It has been a while since last using Fritzing, and I was trying to open one of the files I saved almost 2 years ago.

The iMac was purchased early 2018, and everything copied from my MacBook

I have updated my iMac to the latest Mojave release, and got strange errors.

enter image description here

I looked at /Applications/Fritzing.app to see what I could change and found it was owned by my daughter (who has a login on my computer)

I used chown to change this, but a few other apps were also owned by her.

I seem to have a collection of root, ian (me) and bec (even one owned by my wife). Neither of these would have installed any apps on my computer, so I don't know why.

My question is what is the correct ownership for files in /Applications

  • I've rolled back you edit because the added details about Fritzing.app don't directly relate to the main question you've asked (and got answered). You can always ask a separate question for this (or reach out to any support organisation this app has first). – nohillside May 24 at 15:51

The correct owner of an application bundle within /Applications for preinstalled Apple apps is: root

The correct owner of an application bundle within /Applications for packaged installers user installed apps is: root

The correct owner of an application bundle within /Applications for drag and drop user installed apps is: $USER

Where $USER is typically the short name of the person who installed the app. Otherwise, use the short name of the USER who is to own the file.

Here are the results of the ls -leO@d command run from Terminal on the Fritzing application bundle:

$ ls -leO@d /Applications/Fritzing.app 
drwxr-xr-x@ 3 me  admin  - 102 Jun  6  2016 /Applications/Fritzing.app
    com.apple.quarantine     57 

Same command run on the directory mentioned in the error message shown in the OP:

$ ls -leO@d /Applications/Fritzing.app/Contents/MacOS/fritzing-parts 
drwxr-xr-x@ 15 me  admin  - 510 Jun  6  2016 /Applications/Fritzing.app/Contents/MacOS/fritzing-parts
    com.apple.quarantine     57 

To change owner of a user installed app, e.g. for Fritzing, use the following command in Terminal:

sudo chown -R $USER /Applications/Fritzing.app

Note you can leave $USER as is written if you are the logged in USER and you are taking ownership.

Also consider checking the permissions and adjust as needed. As in this case for Fritzing:

sudo chmod -R 0755 /Applications/Fritzing.app

As I have Fritzing installed and working, and its permission are as previously shown, I believe the error message is somewhat erroneous and is being caused by you not being the owner. Changing ownership as previously shown should resolve your issue.


Apps that are installed by the system, either out of the box or by an installer that asks for an admin password, will be owned by root. Everything installed by a user (i.e. drag and drop) will be owned by whoever installed them, which is where you seem to be running into issues if you require write permissions for updating and a different user installed that app. All of these possibilities are valid ownership.

You can safely change the ownership to yourself if you need to, or else you can use group permissions so that, for example, all users with admin privileges could update the app.

The below code changes the group (all files/folders in the .app package recursively) to the "admin" group, which all your users with admin privileges will be a member of, then adds write privileges for the group. You may need to use "sudo" at the beginning of each line if you don't already have suitable privileges.

> chgrp -R admin /Applications/Fritzing.app
> chmod -R g+w /Applications/Fritzing.app
  • I may edit this despite the +1 since root doesn’t really own much out of the box on macOS (or didn’t last time I checked). The correctness here is that a group of people should be able to modify third party apps and everyone should be able to read / run them without being “the” owner of the App bundle. – bmike May 23 at 12:25
  • On my system there are 117 apps owned by root in /Applications, many of which are not the default ones that come out of the box. So I guess it depends on how the installation process functions on a per-app basis. – Shannon May 23 at 12:29

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