How to repair disk permissions under OS X El Capitan

17 October 2015, 05:00

EDIT 20th Oct 2015: It turns out disk permission fixing hasn’t been removed from El Capitan after all.

Disk Utility in OS X El Capitan has been overhauled
and the ability to repair file and folder permissions has been removed. Apple says this is because the new system integrity protection (SIP) system component should make permission errors impossible. Many have pointed out that user error or optimization, and some software installations, can still break things.

Well, developer Firewolf PI has come to the rescue with RepairPermissions, a command-line app that will repair permissions on El Capitan without the need to disable SIP. Yes, you read that right. No, I don’t know how he’s done it. However, I’ve tested the app and it seems to work. I scanned it for malware and tested it on a system running Little Snitch, that detects any outgoing connections. The app seems clean and legitimate. That said, as with all software downloaded from a stranger’s website, you use the app at your own risk.

Here’s how to use it.

  1. Download it and then extract the file from the zip.

  2. Open a Terminal window (it’s in the Utilities folder of the Applications list), and type the following:


  3. Drag and drop the file you extracted from the zip onto the Terminal window, and then type a forward slash. This is the command-line I ended-up with on my system after doing all that:

    sudo /Users/keir/Downloads/RepairPermissions /

  4. Hit Enter, then wait as permissions are scanned and – if necessary – repaired.

On my MacBook Pro it seemed every possible printer driver folder required repairing, which is pretty much how things used to be back in the days of Yosemite. And good old displaypolicyd required a fix, again exactly how it used to be under Yosemite.

To use the tool regularly you’ll need to copy it into your /usr/local/bin directory. From then on you can simply type…

sudo RepairPermissions /

… to run a permissions sweep. Assuming you’ve downloaded and extracted the file to your Downloads folder, the following command will copy it to the correct location provided you replace USERNAME with your login username:

sudo cp /Users/USERNAME/Downloads/RepairPermissions /usr/local/bin



Leave a comment...

where is the link to the download?

— micah · Oct 28, 09:17 AM · #

A quick way to repair file permissions in OSX El Capitan is to manually download the latest OS update from apple, and install it (or re-install it). There’s no need to re-install the whole OS to fix permissions.

Here’s a link to manually download OSX 10.11.1 (Just the update itself)

— Bob · Nov 21, 03:37 PM · #