Resolve issues caused by changing the permissions of items in your home folder

If you change the read or write permissions of items in your home folder, you might need to reset permissions to avoid certain issues.

Your home folder  contains many files and folders that apps on your Mac have permission to read or modify. If you use Get Info or other methods to change those permissions, you could experience issues such as these:

  • Changes that you make in System Preferences aren't saved after you quit System Preferences.
  • Changes that you make to the Dock aren't saved after you log out of your user account.
  • Windows that were open the last time you logged out or quit an app (before you changed permissions) open again after you log in or open the app.
  • You're asked for an administrator name and password when moving certain items in the home folder.
  • You repeatedly get a message that macOS needs to repair your Library to run applications.
  • When saving changes to an item, you get a message that the file is locked or you don't have permission to save.
  • Preview, TextEdit, or other sandboxed apps unexpectedly quit when opened.
  • You get an alert that the startup disk has no more space available for application memory.
  • Activity Monitor shows that Safari or SafariDAVClient is using a large amount of system resources.
  • Your Mac performs slowly.
  • iTunes says that your device cannot be synced.
  • Photos and videos that you import into Photos or iPhoto don't appear within the app, but do appear in Finder. Or your library needs to be updated or reselected each time you open Photos or iPhoto.

Reset permissions

If the issue started after changing the permissions of items in your home folder , use the following steps to reset permissions.

  1. From the Finder menu bar, choose Go > Home. Your home folder opens.
  2. Choose File > Get Info. An Info window for your home folder opens.
  3. If the Sharing & Permissions section at the bottom of the window isn't open, click the triangle  in that section to open it.
  4. If the Lock button at the bottom of the window is closed lock , click the lock and enter an administrator name and password.
  5. Click the action menu  in the bottom of the window, then choose “Apply to enclosed items.” Click OK to confirm the action. A progress bar appears at the top of the window.
  6. When the progress bar completes, open the Terminal app, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  7. Paste or type diskutil resetUserPermissions / `id -u` in Terminal, then press Return.
    On U.S. keyboards, the ` character is just above the Tab key.
  8. If Terminal says that permissions reset failed, skip to the next next section.
  9. When the process completes, restart your Mac.

If Terminal says that permissions reset failed

When following the previous steps, if you get a message that permissions reset on user home directory failed (error -69841), follow these steps.

If your Mac is using macOS Mojave

  1. Quit Terminal.
  2. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, then click Privacy.
  3. Click the lock , then enter your administrator password.
  4. From the list of items on the left, select Full Disk Access. 
  5. Add Terminal to the apps allowed full-disk access: Either use the add button , or just drag the Terminal app into the space above it. 
  6. Open Terminal, then enter chflags -R nouchg ~.
  7. Enter  diskutil resetUserPermissions / `id -u` again.
  8. When the process completes, restart your Mac.
  9. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, then click Privacy.
  10. Click the lock , then enter your administrator password.
  11. From the list of items on the left, select Full Disk Access. 
  12. You can now remove Terminal from the apps allowed full-disk access, or just deselect the checkbox next to Terminal. 

If your Mac is using macOS High Sierra or earlier

  1. Enter chflags -R nouchg ~.
  2. Enter diskutil resetUserPermissions / `id -u` again.
  3. When the process completes, restart your Mac.
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