Home > Mac administration, Mac OS X, Scripting > Users folder being hidden with iTunes 11.2 installed and Find My Mac enabled

Users folder being hidden with iTunes 11.2 installed and Find My Mac enabled

One side effect of the iTunes 11.2 update on Thursday, May 15th 2014 has been that some but not all Macs were seeing the /Users and /Users/Shared folders disappear.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 1.01.52 PM

The permissions on the /Users folder were also changed to be world-writable, so that anyone could read and write to the /Users folder.

Update – 5-16-2014: Apple has released iTunes 11.2.1 to fix this issue. It’s available via Apple’s Software Update or from the main iTunes download site.

After installing iTunes 11.2.1, I’ve verified that I can re-enable Find My Mac and not have /Users or /Users/Shared vanish. The permissions on /Users were also still correct following the installation. To verify that the fix sticks, I rebooted several times and observed that the visibility and permissions for /Users and /Users/Shared stayed what they should be.

After considerable investigation by the folks in the ##osx-server IRC room, it looks like the issue has been tied to two causes:

1. iTunes 11.2 being installed

2. iCloud’s Find My Mac being enabled.

The 10.9.3 update does not seem to be the root cause, as the behavior has also been reproduced on 10.9.2 with iTunes 11.2 and Find My Mac enabled.

To fix this issue if you’re seeing it:

1. Open System Preferences

2. Open the iCloud preference pane

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 1.42.32 PM

3. Check if Find My Mac is enabled.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 1.41.53 PM

4. If Find My Mac is enabled, uncheck it to disable it.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 1.40.56 PM

5. Run the script below

# Detects if /Users is present
# If /Users is present, the
# chflags command will unhide it
if [[ -d "/Users" ]]; then
chflags nohidden "/Users"
# Detects if /Users/Shared is present
# If /Users/Shared is present, the
# chflags command will unhide it
if [[ -d "/Users/Shared" ]]; then
chflags nohidden "/Users/Shared"
# Runs a permissions repair to fix
# the world-writable permission on
# /Users
diskutil repairPermissions "/"
exit 0

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What this script does is look for the /Users and /Users/Shared directory. If found, the directories are unhidden. A permissions repair is then run using the diskutil command to fix the world-writable permission issue for the /Users directory.

Note: The permissions repair may take up to 10 minutes to run.

Once the script is run, the /Users folder should be visible again.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 1.38.40 PM

It is important that Find My Mac be disabled before the permissions fix is run and also that Find My Mac remain disabled. If Find My Mac is re-enabled, the /Users and /Users/Shared folder will disappear again and /Users will revert to being world-writable.

My understanding is that Apple is aware of the issue and working on it. Hopefully a fix appears quickly.

The script is also available on my GitHub repo:


A payload-free package containing the script is also available there, to help automate running this script.

  1. Rodney
    May 16, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Thanks! This was a nuisance, and your explanation and script are very helpful

  2. Eric Murphy
    May 16, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    /users/might be world-writable, but fortunately individual users’ home folders aren’t, at least on my system.

    • May 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      Right, the /Users folder is world-writable, but fortunately the permissions change does not appear to affect the permissions of individual accounts’ home folders stored inside /Users.

  3. May 17, 2014 at 3:05 am

    Forgive me for being a dummy….how do I run this script?

  4. Art
    May 18, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Hum, has iTunes been pulled from Software Update? I used the Combo updater to go from 10.9.2 to 10.9.3 on a mid-2011 Mini, and everything is working great. However, when I now check the MAS for an update to iTunes, nothing is showing up. I’m still on iTunes 11.1.5. It’s no problem to download manually, just curious why I’m not seeing it via SU/MAS.

    • Art
      May 18, 2014 at 7:09 am

      Never mind. I’m an idiot. For some reason, iTunes was was set as a hidden update. Sorry.

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