createhomedir - macOS


The createhomedir command in macOS is used to create home directories for local and network user accounts. Primarily utilized by system administrators, this command ensures that user accounts have the necessary directory structure set up on the machine or network server. It is most effective in environments where multiple user accounts are managed simultaneously, such as schools or corporate settings.


The basic syntax of the createhomedir command is:

createhomedir [-c] [-u username | -l | -s | -n]
  • -c: Creates a home directory based on a configuration file instead of default settings.
  • -u username: Specifies a single user’s short username for whom the home directory should be created.
  • -l: Indicates that home directories will be created for all local user accounts.
  • -s: Instructs the command to create directories only for users who don’t already have one.
  • -n: Notifies the terminal with a message once the home directory is successfully created.


  • -c: Use this option when you have a custom configuration file that differs from the system defaults. It allows more control over the directories and settings applied during creation.
  • -u username: Target a specific user’s home directory creation, useful when adding new users to a system.
  • -l: Applicable in scenarios where bulk user setups are required, such as initial system setups or additions of multiple users.
  • -s: Useful for maintenance purposes to ensure all users have directories without affecting existing setups.
  • -n: Increases verbosity which can be helpful for debugging or confirmation during scripted operations.


  1. Create a home directory for a specific user:

    createhomedir -u johndoe
  2. Create home directories for all local users:

    createhomedir -l
  3. Create missing home directories without touching existing ones:

    createhomedir -s
  4. Create a home directory with a notification:

    createhomedir -u johndoe -n

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: Ensure you run createhomedir with sufficient privileges (typically as a root or with sudo).
  • User Not Found: If the specified user does not exist, the command fails. Verify usernames with dscl . -list /Users.
  • Configuration Errors: Misconfigured custom settings via the -c flag can lead to unexpected results. Always backup configurations before applying changes.


The createhomedir command can be integrated into larger shell scripts to automate the setup process for new users in an organization. It pairs well with user creation commands like dscl:

# Create a new user and setup home directory
dscl . -create /Users/newuser UserShell /bin/bash
dscl . -create /Users/newuser RealName "New User"
dscl . -create /Users/newuser UniqueID 1001
dscl . -create /Users/newuser PrimaryGroupID 80
dscl . -create /Users/newuser NFSHomeDirectory /Local/Users/newuser
createhomedir -u newuser
  • dscl (Directory Service command line utility): Use for managing users and groups.
  • id: Displays user and group information for a specified user.

Additional documentation can be found on the official Apple Support Page or man pages (man createhomedir in Terminal).