Mac is one of the safest devices available whether you are using for personal or organizational purposes. You can install apps from App Store or from third-party websites in your Mac. In both cases, it is necessary to provide necessary permissions for the apps to do the desired action. If you are struck with permission denied error in Mac, here is how you can change the app permissions in macOS.
App Permission Example
Let us take an example to understand why an app needs permission to access content on your device. We use the screen capturing app called Snagit which is available in Mac App Store. In order to record/capture the screen and save the file, the app needs to multiple access like access to documents/desktop folders, access Safari, etc.
If the permissions are not granted, you will see an error like below.
Therefore, it is necessary to fix the app permissions in order to use it for the intended purpose.
Related: How to change file permissions in Windows computer?
Fixing App Permissions in Mac
The permissions can vary depending upon the access needed by the app. In general, you can fix app permissions by allowing the app access under security and privacy settings.
- Click on the Apple menu on top left corner and select “Safari Preferences…”.
- Click on “Security & Privacy” option.
1. Allow Third-Party Apps
By default Mac will prevent opening any apps that you have downloaded from third-party websites. This is to protect your device and you will see a warning that downloaded app can infect the device. However, you have to download many apps like Microsoft Office for your Mac. In this case, you have to enable the third-party app access.
- When you are in “Security & Privacy” section, go to “General” tab.
- Click on the lock icon and provide your administrator username/password to unlock the screen for editing.
- Select the radio button showing “App Store and identified developers” under “Allow apps downloaded from:” section.
- Again, click on the lock pad to save your changes.
- Now, you will see “Open” button in the warning message when you first time try to open any third-party app. After opening the app, you will not see the warning from next time onwards.
Remember, this setting will affect all the downloaded app on your Mac. Change this settings only to open safe and secured apps from reputed developers.
2. Change Privacy Permissions
In most cases, you have to change the privacy settings for fixing app permissions in macOS. Go to “Privacy” tab to see many options available in the left sidebar. Click on each option to see the apps having permission to that item. In our above example, the app Snagit needs permission for “Screen Recording”. Therefore, we have to select the “SnagitHelper2021” app and provide the access. After this the app will be able to record/capture the screen properly.
Manually Adding App Permissions
Generally, the app should automatically take you to the appropriate missing permission section. Otherwise, you have to look under each section to find the app and select it. For example, video calling apps need permission to access camera and microphone. Therefore, you can look under these sections and provide the access.
If you do not find your app, click on the + icon add your app from “Applications” folder from Finder. However, option for manually adding app is only available for certain sections like files and folders access. You will not be able to add apps manually for camera or microphone access.
Some Popular Missing Permissions
Though the permission depends on the app, here are some of the permissions you need to check:
- Location Services – check and enable this for apps like Weather, Google Maps, Siri, etc. to get your location. Remember, apps like Maps will only work when you enable location services.
- Camera and Microsoft – video and audio calling apps like Zoom needs these permissions.
- File and Folders Access – browsers like Google Chrome needs to access Downloads folder to save the files. You can check under this and “Full Disk Access” section for missing permission in such cases.
3. Check Firewall Permissions
Firewall permissions can affect the apps that needs internet connection. If you have enabled firewall in Mac, then make sure the apps are allowed to receive incoming network connection. By default, Mac allows incoming connections for built-in and downloaded signed apps. If your third-party app is not signed by a trusted developer then you have to manually enable the incoming connection.
- When you are in “Security & Privacy” section go to “Firewall” tab.
- If you see the firewall is on, click on the padlock icon and unlock the screen for editing.
- Click on the “Firewall options…” button to see the list of third-party apps that receive incoming connection.
- If you see “Block incoming connections” option against your app, click on it and choose “Allow incoming connections” option.
- Click “OK” button and then the padlock icon to save your changes.
4. Sharing Permissions
If you have other problems like screen sharing is not working, then you have to enable sharing permissions on your Mac. Go to “Sharing” settings from the preferences window.
Check and enable the required sharing options like screen, file, printer, etc.
5. Missing User Permission for Apps
There could be another problem you face when using multiple users on a single Mac. When installing an app, if you have given permission only for the current user then the app will not work when you or other user trying to access it from different account. It could also open it read mode and not allowing to modify the content due to missing write permission.
- Open Finder and app and go to “Applications” folder.
- Select the app you want to share the permission and right click on it.
- Choose “Get Info” option to open the app properties dialog box.
- Click on the “Sharing & Permissions” section showing at the bottom.
- Here, you can find the list of users having access to the app along with the type of privilege.
You can change the privilege, add or delete users to control the app access.
6. Take Over App Administrator Permission
Many apps need administrator permission to work properly. If any other user installed an app on your Mac, you would get an error like below indicating you do not have necessary permission.
You can take up the administrator permission if you are an administrator of the Mac.
- When you are in the above “Sharing & Permissions” section, click on the lock icon and unlock the edit option by proving your administrator username/password.
- After that, click on the small circle with arrow showing besides the + and – icons at the bottom.
- Select “Make your-username (Me)” the owner”.
- This will make you the owner of the app and you can setup necessary permissions to other users.
Thanks for this info-article. I’m still having trouble fixing Screen Recording permissions for my Snagit. I am not able to see SnagitHelper itself under Screen Recording to enable it, but just seeing only Snagit. Any idea where to find SnagitHelper in my Mac (so that I can select & add, it’s visible in Applications folder)!? I am running 2021.4.3 under Monterey!