I maintain at least 2 logins:

normal is non admin permissions

admin - to do those sometimes tasks but increase my security.

[10.11.6 EL Cap, not new logger system. I hope to get to that sometime but many steps before that arrives!]

As a normal user my Console shows many fewer messages than if I am logged in with admin permission. I prefer to try and have an admin level console available to me, without user switching which is too disruptive, so in normal I run terminal (iTerm2 for me) and:

su -l admin_self

sudo /Applications/Utilities/Console.app/Contents/MacOS/Console &

This works in that I see ALL parts of system and can access older system logs etc in this console BUT... I get lots of pasteboard permissions errors in my terminal at launch:

2018-11-25 12:31:07.502 Console[71471:18037307] CFPasteboardRef    CFPasteboardCreate(CFAllocatorRef, CFStringRef) : failed to create global data
2018-11-25 12:31:19.472 Console[71471:18037307] CFPasteboardRef CFPasteboardCreate(CFAllocatorRef, CFStringRef) : failed to create global data
2018-11-25 12:31:19.474 Console[71471:18037307] CFPasteboardRef CFPasteboardCreate(CFAllocatorRef, CFStringRef) : failed to create global data

and I get similar in error logs when swapping from/to the app. This is annoying, but more importantly I can't copy error text in this mode. So all those long paths etc create considerable blocks for me to go digging!

Any ideas on options to allow shared pb access? I can copy and paste between different terminal logins, but the host app (iTerm2) is always in my Normal environment. Maybe some switches, permissions I can safely fix, or some sort of pipe to localhost with a modified plist for a PrivConsole copy of Console or ???

Possibly helpful, I found remote pbcopy over ssh

and a similar, and unanswered question:

How to get output from the console.app from a non-admin account? not sure if he does the same, terminal environment, partial solution that I do...

A bit more research by me: I get similar errors if I launch Console as my normal non-admin user in terminal; ALSO I get a bigger clue in this:

Failed to connect (_consoleX) outlet from (NSApplication) to (ConsoleX): missing setter or instance variable
  • Have you thought of setting up a syslog server?
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 14:34
  • @Allan: thanks for reply... had not thought of that. I was hoping for a way to understand and fix the process startup in the UI that is missing in the terminal launch somehow. All this may change when I get around to the new logging system... I don't want a whole extra layer and another real or virtual machine. An easier path would be to have the UI also logged in as my admin self, but I'd prefer not to use even that due to the wide extra processes load for what should be a small, thin, occasional need.
    – colin
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 15:41
  • This seems to be a lot of "solution" for an occasional need. What specifically are you looking for?
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 15:46
  • I want to be able to run a console that looks at the logs and shows me what there is, not just a subset of less than 10%. My non-admin Console shows 370 messages last 24 hrs while the admin mode shows 4000 in last 18hrs. But looking at that admin mode in the way I do provokes a few hundred extra errors and does not allow cut/paste of info when needed. I look at console "most" days at least once.
    – colin
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 10:37
  • I aim to steadily reduce the most frequent errors by find and fix using dtrace and similar tools. That is part of system management to me, having control and knowing almost all parts of my system...
    – colin
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


A good work around, for me at least is lnav. It is probably more resource efficient than console, will run happily in an admin mode terminal session and offers:

  • filters
  • multiple file interleaving
  • choice over what log files where
  • understands a number of standard log file formats
  • colouring error/warnings (a bit lurid, maybe that can be configured)
  • neat help about where in log you are and the source of messages (if multi-file)
  • calculates message rates and can move to slower sections etc
  • bookmarking
  • time line summary (e.g. normal, error & warns errors in each 5 min block)
  • SQL query engine

And much more I'm sure, just starting here. A tool written by and for users I think! 10% of the memory and CPU of Console, more functions.

The binary download wants a later sqlite3 than standard mac distort so I brew'd the lot. Not sure how it works under the rewritten logging system!

So far? I'm thrilled!

  • OP wants to run as non admin
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 17:01
  • I am OP and this is my best solution so far, in terminal though. My full Mac UI login is non-admin and I did not want more UI logins, but I am happy to su -l admin_user and run admin shells. In fact I must have these for dtrace (with SIP bypass) for instance, so I always have a number of admin windows open. Some with screen sessions at hand too. I just need to see the real logging of system with minimal overhead.
    – colin
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 18:21
  • I'm happily coding Sql queries against the system log and getting it graphed while being able to toggle to actual real time log messages. Really pleased!
    – colin
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 18:27

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