I want to allow the _www group to write to a folder.

I clicked on the folder to go to the "Get Info".

At the bottom there is a "Sharing & Permissions" section with a "+" to add users. However it does not show any of the system groups such as _www.

Is there a way to enable showing hidden users and group in the GUI? Or do I have to do it via command-line instead? It seems the GUI allows to set permissions for several users and group, which I like, while the command I believe only allow 1 owner and 1 group?

  • 1
    +1 because you made me sit down and figure out why Apple left out the standard commands and what to do about it.
    – geekosaur
    Mar 24, 2011 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


Apple hides anything it considers a "system" user or group from the GUI. There's probably some way to disable that, but I generally use the command line for system-related stuff.

The command line version comes in two flavors: there is a basic permissions structure with a single owner, a singe group, and everyone else, then there are POSIX ACLs. Interestingly, Apple took the route of modifying chmod to support ACLs instead of shipping the standard getfacl and setfacl tools.

$ sudo chmod +a 'group:_www allow add_file,add_subdirectory,list,search,delete_child' /webroot

You may also want the file_inherit and directory_inherit permissions to apply the ACL to created files/directories. See chmod(1) for more details.

The -a option to chmod removes ACL entries.

  • +1 just a small clarification, do you know if/why sudo chmod -R +a '<permissions>' /webroot will give permissions to all subfolders, but not to webroot folder itself? because that's what happened when i tried it.
    – bool.dev
    May 12, 2012 at 5:47

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