I have an shared OSX machine (now running Yosemite) that is used by a large group of people, most of which are not normally Mac users. A couple of the most regulars such as myself that need persistent storage have accounts of our own with things costomized the way we like them. Anybody else sitting down at the machine uses the guest account and everything is nuked when they logout.

This arrangement works pretty well, but the system default settings used for the guest account are less than ideal. For one thing the mouse is absurdly slow and needs speeding up just to stay on the table trying to get across the screen. There are also some language and keyboard settings that frequently get set even for temporary use.

  1. How can I set values in System Preferences in such a way that they will be the base system default and get used for guest logins?

  2. Additionally is it possible to coustomize the default dock contents to make it easier on users unfamiliar with OSX to find the apps they need access to on this system?

1 Answer 1


First of all you may need to unhide the hiden files so open terminal and run those commands :

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

killall Finder

To switch back, do the same but substitute FALSE for TRUE.

Now Login to your guest account, there set chrome as your default browser (or even Firefox) Then do not logout ! This would erase your session, so use the on the top right corner use the swich user drop down menue, Now that you are back again in your Admin account, Find the new temporary guest home folder, under


Select all the folders inside of it, And copy them in :

 /System/Library/User Template/English.lproj/    

English or whatever your languish is if you are using your computer in french this should be :

  /System/Library/User Template/French.lproj/    

as you can see in this folder there was the defaults folders for the guest account By modifying them you have just modified default appearance of the guest user account You may want to save this folder in a safe place before, in case you want to undo your work.

For reference , You just have to follow the steps as shown in this video :


Or if you prefer text version :


  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 19, 2015 at 17:11
  • Roooh you are so complicated ! ok I will do my best ... Feb 20, 2015 at 17:39
  • lots better [-1 wasn't me, btw]
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 20, 2015 at 17:49
  • Thanks, did you try it out ? very impressing isn't it ? Feb 20, 2015 at 18:16
  • This basically worked! However after restarting & logging into Guest, it now always asks “create new keychain/update password (there is no password)” etc. Any idea how to make it just create a new keychain every time without asking? It’s really bugging my coworker.
    – Demis
    Sep 27, 2019 at 23:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .