El Capitan Disk Permissions

Why Can’t I Repair Disk Permissions in El Capitan?

If you have recently downloaded Apple’s new Mac OS X update, known affectionately as “El Capitan,” you may have noticed something strange in the newly-overhauled Disk Utility program. There’s no way to repair disk permissions anymore! Yes, you read that right–there is no option to repair disk permissions on your hard drive. Let’s talk about why this is!

Where did my Repair Disk Permissions option go?!

First, Apple has introduced a new security feature in Mac OS X El Capitan, called “System Integrity Protection,” or SIP for short. What SIP aims to do is offer a new level of protection to Mac OS X, essentially locking down some core features of the operating system, and bringing it more in line to the iOS software platform where a user would have to “Jailbreak” their device to pull off any extra-curricular software trickery. Utilities that used to customize the Mac OS X system, such as SuperDuper and Default Folder will no longer work under this new SIP scheme. Obviously, great for the casual user who doesn’t want to worry about malicious software infecting their Macintosh. Also obviously not so great for power users who rely on these 3rd party utilities to make their lives easier.

So, where does that leave your trusty disk permission repair in El Capitan? Well, Apple has now removed this feature that the majority of Mac power users and administrators have always assumed really didn’t accomplish much in the first place, a sugar pill, if you will. Permission repair is now handled by El Capitan itself, and it handles disk permission repair when the system is being updated. Also, since the permissions cannot be changed at will any longer due to SIP, the need to repair them has basically vanished, much like the ancient act of “rebuilding the desktop” in earlier Mac OS versions.

How do I repair the permissions anyway?

If you still feel the need to repair and verify permissions, there is still a way to do it via the Terminal in Mac OS X. This first terminal command will simply verify your disk permissions in OS X, assuming you want to check the root volume:

sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages –verify –standard-pkgs /

For other volumes, simply take off the trailing “/” and add the volume name.

Now, for actually repairing the permissions, you will have to type this command into the terminal:

sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages –repair –standard-pkgs –volume /

So, there you have it. One less thing to worry about in Mac OS X El Capitan, much to the delight of power users who swore that rebuilding permissions never really accomplished anything in the first place!