When you enabled Find My Mac on Lion or ML, it creates a guest account for you.
In Lion clicking on the guest account would restart the computer into a Safari only mode.
In Mountain Lion the guest account is traditional account except the user's data is deleted when they log out.

What was the point in the Lion guest account, I heard something to do with helping to locate the Mac if you lose it, but I don't understand how having a guest account enabled and not normally in use helps? If someone finds a Mac, and happens not to steal it, how would logging into the guest account help? It seems like this is a very small use case, and not really enough to warrant having the feature, so I'm sure I'm missing something?

Why is Mountain Lion's guest account enabled when you enable iCloud/Find My Mac? What is the connection between them?

I can't see any reason to keep the guest account enabled on Mountain Lion?

3 Answers 3


The Guest account is enabled in Lion and ML for the Find my Mac feature as it enables the location function for the Find My Mac feature to work. Without the guest account, the location feature will not turn on and therefore will not work.

Disabling the Guest account will effectively disable usage of the Find My Mac feature.

  • but why is the location function dependant on an account. Does that mean you will only be able to locate the mac if it is logged into the guest account? (that seems like a very small chance)
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 18:43
  • Yes. The concept is that your normal account is password protected. The person stealing your Mac will not have the password, so they will attempt to use the Guest account. Once the guest account is started, location services will start.
    – hiiambo
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 19:14
  • Surely a thief would reinstall OSX first? I've been unable to boot before and have just copied my whole hard drive in recovery mode using Terminal without any password...
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 19:39
  • 1
    I can't comment as to Apple's decision making. A tech-savvy thief would just boot to System Recovery and reinstall. However, I assume Apple's thinking is someone swiping it at a coffee shop or school and trying to use it (and they are not technically savvy).
    – hiiambo
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 19:41
  • this is simply false. see my answer.
    – Alexander
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:30

The purpose of the guest account is to trick thieves into using the computer and hooking up to an internet connection (WiFi or ethernet). Doing so allows the computer to check with iCloud's servers and perform any outstanding actions (such as remote locking, wiping, pinging, etc.) and transmit it's location. It IS NOT necessary for the Find My Mac function to work, although having the computer limited to a single password-protected account disallows the thief from connecting to the internet for the aforementioned actions to occur.


See this Macworld article for a useful explanation of this behaviour.

  • 2
    When providing a link, try to filter out the most important content and paste it into your answer...
    – Michiel
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 14:42

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