Still struggling with permissions? Try PermissionScanner 1.7

Despite my elaborate new algorithm for determining whether there are problems with the permissions on preferences and similar files, I now have reports that we’ve moved no further forward: some users – and not just those running Catalina – have found that files reported by PermissionScanner as having ‘wrong’ permissions are reported as being fine in Finder’s Get Info dialog.

This new version of PermissionScanner copes with this by giving you more and better information. It also has several other enhancements, and can now scan any folder you like, if you wish.

When you run a scan using version 1.7, it still goes through the same process to check with macOS whether any file is readable/writable. Instead of the previous options, it now offers a Verbose mode. When the app encounters a file which doesn’t appear to have the correct permissions, in Verbose mode it will now tell you:

  • if the file is immutable, or locked,
  • the username of the owner of that file, which for items in your Home folder should normally be you,
  • the file’s current permissions settings, given in standard octal notation.

Here’s a simple example:


In this case, the first file is locked, but has the right owner and the correct permissions of 600, which means its owner has read and write access to it, but gives no access to the group and everyone.


Not all files in your Home Library folder should of course have the same settings. Here are a few from my Mac, the top two the same as those listed previously, and several keychains with different permissions and even root owners. I think this shows up quite clearly, enabling you to decide whether to investigate further, or dismiss it as normal, or just a macOS brainfart.

Among the other changes in this new version are:

  • The folder selector is no longer a simple popup menu, but is now a Combo box. This offers all the old menu items just the same, but lets you search any folder on your Mac by specifying its path. The latter is also happy to use the standard shortcut of ~ (tilde) for your Home folder path.
  • When you run a scan, the title of the window and default name for any saved report now give the path to the folder scanned.
  • The Verbose setting is saved in the app’s preferences, so you don’t have to alter it each time you open the app.
  • I’ve finally remembered to update the copyright notice.
  • The accompanying documentation has been updated, and includes a short section explaining how to read and correct permissions.

PermissionScanner version 1.7 is now available from here: permscan17
from Downloads above, from its Product Page, and through its auto-update mechanism. I look forward to your further comments, particularly information about conflicts between files reported here and their settings.