This guide is about the How to Access a Secret Login Console in Mac OS. I will try my best so that you understand this guide very well. I hope you all like this guide How to Access a Secret Login Console in Mac OS.
Some versions of Mac OS support the ability to log in to any user account directly from the command line directly from the traditional login screen, bypassing the familiar Mac interface. Instead, you’re virtually logging in to the user directly on the terminal (a bit like using an ssh client to connect to an SSH server) without having to download a desktop, Finder, WindowServer, or other graphical user interface decorations. This can come in handy for advanced users who need quick access to the entire command line from a specific user account, but want to skip full login and Mac OS download. Keep in mind, however, that not all versions of system software support this feature, so finding it requires some discovery.
Before you dive, understand that this is really only for advanced Mac users who are completely happy with the command line environment. It is also important to note that the hidden logon console / terminal is completely different from single-user mode or recovery mode terminal, which is supported on all versions of Mac and Mac OS. First, the Console Login trick allows you to log in directly to any user’s Mac with user-level permissions, while Single User Mode always uses an administrator ID when many system services and processes are disabled and is for administrative purposes. Two common uses of single-user mode are repairing the disk with fsck and changing the administrator password or other troubleshooting tasks. Single-user mode and recovery terminal are really the best for troubleshooting and are not a suitable environment for more common command line interactions, but direct console logon can be used in the same way as Terminal.
Does the MacOS version support the login terminal / console?
Not all versions of Mac OS or Mac OS X support logging in to the console. The console login feature seems to be supported by Mac OS X 10.9.x (Mavericks), 10.8.x (Mountain lion), 10.7.x (Lion), 10.6.x (Snow Leopard), Leopard, Tiger, etc., but may or may not be supported by MacoS Mojave (10.14) macOS 10.13.x (High Sierra), macOS 10.12.6 (Sierra), OS X 10.11.6 (El Capitan), or 10.10 Yosemite. Feel free to indicate in the comments below if you succeed here or not, and in your system software version.
You can try enabling the sign-in console in Mac OS / Mac OS X with the following default command, then restart your Mac, then follow the instructions below to see if you can access the sign-in screen terminal:
default sudo settings type /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow.plist “DisableConsoleAccess” NO
If you try to download the console from the sign-in screen to a supported Mac, you’ll either see a blank black screen that seems inevitable and force you to restart your Mac, or you’ll see a flashing white text on the screen for a moment and then a blank black screen that also requires a restart. If you know a way to work around this, please share with us in the comments.
How to access the terminal on the login screen in Mac OS
Note that auto-login must be turned off on your Mac, otherwise you will not have access to the login screen at startup to access the console. Keep in mind that not all versions of Mac OS support this feature.
- Restart your Mac as usual
- On the login screen, select Other
- Type the following for the user name, and then press return – no password required yet
- Press the Return key
- If this succeeds, a command prompt will appear on the command line, as if you had just started a unix environment without a windowed environment. Now enter your username and password to log in directly to the command line as that user.
- NOTE: If it fails, the screen will turn black and you will have to force your Mac to restart by holding down the power button to exit.
Assuming you’re logged in to the sign-in console, you have full access to everything in a normal terminal environment, but without any Mac OS graphical user interface. To exit this environment, restart the shutdown or restart commands from the command line.
Note that you can access the “Other” field when hiding the login username list or when the username is enabled on the login screen, but it does not work when automatic login is enabled.
This is a little-known trick, and that it is supported in some versions of Mac OS, but not in others, it will further muddy water when and where it works, and if support has been sought for modern versions (it seems to be missing the latest macOS releases). MacWorld referred to the secret login terminal some time ago and revealed a discussion of the trick since 2002, suggesting that console login may work on all earlier versions of Mac OS X, but not the latest versions. In order to finally determine which versions support this feature, we need to search for users in many new Mac OS releases. I was able to successfully access the terminal through the sign-in console on a Mac running Mavericks, but not on a Mac with High Sierra or Sierra, for example. It is entirely possible that this feature will be disabled in modern macOS releases, so this only applies to older Mac OS X system software.
Were you able to use the sign-in console on your Mac or your version of Mac OS? Share your experience in the comments below, and if you know of any other little-known tips for displaying your login terminal, please share them as well.
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