The fickle macOS Accessibility Permissions

I’ve had this happen with several apps — some apps more than once — and maybe you’ve seen it: the app has been manually granted permissions under System Preferences->Security & Privacy->Accessibility, but still fails to access features, especially the clipboard. This kills functionality in apps like LaunchBar and PopClip. Checking the permissions always shows they’re enabled, and the apps don’t seem to detect any issue; most of them notify you if they don’t have permissions, linking you to the System Preferences pane, so it seems as though, for all intents and purposes, the system registers that permissions are set. Yet somehow, they’re not.

The solution that works every time is to remove the app from the list in System Preferences by hitting the minus symbol at the bottom, then re-add the app either by dragging it in from Finder or using the plus symbol and manually selecting it. So if you’re seeing functions of macOS utilities inexplicably stop working, especially after an OS update, do that.

It’s an icky and impermanent solution. I find the shortcomings of the new security measures irritating. I’m all for security. I also know what I’m doing — and what apps I install and run — and having to give every app permission to open a folder in Finder with Apple Events is annoying. I’d like an override that just states “I get it, I take full responsibility.” If nothing else, Apple, please at least fix the bugs that require users to provide permission more than once. Please and thank you1.

  1. No, I’m not delusional enough to think that writing that on my blog would be more effective than filing a radar. And yes, I’ll be filing a radar.

Brett Terpstra

Brett is a writer and developer living in Minnesota, USA. You can follow him as ttscoff on Twitter, GitHub, and Mastodon. Keep up with this blog by subscribing in your favorite news reader.

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