Home > Mac administration, Mac OS X > Creating mobile accounts using createmobileaccount is not working on OS X 10.10.3

Creating mobile accounts using createmobileaccount is not working on OS X 10.10.3

Following the release of OS X 10.10.3, I noticed in my testing that I was no longer able to create Active Directory mobile user accounts using the /System/Library/CoreServices/ManagedClient.app/Contents/Resources/createmobileaccount tool.

The process of using the createmobileaccount tool usually works like this:

  1. Open Terminal or run a script
  2. Run the following command with root privileges:
/System/Library/CoreServices/ManagedClient.app/Contents/Resources/createmobileaccount -n network_account_username_goes_here

What normally happens is a new mobile account and home folder are then set up on the Mac for the network_account_username_goes_here account. On 10.10.3, I’m receiving an error indicating that the mobile account could not be created.

To try to narrow down if it was an issue specific to Active Directory account, I tested against both my shop’s Active Directory domain and OpenLDAP domain. In both cases, I received similar errors.

Active Directory on OS X 10.10.3


OpenLDAP on OS X 10.10.3


To verify that this was a 10.10.3-specific issue, I re-ran my tests in a 10.10.2 VM. On 10.10.2, my results were what I expected: A new mobile account and home folder were created on the VM.

Mobile account creation on OS X 10.10.2


Mobile account creation via the OS loginwindow

One piece of good news is that this does not appear to affect the creation of mobile accounts via the loginwindow. In my testing against my Active Directory domain, automatic mobile account creation via the loginwindow appears to work fine.

The process I used in my testing looked like this:

  1. Bind test Mac running OS X 10.10.3 to my shop’s Active Directory domain, with mobile account creation enabled in the Apple Active Directory plug-in’s settings.
  2. Verify that the test account was not present as a mobile account on the Mac
  3. Log in with the test account’s credentials at the loginwindow

The results were what I expected: A new mobile account and home folder were created on the test Mac.

To help get this issue fixed, I’ve filed a bug report. For those interested in duping it, it’s bug ID 20482382.

Update 4-10-2015: My bug report has been closed as a duplicate of bug ID 20295898. If you want to file a bug report that dupes mine, please use the following bug ID to do so:

Bug ID 20295898

For those interested in the details, I’ve also posted the bug report to Open Radar:


  1. James Trater
    April 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Nice catch RIch!

    It looks like if you create the home directory (mkdir /Users/username) and set the ownership on the directory properly before running createmobileaccount, then it will succeed.

    I’ve been working to modify one of our scripts and the workaround makes it a little ugly, but it does seem to work.

    • James Trater
      April 10, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      One downside of this approach is that it doesn’t seem to pull in the default user template.

  2. Mark
    April 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Ugh. Having the same problem. Existing mobile accounts work, but new ones don’t.
    The workaround of creating the user dir locally first ins’t working for me, either.
    I started doing this because
    a) Too many applications don’t work correctly out of the box with network homes (at one point Safari!!!! was one of the broken applications) and
    b) the WGM “make mobile account on login” failed to do its job.
    So I scripted up a lgoinHook to do the work. And it worked for 10.9.x and 10.10.x until the .3 update. Apple, why, oh why, do you break system utilities with these updates?

  3. tl
    April 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    As James pointed out, it works, if you first create the user account manually by mkdir /Users/username_goes_here and then change the owner by chown -R username_goes_here /Users/username_goes_here.

  4. April 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    So a little addition to the work around in order to get it to pull the user template…

    1) mkdir /Users/username
    2) sudo chown -R username /Users/username
    3) sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/ManagedClient.app/Contents/Resources/createmobileaccount -n username
    4) sudo rm -r /Users/username
    5) sudo createhomedir -c -u username

    That should do it. This has worked for me thus far.

    • Michael
      May 6, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      I can now see the user in the users and groups but it still won’t login to the machine if there is not an existing connection during authentication. what am I missing? can I do a runas or SU in terminal for it to cache the password?

    • Matthew
      November 13, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      Replace line 3 with: sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/ManagedClient.app/Contents/Resources/createmobileaccount –v –P –n username and it’ll cache the password

  5. atoss
    May 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    This is a huge problem for me. I have a script that runs in a lab auto-creates users from student’s AD accounts. I ran updates on the Macs and now the script is hosed. Thank you for confirming what I was starting to suspect that it was the 10.10.3 update that killed my script. I traced the script failures back to mobile account creation. I sure hope this gets fixed soon.

  6. Michael S.
    June 8, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    I myself was trying to get the createmobileaccount command to work but for some reason I couldn’t. Then this article confirmed that since I was testing in 10.10.3 this wouldn’t work. Please fix this soon Apple…but thanks users for a temporary work around.

  7. Sam Walker
    November 12, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    This seems to be working in 10.11.1 . Doesn’t even give the non-critical errors it used to. Not sure which intervening release fixed this.

  8. Cyrus Vahhaji
    December 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    FYI…it appears this issue has been resolved in 10.10.5. At least I couldn’t create the account using the method Richard has outlined here which I have used successfully prior to 10.10.5. So decided to create account using createmobileaccount tool and it worked. So it appears to have been fixed in 10.10.5

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