Every time I restart my computer, it tries to "add a new helper tool". For instance I have to reinstall shell commands in Atom on every restart, and it prompts with the "An update is ready to install." But I see this same issue with other programs too.

Atom installs /usr/local/bin/atom -- but then when I restart it's gone.

I get the same thing from MAMP that it "wants to make changes".

And Slack gives me the same thing as Atom on every restart:

Slack is trying to add a new helper tool.

An update is ready to install. Slack is trying to add a new helper tool.

Enter an administrator's name and password to allow this.

Add Helper

Let me know what other information I can give.

  • Removing and reinstalling the app should also fix it.
    – ChatGPT
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 5:27

4 Answers 4


Try changing the ownership of Atom.app. In my case, Atom.app was found in /Applications, and ownership was:

drwxr-xr-x   3 1699963712  365896978    102 Dec  8 12:48 Atom.app

I ran the following command (-R means operate recursively):

sudo chown -R ${USER}:wheel /Applications/Atom.app

This changes the owner to the currently logged-in user and the group to wheel.

In my case, any program with ownership of root or the numeric code listed above would have a popup a few seconds after opening. Changing ownership of the .app directory corrected the behavior and I don't see it anymore.

I found the information at this site.

Note: on newer Mac OS versions, like 13, you could get operation not permitted errors. To remedy that, be sure to enable Full Disk Access for Terminal from System Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Full Disk Access, and try again.

  • 2
    Kept on getting operation not permitted and enabling Full Disk Access didn't help. So I accomplished this via UI by using the Apple recommendation support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/…
    – Dmitry
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 19:22
  • I'm not sure "allow writing of shared application code" is a good idea... You're essentially advocating bypassing the system security.
    – Deanna
    Commented Mar 27 at 12:15

Here's my solution: run any OS X atom-based apps such as Slack or Signal out of your ~/Applications directory.

The root of the problem is that these apps were installed system-wide via a mechanism like Homebrew, or manually by you and owned by root. So the easy/quick workaround is to copy them to a place where your current user has write access:

killall Slack && rsync -av --delete /Applications/Slack.app/ ~/Applications/Slack.app/ && open ~/Applications/Slack.app

(if you prefer the Finder, drag and drop instead)

Now when the atom application's built-in update mechanism tries to write to its files, it can! No more annoying pop-up windows!

  • Got The application cannot be opened for an unexpected reason, error=Error Domain=NSOSStatusErrorDomain Code=-10827 "kLSNoExecutableErr: The executable is missing" UserInfo={_LSLine=3691, _LSFunction=_LSOpenStuffCallLocal} after the open ~/Applications/Slack.app step. Ultimately went with the answer with more votes and it worked. Commented May 18, 2021 at 13:49
  • The application cannot be opened for an unexpected reason, error=Error Domain=NSOSStatusErrorDomain Code=-10827 "kLSNoExecutableErr: The executable is missing" UserInfo={_LSLine=3762, _LSFunction=_LSOpenStuffCallLocal}
    – alper
    Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 22:56
  • @alper was it also Slack that was broken for you? Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 15:20
  • I wonder if my command was not clearing out old Slack.app state. I added --delete above in case that was the problem. @MariusButuc can you try it again with the updated command above? Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 15:23
  • @EdwardTeach No sir I was using ` CleanMyMac X. Why are you using rsync -av --delete` can't we just carry the app to the location we can by carry and drop
    – alper
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 18:58

Searching for the application and manually dragging it into the Applications folder also worked for me.

  • 1
    The application is already there, with my user wielding Read/Write permissions, but still would ask for administrative privileges to add helper tools. I am talking about VS Code however.
    – Rafs
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 9:58

I had this annoying issue with Skype. The solution was:

  1. Enable root on MAC: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204012
  2. cd /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools
  3. su root This step requires login with admin privileges
  4. rm com.skype.Helper
  • 1
    Could you just run sudo rm /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/com.skype.Helper without enabling root? Your answer is helpful though. Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 19:39
  • 7
    Enabling the root user on a Mac can open major security holes, especially for end users. If you need to use the root user by command line, I recommend using an administrator user, typing sudo su to switch to root. It will ask for a password.
    – Joseph
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 2:24
  • For me the file was named com.skypinstaller...
    – James
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 20:58
  • sudo rm ... will ask for a password too not sure why it seems less secure? @juniorRubyist
    – alper
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 12:29
  • This did not work on my end
    – alper
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 10:14

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