When I check the permission on my etc folder using the alt + i command, I am not able to check the permission. As if the file had no permissions at all.

This occured to me while I was trying to write some stuff in the hosts file.

I tried to manually chmod the file but I got an "operation not allowed".

  • 4
    Belongs on Super User? And did you try using sudo?
    – Austin Hyde
    Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 18:45

2 Answers 2


The /etc directory on a mac isn't a directory at all, it's a symlink (shortcut). It redirects to private/etc.

You won't be able to chmod the directory, because it belongs to the root user by default. If you want to chmod it you'll have to prefix the command with 'sudo' to run as the superuser.

Bearing that in mind, make sure you know what you're doing before you start playing around with system directories and their permissions.


You can use the old unix comand line chmod

chmod 777 ./folder

With 777 you permit your file or folder do all things for all peoples. Use

man chmod

to read the help.

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