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If you receive a message on your Mac - often after an update to a new macOS such as Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey - that you do not have the correct access rights to open certain programs or files, then it is time to to repair these.

With current macOS versions, this usually only affects the access rights in the user folder, since the volume with the macOS operating system is write-protected and therefore incorrect access rights usually do not occur.

The following instructions apply to macOS versions such as Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur and Monterey.

Option 1: repairHomePermissions

The first way to correct the access rights in the user's home directory is via a terminal command. Here is the exact sequence to do this:
  1. Start Mac in recovery mode
  2. Start the terminal in the Utilities menu
  3. Enter the following command and confirm with Enter: repairHomePermissions
  4. then exit Terminal and select “Reinstall macOS” in the recovery menu

Don't worry, installing macOS over it will not delete any personal data. But after reinstalling, the access rights should be correct again.


Option 2: Repair with diskutil command

If the above option does not produce the desired result, you can try again using the following method:
  1. Open Terminal (under Applications > Utilities)
  2. Enter the following command there and confirm with Enter:
    sudo diskutil resetUserPermissions / 'id -u'
  3. Now enter the admin password
  4. If an error is reported, please enter these two commands (each with Enter):
    chflags -R nouchg ~
    sudo diskutil resetUserPermissions / 'id -u'
  5. Once that's done, restart the Mac and check whether everything works now

Option 3: complete reinstallation and migration

The last option you have to solve the problem with access rights is to completely reinstall macOS. To do this, proceed as follows:
  1. Create a bootable backup of your system hard drive (please be sure to check whether it is complete and working!)
  2. Start Mac in recovery mode
  3. Open Disk Utility
  4. Select the volume that is affected in the left area and delete
  5. Now select the “Reinstall macOS” option in the recovery menu
  6. during installation you create a user who has a different name than the previous one on the system
  7. Once the installation is complete, open the “Migration Assistant” app under Programs > Utilities, with which you can import the user from the backup into the new system

With these tips you should be able to resolve the messages about missing access rights. You have to try out which of the three options works for you or is necessary.