If one uses the Command + Shift + G keyboard shortcut and asks Finder to navigate to /tmp, on occasion instead of being taken to /private/tmp (with appropriate hiding of the /private directory from the user) the user is taken to / as exhibited here:

attempting to navigate to <code>/tmp</code>

And if I attempt to navigate to /private/tmp: attempting to navigate to and open <code>/private/tmp</code>

What gives?


The answer appears to be related to setfile. If one runs getfileinfo /private/tmp:

Tomass-MacBook-Pro:tmp tomasgallucci$ getfileinfo /tmp
directory: "/private/tmp"
attributes: avBstclinmedz
created: 07/30/2016 14:32:36
modified: 01/16/2017 14:56:52
Tomass-MacBook-Pro:tmp tomasgallucci$

In my case, the bundle flag was turned (capital letters mean attributes are turned on, lower case means they're turned off). To resolve the issue I was able to run

setfile -a b /private/tmp

And I could once again navigate to /tmp in Finder.

What set the Bundle bit? I don't know. But life wouldn't be worth living if there weren't at least a few mysteries.

Here's a Super User article that discusses the topic in some detail.


Logging out your user will recycle Finder without needing to reboot. That will show you if the issue is a temporary bug or more permanent permissions issue with the file system.

  • How about trying killall -HUP Finder instead of logging out? – user3439894 Jan 17 '17 at 1:33
  • @user3439894 I dislike killing Finder - file operations in progress, etc... at best, use AppleScript to ask Finder to quit. Log out is my proper suggestion - especially for online or when the (file?) system is already misbehaving or broken. – bmike Jan 17 '17 at 4:40
  • @user3439894 Finder can also be restarted from the "Force Quit Applications" window. Command+Option+Esc can open it quickly. While restarting Finder might not be the best option as mentioned by @bmike, this is a quicker way than using the terminal. – Joseph Jan 18 '17 at 10:54
  • I tried rebooting my MBP and that solve the problem for a matter of hours. I'm not sure what turned the Bundle flag back on; my guess is that it had to do with trying to upload an .epub from /tmp to Google Drive. – Professor Tom Jan 18 '17 at 20:41

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