Taking Advantage of Useful Permissions Settings in Mac OS X Lion

8 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of File and Folder Permissions in Mac OS X Lion

When working with and setting folder permissions in Mac OS X Lion, you can combine permissions for a folder. You’ll probably find one option that fits the way you work and the people you want to share with.

You can, of course, set permissions in OS X Lion's Sharing System Preferences pane. Another way to set permissions is by selecting an icon in the Finder and choosing File→Get Info (shortcut: Command+I), and then changing the settings in the Sharing & Permissions section at the bottom of the resulting Get Info window. The two methods are pretty much interchangeable, so you can use whichever is more convenient.

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Allow everyone access with folder permissions

Configuring settings that allow everyone on a network to access the Downloads folder lets everyone can open, read, and change the contents of this Shared folder. Do this by choosing Read & Write for Others from the pop-up menu to the right of the user’s name in the Sharing System Preferences pane or the folder’s Get Info window.

Allow nobody but yourself access to folders in Mac OS X Lion

The settings shown reflect appropriate settings that allow owner-only access to the Downloads folder. No one but you can see or use the contents of this folder. Members of the Staff group can drop files and folders into this folder. Use the pop-up menus to choose Write Only (Drop Box) as the Staff privilege and No Access as the Everyone privilege.

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Allow all administrative users of this Mac access folders in Mac OS X Lion

These settings that allow the group Staff (in addition to the owner) access to see, use, or change the contents of the Downloads folder. Use the pop-up menu to choose Read & Write for the Staff privilege.

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Allow others to deposit files and folders without giving them access: A drop box

These settings enable everyone to drop their own files or folders in the Downloads folder without being able to see or use the contents of the Shared folder. After a file or folder is deposited in a drop folder, the dropper can’t retrieve it because he doesn’t have permission to see the items in the drop folder.

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Read-only bulletin boards in Mac OS X Lion

If you want everyone to be able to open and read the files and folders in this Shared folder — but not to modify them — choose Read Only from the pop-up menus for Group and Others. If you do this, however, only the owner can make changes to files in this folder.

One more privilege for folder permissions

The Apply to Enclosed Items button, at the bottom of the Sharing and Permissions section of Get Info windows in the Finder, does exactly what its name implies. This feature (which is only available in Get Info windows and doesn’t appear in the Sharing System Preferences pane) is a fast way to assign the same permissions to many subfolders at the same time. After you set permissions for the enclosing folder the way you like them, click this button to give these same permissions to all folders inside it.

What is true of Get Info windows is also true of their Inspector window variant. Show Inspector replaces Get Info on the File menu when the Option key is pressed (also Option+Command+I).

Be careful — there is no Undo for this action.

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The Essentials of File and Folder Permissions in Mac OS X Lion

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