During development and debugging I have changed permissions of various files and folders using chown and chmod on my local system (I didnt maintain the list of changes). Now that I have fixed the issue, i fear of security consequences. Any way I could restore the default permissions and/or find vulnerabilities in terms of network security or other potential loop holes that might create due to my changes.

3 Answers 3


For system installed packages you can run the following command in Terminal.app to find permissions that differ from the default:

sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --verify --standard-pkgs /

If you want to just apply those permissions to your system as a whole, run the following command:

sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --repair --verify --standard-pkgs /

Or you could individually fix the permissions that you have changed yourself using chmod/chown.

For everything else, you need to have used either a package manager that can verify permissions, or have a backup you can use for comparing permissions before and after the event.

For others: Please note that the repair_packages command no longer exists in Sierra and newer macOS versions, as they now automatically handle repairing permissions. If you have manually messed up permissions so much that they cannot be fixed automatically, I would recommend restoring permissions from a Time Machine backup or similar.

  • good point, I should have included that in my answer too. However, that will only verify, to fix you'd need sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --repair --standard-pkgs /
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 9:53
  • Yes, I'm aware that it only shows the changes. This was intentional as the user did manually change some permissions, so I assumed he would be able to tell afterwards which of the changes were due to his own actions, and which were already changed before he did his thing. But I'll include it in the answer!
    – jksoegaard
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 7:42
  • The command returns an error: sudo: /usr/libexec/repair_packages: command not found
    – Geekarist
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 8:53
  • 1
    @Geekarist You're running a too new version of macOS. If you're on Sierra or later, it won't be there.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 12:57

It depends on your OS.


  • Use Disk Utility to reset System permissions.
  • Reset Home folder permissions & ACLs using OnyX - Maintenance tab/permissions, tick the box at the top then Execute.
  • For belt & braces, apply [or-reapply if already up to date] 10.10.5 using the 10.10.5 combo update, not the delta from App Store

El Capitan

  • Reset Home folder permissions & ACLs
    This has become more complex since El Capitan because of System Integrity Protection, but is still possible by booting to Recovery Mode...

    1. At boot, hold Cmd ⌘ R at the chimes
    2. At the recovery screen, open Terminal from the Utilities menu.
    3. Type in resetpassword and hit Return\Enter. A Reset Password window opens.
    4. Select your username from the drop-down menu labeled Select the user account (NOT System Administrator/root).
    5. Click the Reset button at the bottom of the window in the Reset home folder permissions and ACLs section.
    6. Quit the Password Utility and go back to the main recovery screen.
    7. On your keyboard, press Cmd ⌘ Q and restart your computer (or Select  > Restart from the menu bar). It's very important that you don't hold down the power button to exit the recovery session, or the ACL reset won't be performed.
  • For belt & braces, apply [or-reapply if already up to date] 10.11.5 using the 10.11.5 combo update, not the delta from App Store

  • This answer is not correct, as this will only fix permissions on the user's home folder. As the question is related to security, networking, etc. - it is vital to check the permissions on systems folders as well. In addition, the question specified El Capitan, so the answer for Yosemite cannot be used there.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 15:32
  • @jksoegaard I didn't spot that el cap was tagged - tbh, mentioning it in the tag only is not the accepted AD method, it should also be in the question body. However - re-applying the combo update will fix system perms, which makes the answer actually correct ... & more complete than verifying system perms only.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 15:39
  • No, it actually doesn't. Applying the combo update will only fix permissions for the stuff included in the combo update. All other installed packages (i.e. optional packages, packages from third parties, etc.) would not have their file permissions fixed with the combo update. With the repair_packages command I wrote about, any changed permissions would be shown for files coming from a package install.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 7:41

I accidentally changed the ACLs permissions on my home folder and had the same problem on my MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra version 10.12.2

Follow the step below to changed the folders No Access permissions and revert back to Allow access:

Restart with the Command and S keys held down, and run the following commands:

mount -uw /
chown root /
chmod 1775 /

After the last command "exit" your system should restart on its own and everything should appear the same as the time before you changed the Home folder permissions.

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