Mac: Repairing access rights under macOS Big Sur and Monterey

Repair access rights on the Mac under macOS Big Sur and Monterey

The new operating systems from Apple and the new Apple Silicon Macs have a few special features in store. Among other things, the procedure for repairing access rights, which is used to correct the system's authorizations, has changed.

I've read through a few instructions and just introduce you to the options that I have found. You have to try out what leads to your goal.

Argumentil command in the terminal

The first variant is to run two commands in the Port. You can find the Terminal in the Applications > Utilities folder. There you type in:

sudo diskutil resetUserPermissions / 'id -u'

Note: In the terminal you will be asked for the admin password after every "sudo" command.

It is possible that the error "Error -69841" is then displayed. This can be solved by entering these two commands:

chflags -R nouchg ~
sudo diskutil resetUserPermissions / 'id -u'
If you want to repair the access rights on the Mac, you can often not get around the recovery mode (Photo: Sir Apfelot).
If you want to repair the access rights on the Mac, you can often not get around the recovery mode (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

repairHomePermissions in the terminal (recovery mode)

Another way to repair the access rights in the user's home folder is also via the terminal. This time, however, im Recovery mode, which you can reach by holding down cmd + R when restarting on Intel Macs and holding down the power button on Apple Silicon Macs (such as M1, M1 Pro / Max) (see Recovery mode on Apple Silicon Macs). Proceed as follows:

  • Start Mac in recovery mode
  • start the terminal in the "Utilities" menu
  • type there: repairHomePermissions (Press enter)
  • on Intel Macs you now select the user account and enter the admin password; at Apple silicon Macs skip this step
  • closes the terminal and selects "reinstall macOS" in the main window of the recovery mode and installs over the existing system (your data will not be lost)
  • after that the Mac will restart and hopefully it will work
The "repairHomePermissions" command repairs the access rights in the user folder (Photo: Sir Apfelot).
The “repairHomePermissions” command repairs the access rights in the user folder (photo: Sir Apfelot).

Install fresh macOS and migrate users

If all else fails, the last variant remains, which is unfortunately more cumbersome: You start from scratch and migrate your user data to a completely fresh system.

  • creates a complete backup of your hard drive (for example with Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper)
  • the Mac will now start in recovery mode
  • open this Disk Utility and delete the internal volume that the system is on
  • once that's done, choose "reinstall macOS"
  • When setting up the system, you create a new user account with a different name than the one on the backup
  • Once the user is set up (do without iCloud and everything else), open the migration assistant (Applications> Utility)
  • You can then use the migration assistant to import the user from the backup hard drive

I hope everything will work again afterwards. If not, maybe we can try the topic again Sir Applerot Forum approach.

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership would support.

9 thoughts on “Mac: Repair Permissions on macOS Big Sur and Monterey”

  1. Servus, I have the problem that suddenly and unexpectedly an external hard drive that is connected to the MAC via USB can no longer be activated. It was neither "simply pulled out" nor removed in any other way... is there a possibility of repairing it? I can still see them in the hard drive utility, but I can't do anything, neither repair them nor activate them...

    1. It could be that the file system has a quirk. I had this with my wife once with an SSD. We'll have them then Sadagian sent and they restored the data. Maybe give them a call and ask. I don't know of any "on-board tools" that you could use to save something. But maybe another reader has an idea.

  2. Hi
    My Mac won't start anymore. Tried all key combinations.
    Finally, the terminal entries. The mac says command not known.
    Are there any other tips? He no longer recognizes the backup on my capsule. When I reinstall, I can't select a hard drive either.
    Thank you for good tips in advance.


    1. Hello Christian! So that sounds a lot like a bad hard drive. I would try the following: plug in the external hard drive, boot with recovery and then install the system onto the drive. If the Mac goes along with it, then you can boot from there and check the hard drive. Was there important data on it?

      1. Hello Jens, I had already tried recovery mode. External hard drive attached. All are recognized in Disk Utility. When I try to reinstall, I don't see a disk to choose from. Yes, the dates are important. I'll try it again

  3. I deleted the external one and now it recognizes it. Wait and see what happens next.
    First of all, thank you for that

    1. The old hard drives are now empty. All data gone. At least that's what it looks like in the utility. They aren't even recognized in the Finder.
      The software update with Apple ID settings is also missing from the control panel. Is there still hope?

      1. But the hard drives are formatted in Mac OS Extended, ExFat or APFS? And still don't show up? That sounds more like broken. :(

Post a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * marked

In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.