If you have a Mac which is used by a couple of people in the house, you may want to restrict access to certain apps. This is so people don’t run amok with the settings and screw up your computer. It is rather simple to do this. I am going to show you two ways to do this. The recommended way through System Preferences or the less common way which is harder to revert. This type is focused on System Preferences, since you don’t want people messing around with these settings, but it can be applied to any app.
To disable access to an app open up System Preferences. Go to Parental Controls and select the account you want to limit. The select the System tab if it isn’t already selected and look at the list box at the bottom of the window. Within the search box type “system” and allow the list to populate. Then deselect the application by making sure it doesn’t have a check in box.
If you do this for every account, the users will not have access to the System Preferences app. This is useful for keeping your Mac safe and secure.
The problem (in some respects) is when a users tries to run the app they will be prompted to enter a password. If a user knows this password they can easily circumvent this security and run the app. We need something more secure. This is where Terminal comes in. We are going to change the access settings so no one can access it and disable access.
Open up Terminal and type the following, change the app to one of your choosing. Note that only experienced users should attempt this and you have a backup just in case you break something and can’t revert it back.
sudo chmod 000 /Applications/System\ Preferences.app
The back-slash denotes a space is the next character, you could also encase the path in quotes like so: “/Applications/System Preferences.app”. When you try to run the app, nothing will happen. Perfect. No-one can access the app and your settings are secure. If you want to revert the settings type the following into Terminal again.
sudo chmod 775 /Applications/System\ Preferences.app
If everything goes to plan you should have access to the app again. The numbers (000 and 775) allow you to control access to the app, you can find more information here. If nothing happens, run Repair Permissions in Disk Utility and it should repair the change, if that doesn’t work pull an old copy from a backup.
There you have it, a simple and more complex way to stop access to applications. The second method is more complex and really doesn’t allow an app to be run. It can also be employed (I assume) to files and folders. If you are going to do a change like this I recommend the first option and don’t tell any one the password to allow it to be unlocked.