I have a bunch of files I copied from another computer and am unable to use them as I get various security and permission errors.

When I compile using Xamarin I get permission denied. When I try to open a file directly I get this error:

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How can I remove the system attribute that causes this security dialog to appear?

(Yes, for some files I can use the following but this needs to apply to all files and folders)

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  • The steps vary based on which version of macOS you run and whether your Mac is managed preferences. Can you edit this to say the version of macos?
    – bmike
    Sep 23 '18 at 1:25

You can get around this a few ways.

1. Easiest and Most Recommended: Select the file in Finder, right/control-click on the file and choose “Open”. You will be asked if you want to open the file, even if it is from an unknown developer.

2. Slightly More Complicated, but Sometimes Preferable: If you are not afraid of Terminal.app (found in the /Applications/Utilities folder of Finder), you can remove the “Quarantine” attribute using this command:

xattr -r -d com.apple.quarantine /path/to/folder

For example, if all of the files are in ~/Downloads/ then you would use:

xattr -r -d com.apple.quarantine ~/Downloads/


xattr -r -d com.apple.quarantine "$HOME/Downloads/"

Type man xattr into Terminal.app for more information about the xattr command, but the short version is that -r means “recursive” and -d means “delete the following attribute”.


Open the Terminal app from the /Applications/Utilities/ folder and then enter the following command syntax:

sudo spctl --master-disable

Hit return and authenticate with an admin password

Relaunch System Preferences and go to “Security & Privacy” and the “General” tab

You will now see the “Anywhere” option under ‘Allow apps downloaded from:’ Gatekeeper options

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Do not forget to change it back for your safety.

sudo spctl --master-enable

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