After the installation of Catalina all User created folders from root are moved into a separate folder and the root folder is made readonly, containing only system default folders.

How is it possible to undo this and to make the root folder writeable again?

  • Are you looking to persist this change across reboots of the OS or just gain permission one time to make some changes? – bmike Oct 14 at 11:03

You can create a symbolic in root directory via synthetic.conf, example below create a symbolic link named "bar" at / which points to "System/Volumes/Data/bar", a writeable location at the root of the data volume.

echo -e 'bar\tSystem/Volumes/Data/bar' | sudo tee -a /etc/synthetic.conf

After execute command above, you need to reboot to see effects.


man synthetic.conf
New contributor
Shawyeok is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • 1
    Really oversubtle to call this "... your root volume will be writeable again" considering that the man explicitely mentions that: The synthetic entities [...] are not physically present on the disk, but when the system is booted, they behave as if they were within certain parameters..." – klanomath Oct 14 at 11:43
  • 2
    Safer solution than disabling SIP – Saisurya Kattamuri 2 days ago
  • 1
    The question asked was "How to make root volume writeable again in Catalina?" - This does not make the root volume writable again! – user3439894 2 days ago
  • I think this is the right solution proposed by Apple to be able to write in the root volume. So I would accept the question as valid. Thanks @Shawyeok for sharing it. – Peter Gibbons yesterday
  • @Peter Gibbons, This does not make the root volume of the Macintosh HD writable again as in previous versions of macOS! All this does is allow the system to create a user defined symlink to a file in /System/Volumes/Data in the root of the Macintosh HD. It is still not writable to the user as in previous versions of macOS. It is a good workaround, but that is all that it is. – user3439894 yesterday
  1. Disable SIP: Hold Cmd + R during reboot to reboot into Recovery Mode.

    csrutil disable
  2. Mount / writable after each reboot.

    sudo mount -uw /
  • 3
    Leaving SIP disable thwarts the security measures its meant to address and is ill advised! While this technically works, nonetheless one cannot then use Finder to make a folder in the root of the e.g. Macintosh HD, that is the default one that can show in Finder on the Sidebar with the appropriate preferences set. One must use Terminal to make a directory, and even then the New Folder command is not available in Finder from the default icon. – user3439894 Oct 9 at 19:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .