Some applications located in /Applications require a password in order to move them to the trash, others don't. Then there are also apps which cannot be deleted because they are required by OS X (a warning pops up).

Upon further inspection, I've come to the conclusion that Apps installed via the Mac App Store require a password in order to be moved to the trash. Why?

1 Answer 1


This is a permissions effect. Most Application installed on Lion by default, via the App Store, and some installers are installed as system a.k.a Root and root only by default has Read and Write access to the Applications installed as root, while everyone else including your user is read only or custom for each Application. Applications that you drag and drop are owned by you, and you can delete them at will usually with out a password.

Verify in the Finder or Terminal what the permissions are on Apps that require a password to move to the trash, its likely that those Apps that are set to read only access for your current user are the ones asking for a password and a temporary privilege to delete something owned by the system.

In terminal try:

ls -la /Applications
  • 1
    @gentmatt Based on doing a quick ls -la on the /Applications folder, it looks like app store apps (or potentially those added from a dedicated installer or package) are added as the root user and need authentication to delete, whereas apps not from the app store are added as my logged in user.
    – binarybob
    Apr 23, 2012 at 18:30
  • @binarybob How do you see this? I can't see a clear pattern here. I also don't understand why App Store apps are added as the root user. I'm not required to enter my admin password prior to the installation. The only password that I enter is the one for the Apple ID.
    – gentmatt
    Apr 24, 2012 at 13:15
  • @binarybob Ok, I guess I got it now. Please forgive me my ignorance :). You're right! All affected apps are owned by root. How is this possible? I mean, shouldn't this have required my admin password?
    – gentmatt
    Apr 24, 2012 at 13:47
  • @MrDaniel Can you please edit your question and add this little, but important hint by binarybob?
    – gentmatt
    Apr 24, 2012 at 13:49
  • @gentmatt That, detective, is the right question ;-) Good question, both the App Store app and storeagent seem to be both running as my user. Maybe it's worth asking this as a separate question!
    – binarybob
    Apr 24, 2012 at 18:14

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