By Tom

2018-08-01 23:08:21 8 Comments

As well as many of the other features talked about during macOS Mojave's release like dark mode and the addition of new apps like Home, another key feature of macOS Mojave seems to be it's heightened focus on both privacy and security.

As quoted under the "Camera and Microphone Now Require Your Permission" section of this article:

Apple also announced that other categories of data, such as your Messages history and Mail database, will be protected in a similar manner to macOS Mojave's new camera and microphone permissions.

I understand that after the update, when an app requests to use your camera or microphone, you will receive an alert like the one below:

enter image description here

However, I am more intrigued by the following:

...other categories of data, such as your Messages history and Mail database, will be protected in a similar manner...

I have been unable to find much information about this online and I do not currently have the pre-release version of macOS Mojave installed and am therefore unable to test this new feature but I am curious to know what exactly this feature will mean.

Has Apple publicly documented how this will work?


@JBis 2018-08-02 04:31:15

How Mojave responds when an application tries to access this sensitive information; will it alert the user, block unsigned apps or what?

When an application attempts to access restricted directory the user will be prompted with a dialog box explaining the following information:

  • What Application
  • What the application is trying to access
  • Option to Allow or to Not Allow access

enter image description here

enter image description here

Many applications will prompt for a folder or file selection. If you attempt to drag a folder from a restricted directory (from a normal finder window) into the choose a file dialog box, the folder will open as a blank folder with the prohibited folder icon. This will not produce a request permission dialog box.

enter image description here


The exception to asking for access is Terminal. If certain Terminal commands attempts to access these directories they will be blocked automatically without a dialog box.

$ sudo  cp  -r  ~/Library/Messages/ ~/Desktop/test
cp: /Users/[User]/Library/Messages/: unable to copy extended attributes to /Users/[User]/Desktop/test: Operation not permitted
cp: /Users/[User]/Library/Messages/: Operation not permitted

When attempting to use the zip command the directory is ziped up, recursively, until the blocked directory at which it will appear to be empty.

 $ zip -r  ~/Desktop/ ~/Library/Messages/

Screenshot taken of finder after unzipping (~/Desktop/ and opening. As you can see it is empty.

enter image description here


If you would like to add exceptions to give certain apps unrestricted permissions this can be done in System Preferences.

  1. System Preferences>Security & Privacy>Privacy
  2. Unlock if needed
  3. Select type of permission
    • Location Services
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Photos
    • Camera
    • Microphone
    • Accessibility
    • Application Data (Includes Message data, Mail data, etc.)
    • Automation
    • Analytics
  4. Click the + icon
  5. Select your app
  6. Press Add

Note: The application will have to be restarted for changes to take effect.

Warning: Adding terminal will give all terminal commands access.

enter image description here

@Tom 2018-08-02 09:51:48

Thank you so much for the excellently written answer! I understand that the answer is still work in progress due to the limited documentation available at the moment. However, your reply has completely satisfied what I had hoped to find out from my question! Thank you!

@Vikram Sinha 2018-09-10 07:53:18

@JBis Is there any other alternative to have this permission??

@JBis 2018-09-10 14:12:56

@vikramsingh I am not understanding your question.

@Vikram Sinha 2018-09-11 05:57:08

@JBis Mac Mojave now restricts all access to mail, messages, safari browsing history etc. how to read these data? one of our application works on safari browsing history and I am nowhere near to solve this issue.

@MacDeveloper 2018-09-25 09:33:15

Can we add applications in privacy for unrestricted access using any terminal commands rather than GUI. My application runs apple scripts which internally invokes other applications. And I don't want this dialog to appear again and again

@JBis 2018-09-25 12:25:21

@LalithaSyamaleswarich I don't think so. I would create a new question.

@MacDeveloper 2018-09-25 19:47:36

Please post the link of question @JBis

@JBis 2018-09-28 01:23:37

@Buscar웃 What? No. Just add Terminal in system preferences.

@Sébastien Stormacq 2018-10-06 13:26:05

Mojave has no + button. How can an app programmatically ask for access permission ?

@JBis 2018-10-06 13:27:20

@SébastienStormacq Did you unlock the pref pane by pressing the lock 🔒 icon in lower left hand corner?

@Sébastien Stormacq 2018-10-07 20:14:34

yes I did, the Camera and Microphone list have no + buttons, the others have.

@Wowfunhappy 2018-11-01 13:55:02

@Buscar웃 Does SIP actually have an effect in the first place? I know it doesn't make a difference for Apple Events.

@Daniel 2019-02-26 21:46:34

Is there somewhere a definition or comprehensive list what exactly is "Application data" that is protected under this new scheme?

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