Over the years I know I've made a few changes where I've had to turn system protection off to get into the deeper OS to make some changes, but I don't quite remember what I've done. I might have had to change the version of python to get it to work for example. I've also installed a few things with homebrew, and changed some other system files (such as /etc/hosts) to suit my needs.

It's looking like I'll need to reinstall my OS soon and it would be great if I could compare the current state of the OS with what is stock, so that I can remake those changes when I'm back up and running.


1 Answer 1


You may be aware that it is now a lot more difficult -- if not impossible -- to modify the OS installation itself, as it is now on a Signed Secure, read-only Volume. Modifying the OS volume can lead to it refusing to boot.

The OS and "everything you install or change" are now completely separate, which eliminates the need to reinstall the OS for most reasons, and makes it easy to restore your user content, if necessary.

Changing the version of python will not have "modified the OS": you just installed an additional python. Installing stuff with homebrew will also not have modified the OS: you just added homebrew stuff. Files in /etc are not part of the system volume, as they are largely configuration files and changeable content. None of that needs SIP disabled.

Unless you made major modifications to the OS itself after you installed the last update of Monterey (e.g. booted into Recovery, mounting the System as writable, and modified files in /System or /bin, rather than just installing additional stuff or changing files in /etc), then you should just be able to update the OS, and you will still have your additional components.

If you want 'a list of everything you've installed or modified': then there isn't one, short of the complete file listing of the Data volume.

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