Check tutorial of How to Log Out Another User Without Logging In On Mac OS X
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For Macs that have multiple user accounts on one computer, sometimes you log in to multiple user accounts at the same time. This keeps the previous user account logged in while another user account session is opened. There is really nothing wrong with that apart from reducing the available resources, but sometimes you may want to log out of the other user account. The typical action to log out of another user account in OS X is to switch to that account, log out from the Apple menu, and then return to the desired account with a different login. A bit of a hassle, right? Another option is to force the other user account to log out without logging back into the Mac.
Note that we said to log out the other account because how this actually works is to force stop the target user’s login process. Like force quit elsewhere, using this to force the target user to log out will cause any open application on their account to quit and close without any storage or caching, which can result in accidental data loss because none of the open files, data would be saved. If you’re comfortable with that, keep learning how to log out of another user account without logging in to that user account first. If you are not comfortable with that, just log back into that user account and log it out manually after saving files.
How to Force log out user accounts on Mac without logging in
This will log out any target user account in Mac OS X without having to log in again, it works the same in all versions of OS X.
- Launch Activity Monitor from Spotlight (Command + Spacebar) or via / Applications / Utilities /
- In the ‘View’ menu, choose ‘All processes’
- Use the search box in the top right corner of Activity Monitor to search for “loginwindow” – use the exact syntax
- Select the ‘login window’ process associated with the user account you want to log out
- Click (X) End Process button and verify that you want to exit the login window process for that user, acknowledging that it will log out the related user account
- Enter the admin password when prompted, or else just choose “Force Quit” and continue, exit Activity Monitor when done
By force quitting the target login window process, you immediately log out that target user and kill all their applications and processes.
Since you are targeting the user account name with this method, there is no visual clue such as a profile picture to aid in identification, so make sure you choose the correct user account to target for the forced logout procedure. As mentioned before, it will force close all applications and processes on the target logged in user account which may result in accidental data loss on that user account. This generally makes the task best reserved for advanced Mac users, although it is clearly accessible by all user accounts, assuming you have an administrator password to override the other logged in user account.
If you are wondering, this way you can log out any user account by targeting the corresponding process ID “loginwindow” and exit it, be it another user account on the Mac that is logged in, a guest user account, a hidden account, or even yourself. Of course, if you abort the ‘login window’ process of your own user account, you effectively log yourself out in a forced way, which is rarely desirable.
If you find yourself doing this often, it may be a better solution to set up up automatically log out for the user accounts on a Mac so that they automatically log themselves out after a period of inactivity in the manner intended by OS X, preserving applications, files, and storage states. That approach is essentially the same as using the Apple menu> “Sign out username” method, and is much gentler than force quitting a low-level user process.
Do you know of any other method to log out another user account without having to log back in right away, or without killing the login window ID of its users? Let us know in the comments!
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