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How to turn off System Integrity Protection on your Mac

macOS Catalina
macOS Catalina (Image credit: iMore)

System Integrity Protection (SIP) is a security feature of macOS designed to make it even more difficult for malware to access important system files, keeping them safe from unwanted modifications. In the early days of SIP, some developers ran into problems when the system would keep core functionality of their apps from working properly because those apps made changes to the way the operating system worked by editing the system files that SIP was now in place to protect.

Because of this, many developers (and some users) would disable SIP to let their apps work properly. Now, several years on, this is less necessary as most apps have found ways to do what they need to do without the need to disable SIP, allowing your Mac to stay more secure.

But if you absolutely need to turn off System Integrity Protection, there's a way to do it. You'll just need to use Recovery Mode and the Terminal to get it done.

How to turn off System Integrity Protection in macOS

  1. Click the Apple symbol in the Menu bar.
  2. Click Restart…
  3. Hold down Command-R to reboot into Recovery Mode.
  4. Click Utilities.
  5. Select Terminal.
  6. Type csrutil disable.
  7. Press Return or Enter on your keyboard.
  8. Click the Apple symbol in the Menu bar.
  9. Click Restart…

If you later want to start using SIP once again (and you really should), then follow these steps again, except this time you'll enter csrutil enable in the Terminal instead.

How to check if System Integrity Protection is enabled or disabled

If you want to check the status of System Integrity Protection, it's just a quick pop into the Terminal and a short command. You don't even need to be in Recovery Mode this time.

  1. Open Terminal from your Dock or Utilities folder.
  2. Type csrutil status into Terminal.

Check System Integrity Protection Status, showing how to open Terminal, then enter csrutil status (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Hit Return or Enter on your keyboard.

You'll see the message System Integrety Protection status: enabled or System Integrety Protection status: disabled right after you hit Return.

Questions

If you have any more questions about turning off System Integrity Protection, let us know in the comments.

Updated August 2020: Updated for macOS Catalina and the macOS Big Sur beta.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

5 Comments
  • Is this the thing that Apple did to prevent you from installing other OSes that you want?
  • No, you're thinking of "Secure boot", which can be turned off as well:
    https://aozoeky4dglp5sh0-zippykid.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018...
  • Secure Boot's primary and legitimate purpose is to thwart UEFI/boot sector malware. Making it harder to boot Linux is merely its secondary purpose/annoying side effect. ;-p Since you can boot Windows and macOS with Secure Boot enabled, so there doesn't seem to be a good reason to disable it unless you are running Linux, FreeBSD, etc.. It may be possible to boot Linux with Secure Boot enabled, perhaps by using the Microsoft boot loader and/or a Machine Owner Key.
  • Turning off SIP is a terrible idea for 99.99% of users. The only reason I've ever had to turn it off is for kernel debugging with DTrace. If you're not in the middle of doing something like kernel debugging or tracing, SIP should stay on.
  • Thanks for the guide! I did all steps, checked that csrutil is in fact disabled - but still can't get access to the system folder.
    What am I missing here?