I'm currently reading a book, The Complete Privacy and Security Desk Reference; Vol. 1: Digital by Michael Bazzell and Justin Carroll.

They specify many different types of user accounts and insist that you create several for the different levels of security involved in utilizing each.

I'm planning to follow their instructions to make multiple user profiles on my MacBook Pro for security purposes.

My question is how would I go about keeping the programs downloaded to each user profile synched without leaving my chosen user profile?

Do I always have to sign on to each profile and independently download separate programs or is there a system-wide utility for downloading and running programs?

  • 2
    What is a profile? What is the system command? There are many things but you use the singular so you need to explain what the one thing is. – mmmmmm Apr 14 '17 at 0:08
  • 1. Somehow you are mixing user accounts and user profiles. 2. You mention a book (now only visible in the edit history) but you don't cite the relevant parts regarding the security implications using several accounts/(profiles). 3. Download an app ≠ Installation. 4. Installation ≠ Running 5...6... – klanomath Apr 14 '17 at 15:10

You can't have user profiles on macOS (at least not as such), but you can create different user accounts in System Preferences and use these for specific but different purposes (e.g. one account for gaming, one with all your personal documents, one for Internet access, one for your financial stuff, one account for system administration etc.). As long as you only give Administration privileges to the system administration account and apply tight control on data shared between the accounts this may work quite well.

As for applications, you usually install them in /Applications anyway which makes them available to all users. What probably would defeat the purpose of the whole endeavor though is to come up with an elaborate scheme to share user-specific configurations between accounts. So if you happen to use Numbers or Pages in several user accounts you will need to set preferences individually in each account.

Having said that, I doubt that macOS in its current form (with iCloud access more or less built-in in a lot of background stuff) really allows this kind of separation. The hassle of switching accounts all the time and of tightly controlling data exchange between them probably outweighs the gain in security (of course, keeping the Administrator separated from the everyday user account is always a good idea).

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