I have the following crontab on my mac OS Catalina 10.15.1 :

* * * * * /Users/username/Desktop/cronjob.sh > /Users/username/Desktop/cronjob.log 2>&1

Within the command file is:


touch /tmp/foo

However I was left with the following line inside cronjob.log

/bin/bash: /Users/username/Desktop/cronjob.sh: Operation not permitted

Why is operation not permitted event though the permissions for cronjob.sh is set to +x?

  • Which version of macOS are you using? Does the error also occur if your bash script only contains touch /tmp/foo? – nohillside Dec 29 '19 at 12:28
  • Yes, the problem persists. – Tian Dec 29 '19 at 12:43
  • Please edit the question to show the minimal script then, to prevent people from suspecting python issues. Also, which version of macOS? – nohillside Dec 29 '19 at 12:48
  • Thanks for the advice, am using mac OS Catalina 10.15.1, included in the edited question – Tian Dec 29 '19 at 12:52

In your case you have to add cron as "parent" app to the user's Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access apps/execs.

Depending where to read the script from and where to write the log file to, you have to add cron to the Full Disk Access apps. Almost all default folders in the user's home are protected (Documents/Downloads/Desktop - I haven't checked Pictures/Movies/Music but I think they are protected too and obviously the wrong folders to add shell scripts or log files) by Catalina's system policy.

If the script and the log reside in user created and thus unprotected folders (e.g. the script in ~/bin and the log file in ~/log) it works without adding cron to the Full Disk Access group.

You can check this kind of errors by opening Console.app and searching for the shebanged exec in the script (here bash):

error   15:19:00.369105+0100    kernel  Sandbox: bash(4556) System Policy: deny(1) file-write-data /Users/user/Desktop/test/cronjob2.log
error   15:19:00.379093+0100    kernel  Sandbox: bash(4555) System Policy: deny(1) file-read-data /Users/user/Desktop/cronjob.sh

In the examples above cron wasn't added to the Full Disk Access group.

cronjob2 was run from an unprotected folder ~/bin but tries to write the log file to the protected folder ~/Desktop/test/. So no read error but a write error.

cronjob was run from a protected folder ~/Desktop and tries to write the log file to the protected folder ~/Desktop/. So a read error.

Interestingly both log files are created - the first one (cronjob2.log) is empty though.

  • 3
    Do I add cron or crontab to Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access apps/execs? – Tian Dec 29 '19 at 14:32
  • 4
    @Tian You have to add cron to this group – klanomath Dec 29 '19 at 14:33
  • 2
    I could not access /usr/sbin when using the GUI to add cron. Also, the issue persisted when my script and log resided in the Desktop – Tian Dec 29 '19 at 14:39
  • 6
    @Tian hit cmd-shift-. to make invisible items visible – klanomath Dec 29 '19 at 14:40
  • This worked for me, thanks! – Tian Dec 31 '19 at 6:01

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