of diskutil you will see that a volume also has a "device name" that corresponds to the name it was given when it was formatted:

diskutil info /dev/disk0s1 | grep 'Media Name'

Running it on your root volume you will probably get "Macintosh HD" (or else something like "Untitled 1" if that's how you left it when formatting in Disk Utility). It seems this doesn't change when you rename the volume after the fact.

Why do these different names for the same volume exist?

Does anything even refer to this hidden name?

Can it be changed?

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Why? Because I want to have control on my partition names, and no one else... Fact is that starting with Lion, the behaviour of the "Device / Media Name" was changed: On the first creation of a partition or after every formatting of it, Apple freezes this "first" Volume Name of this partition/volume into the Device / Media Name. Only re-initializing ("formatting") or repartitioning with destroying the data on this volume would help. To get rid of an unwanted previous name now, I'd have to backup all (in my case) 700 GB of data from my main system volume, reinitialize it to its new name "VK_Lio – user12323 Oct 18 '11 at 10:53
up vote 2 down vote accepted


The Device / Media Name is set when a partition is created on a disk. The only way you could rename the "startup partition" would be to startup from another drive. The initial name is set by Apple.

On Lion you will most likely find the following device names:

disk0: The make and model of your drive

  • You'll never change this.

disk0s1: "EFI system partition"

  • Extended firmware for your drive is stored here - you won't be changing this one either.

disk0s2: "Customer"

  • Named for you, Apple's "customer" this is where your files are stored.

disk0s3: "Recovery HD"

  • Apple stores a clean install of the OS here to make restoring your computer easier.

If you add your own custom partition to the mix you will find that Apple's tools (i.e. Disk Utility) will match the visible name and the device name.

All of that said there's no reason you should worry about changing this name. Nothing will reference it at the CLI or GUI level.

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Thanks, I just assumed the system volume would be called "Macintosh HD"; you're right that it's actually called "Customer" while the visible name is "Macintosh HD". So what you're saying is that one name is at the partition level, and the other is the filesystem? Still, I'm curious if it can be changed at all, without repartitioning. – Andrew Vit Aug 28 '11 at 15:41
There is no way to change it using Apple's GUI tools or diskutil there may be a lower level Unix tool out there someplace that would change it but I'm not sure why you would want to? – Samuel Mikel Bowles Aug 28 '11 at 18:19

The "Device / Media Name" is the partition label from the disk's partition map (GPT - GUID Partition Table).

To change the label for a volume, you'll need to use the terminal.

  1. Get the disk number of interest: diskutil list
  2. Show the current partition labels (note the index of the entry you would like to change): sudo gpt show /dev/disk0 (replace disk0 with the disk number from step 1)
  3. Eject the disk from the Finder (or use the unmount terminal command if you'd like). If you don't do this, you may get a Resource busy error message during the following step.
  4. Change the partition label as desired: sudo gpt label -i 2 -l "My New Partition Label" /dev/rdisk0 (replace 0 with the disk number from step 1 and replace 2 with the index number from step 2)
  5. (optional) Verify the changes by either repeating step 2 or typing: diskutil info disk0s2

For more information see the manual page for the gpt command-line tool: man gpt

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Typo in this answer: "get" should be "gpt." – Calion Dec 21 '14 at 4:11

I can suggest one reason why you would. In our network, the image for all MacBooks has three partitions:

  • One is called Macintosh HD.
  • One is called DATA
  • One is called Recovery

Macintosh HD is the system partition, DATA is the user partition, and of course Recovery is for the recovery console for Lion.

Now lets say the DATA partition name has been changed to something like "[" which always happens. Then if you are unlucky and the user restarts their MacBook, the user login box disappears and good luck retrieving it.

You have to change the DATA partition back to its original name from "[" to "DATA" for this to be fixed.

Luckily, we always backup our user's MacBooks; if we were to re-image, not a huge amount of stuff is lost.

If an easier solution is found to rename the partition, I would appreciate anyone who shares this.

Kind Regards,


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