Related Tutorials

Become Root

Once you’ve started the terminal, you’ll sometimes want to become root, or the superuser. The root account is capable of doing anything on the computer, including destroying important files! Be careful, and use the power wisely.

There are multiple ways to enable and become root on Mac OS X. We will only use a single method for use in this documentation:

  • Assume the root account from a regular administrator account for the duration of the current Terminal session.

There are various other ways to become the root user; I suggest checking the the Apple Discussion Boards or with Google Groups if you should have an interest in them.

To become root for the purposes of this documentation, ensure that you’ve logged onto your Macintosh as an Administrator user; your default account is an Administrator. Then start a terminal. You should see something like this:

Mac OS X Terminal

Simply type sudo su. You’ll be prompted for a password. Enter your own password. The first time you do this, you’ll receive a message that essentially tells you to behave. Future sudo su commands won’t show this message, and until you logout from your account, you won’t even be prompted for a password again.