I am currently using microsoft AD on my windows machine to manage users and groups and access privileges,etc. But now I received a macbook and I wonder how or if there is a way to do AD operations on mac?

I've googled and found that macOS has a Directory Utility, but I opened it and I don't know how to use it or how to connect my domain to it? as when I open users it shows many things related to mac. I wonder how I can access to my domain machines, users, groups, etc.?

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  • I've not don'e any of this but you can join a Mac to Active Directory, but you might want to look into 3rd-party utility that makes it easier and more useful. A little google-fu should point you in the right direction. Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 15:51
  • In order to manage AD, your need AD Mgmt. Console. Since that only exists on Windows machines, you're not going to find it on a Mac. Use a VM and join that to AD so you can administer AD.
    – Allan
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 15:58
  • I just read _"I just received a macbook ... how to connect my domain to it" and just posted my answer on how to bind your MacBook to the AD domain, but now I am very confused. Are you saying you are a directory administrator for an AD domain, and you were issued a Mac for this purpose??? Or do you mean that you were part of the AD domain when you had a PC, and you'd like to access the same resources, authentication services, etc. that you had before? Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 17:11
  • @user3052786 yes I'm a directory admin for an AD domain
    – Tak
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 20:52
  • @Tak ...unless I'm missing something, someone somewhere had to have had a lapse in judgement or made a mistake. I'm assuming you didn't ask for a Mac? Was it meant to be a pseudo-thin client that uses RDP over a private connection of some kind to remote into an access terminal? You really only want to manage AD with windows server if you want any fine-grain control over it. Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


Open System Preferences → Users & Groups.

Click Login Options.

Click the Join button after Network Account Server

Bind your Mac to the directory. (You may have to click the lock to unlock System Preferences first.

The AD will then show up in the search paths in directory utility, and be available for selection in nodes.

  • but how I can add my active directory to this? is it gonna show up automatically?
    – Tak
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 9:04
  • @Tak I'm not quite sure I understand your question. Do you mean you don't know what you should put in for the server field? It would be the AD domain. But you're trying to adding your Mac to the active directory (sort of), not adding the directory to the Mac, I think? They would be two completely different things, and the latter I'm not sure is possible, which leads to more questions I'll post as a comment to your OP. Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 17:07
  • I'm trying to add the AD to the mac to be able to control the AD from my mac instead of using VM and windows
    – Tak
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 20:50

Secondarily, if you are intending to switch away from using AD (your OP was not clear on this) you can run Open Directory, which is a direct equivalent in many ways.

In some multi-platform environments, Open Directory is in use in concert with Active Directory, where the OD is populated from the AD: I can tell you from previous experience this configuration can work, though it requires you to develop some knowledge and skill with OD as well as your existing AD knowledge.

Here are some article with relevant details which may help:





hope that helps.

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