Controlling What Apps Can Access Files & Folders

The macOS allows a great deal of control to the end user. Yes, macOS Catalina is fairly locked down, but you can still control a lot of stuff. Case in point is controlling what Apps have access to your Files and Folders. You can adjust this type of information in the System Preferences. Even though I will show you how to do this, it does not mean you should alter these settings. Just give it some thought first.

Files & Folders Access

To check and/or change what Apps can access in your Files and Folders, you must go into the Security & Privacy Preference Pane:

Privacy Preference Pain

Once in this area scroll down and click on File and Folders section:

Files and Folders

In the window to the right you will see Apps that have Full Disk Access. That means they can access most areas of the macOS. However, if you scroll down this list, you will come to Apps that have somewhat limited access to your Mac systems:

Application Access

If you uncheck a box for a specific App, then that App loses access to that part of the operating system. This is in macOS Catalina. In my case, I don’t need H&R Block 2019 to access the Desktop Folder so I will uncheck it:

Uncheck App

That is all there is to it. Keep in mind you do not have to uncheck anything for any App, but you can if you wish to do so. I have unchecked a couple of things in this area, but YMMV.


It would not hurt to go check this area of your macOS. You may not uncheck anything, but then again you might find a few things to which you wish to restrict access.