I'm trying to edit my hosts file with BBEdit 10. When I begin, it tells me to unlock the file with this message:

Are you sure you want to unlock "hosts"?

You aren't a member of the group "wheel".

I go ahead and unlock the file but I'm not able to save it. When I try to I get this error:

The authenticated save for this file failed (application error code: 20004)

I can edit and save the file with TextEdit or Textmate, so I'm guessing that I do have the proper permissions. Why can't I save the file with BBEdit? Is it because I bought the App Store version instead of the direct download?

6 Answers 6


Yes, the App Store version is not able to do authenticated saves. From the Bare Bones Mac App Store FAQ

Are there any differences between the Mac App Store versions of your software and the versions available directly from your web site? [...]

In BBEdit and TextWrangler, authenticated saves (the ability to save changes to files that you do not own) and the command-line tools are not available in the Mac App Store versions, in order to comply with Apple’s submission guidelines. [...]

Authenticated saves will not be possible in versions of BBEdit or TextWrangler obtained from the Mac App Store. If you desire this capability, please purchase BBEdit directly from us or download TextWrangler directly from us.

If you have already purchased BBEdit from the Mac App store and need support for authenticated saves, please contact our customer service department for assistance. We will require proof of purchase from the Mac App Store in order to assist you; if you include that information when you write us, doing so will speed the process.

Update: As of version 10.1.1 there is a script that BareBones has provided to allow users of the Mac App Store version to enable this feature. More information is available on this Auth Saves Support Page.

  • Ugh. Thanks for finding that. Now I gotta go contact Barebones..
    – blogjunkie
    Aug 17, 2011 at 3:21
  • Yep. App Store apps live inside a sandbox that prevents certain types of system access, is why. It allows them to be vetted by Apple in certain ways, and to be installed, updated, and removed atomically in a way that a self-installed app that has full user rights might not.
    – Dan Ray
    Aug 17, 2011 at 12:46
  • 1
    For others who have the same problem, I contacted Barebones Support and they gave me a license for the regular version with no problems
    – blogjunkie
    Aug 18, 2011 at 4:02

I emailed Bare Bones's support about a related issue, and they sent me a link to a support page, which provides a workaround for the MAS limitation. They provide a script you can download into BBEdit's Application Support directory, which adds the feature back. No need to abandon the MAS after all!

  • 1
    The documentation says you don’t need to restart BBEdit, but I had to do it with version 10.1.2. Aug 14, 2012 at 10:47

You can sort of get around this, though it's clumsy.

  • Open the file in TextWrangler, then also in TextEdit. Use text edit to make a duplicate with any filename.
  • Do your changes in TextWrangler as usual. It won't let you save, so Copy the whole file, and Paste it as a complete replacement of the duplicate you made in TextEdit.
  • Save the duplicate. This is the finished file.
  • Go into finder and manually change the filenames to replace the old one with a new one of the exact same file name.

Had the same issue, but with error code 100013 (permission error related to folders). The problem was that bbedit can't edit files just anywhere, so the directory ~/myproject was off limits for it.

I solved the issue by moving my project to the ~/Documents folder.


The link to the script which fixes the issue is here:


And as Rafael said, restarting BBEdit is necessary, despite the wording on barebones's site.

  • The script mentioned above for BBEdit works perfectly for TextWrangler as well
    – DJ van Wyk
    Oct 9, 2013 at 12:45

I just ran into this problem, the go around that I used was to save the file on the Desktop and then I dragged it into the restricted directory. Closed the file on BBEdit then re-opened the file from the directory into BBEdit and it works fine.

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