Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In earlier versions of OSX I've set the label color of the /Applications/Utilities folder so that it's easy to spot (visually).

Lion disables the labels for this folder. (Why?)

I've tried changing the permissions on the folder but that didn't work.

Anyone have a fix?

share|improve this question

Lion disables most of the customizations that were once available in versions prior to 10.7. As to why that is I can only speculate, however, it can't be done like before. I personally do not recommend any type of SIMBL plug-in either, for it can cause more grief than happiness. I usually try and find the most sensible work-around for such things without having to go to extremes.

Here's what I do:

  1. Highlight the Utilities folder
  2. Press L (Make alias)
  3. Rename the [Utilites alias] to [Utilities ] ↙ leaving and extra space behind the 's'
  4. Open Terminal and type the following:

    sudo chflags hidden /Applications/Utilities

This will hide the original Utilities folder, leaving your new alias ready to label with your color of choice.

If you want to un-hide the original Utilities folder type nohidden instead of hidden. I hide it, since there's no point to having the Utilities alias and the original Utilities folder sitting there.

Color Label Utilities Mac OS X Lion

share|improve this answer

Unless something unexpected on your system is preventing labels from being applied to your Utilities folder, the following should work in Lion:

  1. Log into OS X using an administrator account.

  2. Select the Utilities folder in the Finder and choose File > Get Info.

  3. Under "Sharing and Permissions" at the bottom of the Get Info window, click the lock icon in the bottom right corner to unlock it. Enter your admin password when prompted.

  4. Change admin (group) privileges to "Read & Write".

  5. Set the label as desired.

  6. Change admin (group) privileges back to "Read only".

  7. Close the Get Info window.

share|improve this answer
Works like a charm. So Lion simply introduced new default permissions for Utilities? – ephsmith Jul 8 '12 at 15:45
@ephsmith, it looks like it — on 10.6.8 it appears admin has read/write ability and in 10.7.4 it's default is set to read only. – l'L'l Jul 9 '12 at 2:19

There is a way to set the label value directly with xattr:

sudo xattr -wx 0000000000000000000C00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 /Applications/Utilities

This will set the label to red.

For other labels

red: C
orange: F
yellow: B
green: 5
blue: 9
violett: 7
grey: 3

To clear the label again, either use 0 as a value or run sudo xattr -d /Applications/Utilities.

Caution: This will wipe out any other FinderInfo value there might be set for the target file/directory already. For the Utilities folder this shouldn't be an issue but it might for others.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.