I have noticed some really strange behavior with File and Folder Permissions on Catalina 10.15(19A603). I have done some simple tests such as using a text editor to read, view, create, update a file in Documents and I was able to successfully perform these operations even though I did NOT give the text editor File and Folder permissions. I also did not give the text editor Full Disk Access permissions.

My question is this normal behavior, is this a bug? This seems to defeat the point of the permissions. These programs to not have permissions but they seem to work just fine.

I have noticed some other applications requesting permissions to so and when I Do Not Allow, they do not have access to read or write to specific files and folders. Does seem like consistent behavior.

This is related to an issue we are experiencing. We develop a File/Folder sharing Application and some users who upgraded to Catalina are experiencing bad behavior because our App cannot read/write to their folder. What is strange is other users experienced no issues. I have personally experienced these cases below:

  1. MacOS notifies me to allow the App Folder/File permissions and I grant the app permission. (Everything works fine)

  2. App has no permissions and MacOS does not prompt me to allow Folder/File permission. (App Fails)

  3. App has no permissions but can still perform operations on Documents and Folders. (What?! This is really weird.)

I have no idea what is going on here, just need some clarification as to what the behavior should be and what work needs to be done on our end.

  • 1
    One would assume Apple trusts their own apps. Everybody else has to jump the regulatory hoops. Some users may have SIP disabled, or have removed restrictions. – Tetsujin Oct 29 '19 at 19:02
  • @Tetsujin You would think that but, Terminal (an Apple App) goes through the same hoops. The main thing that i am concerned about is the inconsistency. – Rstack Oct 29 '19 at 19:30
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    @Rstack I think that's because Terminal can run other software, so Apple doesn't "trust" it like they do their own code. Regardless, the "inconsistency" is quite clearly Apple's (purposeful) doing. – Wowfunhappy Oct 29 '19 at 19:36

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