I would like to give another member of my household (who has access to my computer and has an account on it) access to a particular folder & its contents. Simple enough: select the desired folder and command-I, and then "Sharing and Permissions" at the bottom of that window.

But I do NOT want to give the other user access to the parent directory (or directories), so how can the user actually navigate to the desired folder (the one to which they've been given permissions) ?

One thing that seems to work is to give the user permission on the desired folder, then give them permission on the parent folders (in this case, my home directory, as the folder in question is only one layer down in the hierarchy), have them select the desired folder and put it in their Finder sidebar, and then withdraw permissions from the parent folder. But is this a robust solution, might their access via their Finder sidebar vanish ? It seems to survive reboot, but what about other things such as an OS update ?

  • Maybe I'm deceiving myself. If other user has physical access to my machine, and my home directory is not file-vaulted, they can access all of my files anyhow (e.g. with a recovery disk), albeit not without my knowing it. So perhaps I need a better way to secure files that I really care about hiding. Aug 21, 2020 at 22:17
  • chmod o+x on the parent folders should be enough. But if they have a login on your Mac they may have other ways to access your data, or the can reboot into recovery (as you wrote yourself). So if you want to protect data you'll need an encrypted DMG or similar
    – nohillside
    Aug 21, 2020 at 22:28
  • What other ways to access un-permitted files other than recovery and the like ? Aug 21, 2020 at 22:43
  • Any idea how robust is my notion of giving permission to parent directory, they put folder in sidebar, and then I revoke permission ? Aug 21, 2020 at 22:44
  • Oh, duh, just the "execute" permission in chmod. Better than giving "other" execute permission would be using ACL-manipulation options of chmod to only give other user execute permission. Aug 21, 2020 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


I would put that folder into the Shared Folder as that way there is no possibility of them getting into other folders.

You can always keep a backup of that same folder in your home directory.

  • I guess I'd probably end up regretting if I just made a symbolic link into /Users/Shared ? Aug 27, 2020 at 3:52
  • Of course, by putting folder into Shared Folder, you give read access to anyone who can log into that computer. Sep 1, 2020 at 17:34

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