11
$ dscl . list /users
_timed
_timezone
_tokend
_trustevaluationagent
_unknown
_update_sharing
_usbmuxd
_uucp
_warmd
_webauthserver
_windowserver
_www
_wwwproxy
_xserverdocs
daemon
Guest
nobody
Owner
Rob
root

Why is there a user called nobody?

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    Does nobody log in? Why does nobody log in? :) – C. Tewalt Jan 20 at 19:34
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    This is also common for other Unix-like systems, for example with NFS files are normally mapped to that user if you should not be able to control them (root squash) – eckes Jan 20 at 21:58
25

Those accounts are for systems processes and to restrict access to things like files and resources by group or user.

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    so user 'nobody' is a legit MACOS generated User? – roberto dulce Jan 18 at 19:21
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    Totally. Drop me your macOS build / version and I can dump the correct list for you. Nobody is everywhere, though. An ubiquitous non-account in most unixen @robertodulce – bmike Jan 18 at 19:29
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    @bmike "Nobody is everywhere" --- channeling Odysseus and the Cyclops? – Carl Witthoft Jan 19 at 14:04
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    I am a man of twists and turns and appreciate you noticing that human condition @CarlWitthoft – bmike Jan 19 at 14:34
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    @robertodulce: Most Unix and Linux systems have a nobody user; it's 100% standard for Unix systems. e.g. What is nobody user and group? / What is the purpose of the 'nobody' user?. On my Arch GNU/Linux system, it has UID=99, and shell /usr/bin/nologin. – Peter Cordes Jan 19 at 21:40
28

There are a lot of places in the OS where something has to be assigned to some user account. Each file and directory must be owned by some user account, every process (program) running must be running as some user account, etc. The "nobody" account serves mostly as a placeholder for files, processes, etc that don't really belong to any "real" account (even one of the other system accounts in the list).

Essentially, the "nobody" account serves as a way to restrict permissions and access to/from things that don't really belong to any "real" account.

It's also not unique to macOS at all; you'll find it (or an equivalent) on any unix/linux system, and probably many other OSes I'm less familiar with.

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