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Mac OS X is based on the UNIX operating system, and one of the beauties of UNIX is that it does its best to prevent you from mucking around with the more intimate portions of the operating system. And it does this by assigning certain powers or permissions to each other. The latest versions of OS X are a little sterner about these permissions than previous versions of the Mac OS, and there may be times when you want to change information to make something easier, and this is how you go about it. By way of demonstration, I'm going to go to the Applications folder, and let me find the Chess application, and I'm going to drag it to the Trash, because I just want to get rid of it.
And I'm told, "Chess can't be modified or deleted because it's required by Mac OS X." Nonsense, it is not required by Mac OS X. I don't need Chess to run my Mac. It's just a toy. What's really happening here is Apple has determined that any of its applications that are in the Applications Folder cannot be thrown out. You don't have to use them, but you can't get rid of them. Well, actually you can, and I'm going to show you how. We're going to do this by adjusting permissions.
So, I will click on Chess to select it, then I'll press Command_I, to bring up the Info window. When I do this, you see this Sharing & Permissions area at the bottom of the window. If you don't see that, click the triangle next to Sharing & Permissions and now you will. At the bottom, we have three Users. One is System. The second is Wheel, and the last one is Everyone. So, System is reserved for the Mac itself. Wheel applies to the root account, and then there's the rest of us schmoes and we are Everyone.
The reason I can't throw this out is because as part of the Everyone group, I only can read this, I can't write to it, which really means I can't delete it. But I'm going to change permissions so that I can do that. So, I'll click on the Lock icon, enter my password, and now I can change permissions. For the Everyone permission, I'm going to change that from Read Only to Read & Write. I can then close this window, grab Chess, move it to the Trash, and it's gone, again, because I changed the permission.
I'll undo that by pressing Command+Z, and back it goes. Now, if I want to change that permission back, as it was originally, unlock, password, Read Only. There are a couple of other things that you can do here. You can add other users, so I click on plus, and you see that I have a few options. One is Administrators, so I can add this user, which means that any administrator can use whatever permission is applied to it.
I could add myself, I could another account, or one of these other users. I can also choose people from contacts or groups of contacts to create a group permission. I don't care to do any of these things so I'll click on Cancel. One other thing you may want to look at is the ability to change the permissions on a folder and then apply those permissions to everything else in that folder. So, I'll go into Documents, I'm going to create a new folder, and I'll drag a few things into it.
Select the folder, press Command+I, and now I have the option to change permissions on that folder. Let's say I want everybody to be able to read and write to this folder. Well, that's fine, but what about the stuff in it? Click on the Tool icon and enable Apply to enclosed items. Click OK, and now all the items within this folder have inherited the permissions that I assigned to that folder. So, if you ever get stuck, finding that you can access a folder, but not certain items within it, it could be that the items don't have the proper permissions.
If instead, you change the permissions for the folder and then apply to the enclosed items, you should be able to access those items. And that's editing permissions in Mac OS X.
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