Archive for March 4, 2023

Setting a user account to automatically log in using sysadminctl on macOS Ventura

March 4, 2023 2 comments

On macOS, it’s possible to set an account to automatically log in. However, up until macOS Ventura, there hasn’t been an Apple command line tool available which will do the following:

  • Set the desired account to automatically log in
  • Create the /etc/kcpassword file

Setting the desired account to log in could be accomplished by running the following command with root privileges:

/usr/bin/defaults write /Library/Preferences/ autoLoginUser -string username_goes_here

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The hard part was correctly creating the /etc/kcpassword file, which stores an obfuscated copy of the password used by the account which is being set for auto-login. Without that file properly created and available in the specified location, the automatic login process would fail. For those interested in how the kcpassword file is set up, please see the link below:

There have been several tools built by the community which successfully create the kcpassword file, but Apple themselves hadn’t provided a way to do this in macOS Monterey or earlier, outside of using the GUI for Users & Groups in System Preferences.

Screen Shot 2023 03 04 at 12 49 59 PM

As of macOS Ventura, the sysadminctl command line tool has been updated with functionality to enable and disable auto-login for specified accounts. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Categories: Mac administration, macOS
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