There's a account named staff, which I discovered had read permission on my home folder, when I did Get Info on it for an unrelated purpose. So, naturally, I went into System Preferences, and looked in Users and Groups, but it was nowhere to be found. Then, I did ls -la in /Users, but once again, no home folder for the staff account.

Here's the output of ls -la in /Users:

total 0
drwxr-xr-x   5 root      admin   170 Sep 11 06:53 .
drwxr-xr-x  33 root      wheel  1190 Sep 21 15:43 ..
-rw-r--r--   1 root      wheel     0 Jun 20  2012 .localized
drwxrwxrwt   4 root      wheel   136 Oct 12 11:42 Shared
drwxr-xr-x+ 26 rmorrill  staff   884 Oct 21 20:43 rmorrill

bash-3.2# ls
.localized  Shared      rmorrill

Also, I might add that in Get Info, the staff had a different icon, than my account, it had two heads instead of one. I'm sure this means something, but I rarely use Mac, so I wouldn't know. Furthermore, my school's IT guy claims to give all high schoolers administrator access, with no spyware, but there's always been rumors that he's a liar.


Staff is the default group that all users on OS X are in. You're simply seeing that 'staff' is the group that's set to have read permissions on your home directory (as it should be).

Although the group has read permissions on that directory, you'll notice that they do not have read permissions on most folders and files within. Here is some additional info on permissions and groups

If you like terminal, you can use the id command to tell if a user is really a user or a group.

id `whoami`
  • 1
    Wow, I feel really stupid XD. Thanks for enlightening me to what should have been somewhat obvious. And Mr peterson (School IT guy) thanks you for not having his reputation amongst the students tarnished. (Not that he'd care.) – thol Oct 26 '13 at 19:06

'staff' is a group your user account belongs to. You can find all groups as output of groups yourusername

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