I want to segregate two home folders, /Users/justin and /Users/anotherUser such that one user cannot view the contents of the other.

My first attempt was to change the permissions of group everyone for /Users/justin from "Read only" (default) to "No Access", and similarly for "anotherUser".

after changing permissions of /Users/justin

But "anotherUser" can still read the contents of /Users/justin. I think this is because both users are members of the staff group.

➜  /Users ls -l
total 0
drwxrwxrwt  15 root     wheel   480  2 May 09:51 Shared
drwxr-xr-x+ 14 altuser  staff   448 20 Jun 13:24 altuser
drwxr-x---@ 86 justin   staff  2752 20 Jun 17:56 justin

My understanding is that by default, macOS assigns all users to staff.

How can I segregate the two home folders without removing them from staff? Or is it safe to remove them from staff?

  • Please add Terminal output as text by copy/pasting from Terminal, it's much easier to read that way.
    – nohillside
    Jun 20 at 15:47
  • On my Macs, admin users can see a list of the folders inside another user's accounts, but the folders have a 'No entry' sign and cannot be accessed (without modifying the permissions, which, as has been said, can be done by any admin user).
    – benwiggy
    Jun 20 at 16:26
  • Are you removing both users from admin group? If not, they can grant themselves access to any folder that’s not encrypted with a separate key on the file system.
    – bmike
    Jun 20 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


By default, almost all the top-level contents of a user folder should already be set this way - they have no group, only owner & everyone. Owner is r/w, everyone is no access.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Just remove the group entirely to restore to defaults.

enter image description here

Of course, as already mentioned - any other admin can undo this. You have no powers as admin that don't also belong to every other admin.


You can remove read access for staff from the home directory by setting it to "No Access" in the Sharing & Permission box (your first screenshot) removing the staff entry (or by running sudo chmod 700 justin altuser in Terminal).

PS: This assumes that neither user is an admin user (because admin users can obviously change it back easily).

  • Thanks. There isn't a "No Access" option for staff group, only read/write, read-only, and "Write only (Drop Box)" (sic). I just removed staff entirely as suggested by Tetsujin. chmod would work too.
    – Justin
    Jun 20 at 17:04
  • @Justin So much for testing an answer before posting it. Indeed, setting it to 0700 removes the staff group in the Info window (but shows everyone as "No Access").
    – nohillside
    Jun 20 at 17:25

You must log in to answer this question.

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