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Archived - Mac OS X 10.2: How to Change Ownership & Permissions Using the Finder

This document explains how to change item permissions in Mac OS X 10.2 or later. This is a step recommended as part of some other troubleshooting procedures.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
In Mac OS X 10.2 or later, the Finder allows you to easily change basic permissions settings on files and folders.
    1. Select the item in the Finder.
    2. Choose Get Info from the File menu.
    3. Click the disclosure triangle for Ownership & Permissions.
    4. Make note of the original ownership and permissions, in case you need to revert to the original settings later.
    5. Change the ownership or permissions to what you want, or to what is specified the technical document that referred you to this procedure.
    Note: If you are the owner of the item, you can change its permissions and ownership immediately. If changes require an Admin user name or password, you will be prompted to enter them. If the Access and Others pop-up menus are dimmed (unavailable), you need to change ownership before you can change the access permissions.
    6. If needed, click "Apply to enclosed items". This feature only applies permissions, not ownership changes. See technical document 107031, "Mac OS X 10.2: Clicking 'Apply to enclosed items' Copies Permissions But Not Owner or Group".
    7. If you are making a temporary change to work around an issue, be sure to change it back later.

Note: More advanced control over permissions is only available using non-Apple utilities or the Terminal commands chown, chgrp and chmod. These should not be necessary for normal use of Mac OS X. The Finder cannot be used to change advanced permissions, such as setuid, setgid and sticky settings.

For more information, see article 106712 "Mac OS X: Troubleshooting Permissions Issues"
Last Modified: Feb 17, 2012
  • Last Modified: Feb 17, 2012
  • Article: TA20907
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