I read somewhere that for security purposes it's a good practice to not use your the admin account for your your day to day activities on your computer, but instead create a separate account that doesn't have root access.

I'm using a Mac so not sure it's as important, but I would still like to reduce risk as much as possible from malware, so I have followed this practice.

The problem I have is that I am now bombarded with update requests from electron-based applications that require me to enter my admin credentials every time in order to update (Slack, Skype, Linear etc.) - I have pasted an example below.

I have been told that there is a way to transfer ownership of these to the secondary account so that the updates would then happen automatically, but I have not established how to do this and would be very grateful for some help.

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Someone in customer support for Linear attempted to help me with this and advised me to run the following command in Terminal (from the admin account):

sudo chown -R $(whoami):$(id -gn) /Applications/Linear.app

However, ultimately this did not do the trick, so I assume there is another version of this command that might work, which I could apply to each application that is doing this?

  • Where did you get the information about the secondary account from (the one which should enable self-update), that sounds a bit strange?
    – nohillside
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 16:01
  • Just a thought here, create a new iCloud account, add it to your current account as a family member (make sure family sharing is on) and then the other account should now have access to use those apps and download updates. Note that some apps may need to update files in places that require admin authentication anyway. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 16:43
  • @nohillside I'm not sure I grasp your question, but the admin account is where self-updates happen from. My issue is that it's not my day to day account. Thank you Steve that's an interesting idea, may give it a whirl. Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 17:55
  • Ah, you installed the apps from your main (non-admin) account and now want to change ownership to the admin user? As benwiggy wrote below: this won‘t help, the helper tools always require permissions (mainly because such tools also could be malware, so even if an extra check is cumbersome it protects from silent installs).
    – nohillside
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 18:04
  • ok thanks @nohill Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


Installing a helper tool or writing to the /Applications folder requires an admin user account.

An admin account should be able to update the app itself without a password; but installing the helper tool will still require authorisation.

You can't "transfer ownership of the app" to a Standard User. Well, you can, but updating the app will still require an admin accounts.

You can't really do anything without upgrading your standard user account to an admin account.

  • Thank you @benwiggy. In that case my only question really is whether my assumption was correct that this might have been an unnecessary precaution on a Mac? Am I the only person in the world doing this? If not I wonder how others deal with the constant annoyance of these helper tool pop-ups :D Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 17:53
  • @zakgottlieb we enter our password each time ;-)
    – nohillside
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 18:05
  • @zakgottlieb If an app is constantly updating itself, I'd see if I can change its settings, to check once a month. Or log into your Admin account to do some .. admin.. first thing or last thing. Many people do use a Standard user account for their daily account. I don't, as I feel that macOS already has quite good security, and I'm reasonably confident in my operational security practices.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 18:29
  • Thank you @benwigg Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 15:55
  • @nohillside appreciate it. It's just there are so many apps requiring this that it gets very disruptive. I'm not sure I can change the settings for this in an app but I'll look into it. Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 15:56

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