I'm not sure how this machine was setup, but I do have control over it now as a local admin.

I need to enable fast user switching, but the option is greyed out along with some others. This is after unlocking the changes padlock.

Users and Groups

Is there anything I can do to reenable these options?

  • 1
    Apple published some OS X Security Configuration Guides. I can't find one for 10.8, but the one for 10.6 has a script (on page 253) that includes the comment "Disable fast user switching", followed by sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences MultipleSessionEnabled -bool NO. Perhaps try that with -bool YES? Oh: also, here is a similar question with no answers.
    – Ashley
    Oct 17, 2013 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


This isn't a real fix, but I finally found a workaround. Even when fast user switching is disabled, you can still invoke this feature from the command line by running:

"/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession" -suspend

This leaves your session running and goes back to the login screen.

I created an alias for this in my .bashrc, good enough for now.


The first step is to unlock the preference pane with an administrator user and password. Your user doesn't need to be an administrator - you just need to authenticate as one or have one help out to enable fast user switching.

Next step, check for MCX or MDM restrictions on your Mac to be sure an administrator hasn't disabled these intentionally.

  • The question specifically states that they unlocked the prefs pane, as have I, and the option is still grayed out.
    – hepcat72
    May 29, 2020 at 16:10
  • That’s cool @hepcat72 Thanks for reinforcing that. My experience is until I see a screen shot of it unlocked - it can’t be trusted to be unlocked. In fact, even when it shows unlocked it sometimes does not. You can see that in the lack of change in the UI when you click lock and unlock. I’ll add this as an edit in case it helps others even if it’s not useful for you or the OP.
    – bmike
    May 29, 2020 at 17:46
  • In my case, the option is managed by my university. I just confirmed that moments ago with the department admins. Even though they changed the department default, the global default overrides it. They confirmed this on other systems as well.
    – hepcat72
    May 29, 2020 at 17:49
  • @hepcat72 Checking for MDM would be an excellent edit / answer. MDM didn't exist then this was asked, but MCX restrictions did.
    – bmike
    May 29, 2020 at 17:51
  • Then feel free to add it to your answer. I'm not here for rep. - ah, I see you did.
    – hepcat72
    May 29, 2020 at 18:23

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