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, 2019 at 12:28
  • Yes, the problem persists.
    – Tian
    Dec 29, 2019 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, 2019 at 12:48
  • Thanks for the advice, am using mac OS Catalina 10.15.1, included in the edited question
    – Tian
    Dec 29, 2019 at 12:52
  • I found errors for my crontab in /var/mail/$USER
    – mowwwalker
    Jul 11, 2023 at 6:18

1 Answer 1


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.

To add the exception:

  1. click the + button
  2. hit G
  3. enter /usr/sbin
  4. double click the cron file.

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.

  • 5
    Do I add cron or crontab to Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access apps/execs?
    – Tian
    Dec 29, 2019 at 14:32
  • 7
    @Tian You have to add cron to this group
    – klanomath
    Dec 29, 2019 at 14:33
  • 6
    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, 2019 at 14:39
  • 11
    @Tian hit cmd-shift-. to make invisible items visible
    – klanomath
    Dec 29, 2019 at 14:40
  • 11
    shift-command-G lets you enter any path without having to expose the hidden files and folders. Works in any finder or document picker window.
    – lbutlr
    Jan 12, 2021 at 9:35

You must log in to answer this question.

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