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How to Manage App Access on a Mac

When you install new applications on your Mac, you may be prompted to grant them access to other apps. For example, when you download an image editing app, you’ll likely see a message asking for permission to access your Photos app. This allows the app to sync and retrieve data from these other applications.

Over time, you might forget which apps you’ve given access to. Alternatively, if you’re experiencing issues with a specific app, you may want to troubleshoot by checking which other apps are compatible with it.

In this article, we’ll guide you on how to control app access on your Mac.

Discover Which Apps Can Access Others

Since you grant access to an app, you’ll manage these controls in the Security and Privacy settings.

Step 1: Open System Preferences by clicking on the icon in your Dock or selecting the Apple icon in the menu bar and choosing System Preferences.

Step 2: Select the “Security & Privacy” option.

Privacy and Security in the MacOS System Preferences.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Click on the Privacy tab at the top of the Security & Privacy settings.

On the left, you’ll find a list of apps such as Contacts and Calendar, along with other items on your Mac like the Camera and Microphone. On the right, you can see which apps you’ve granted access to, indicated by a checkmark.

Apps with access to other apps in Security and Privacy on Mac.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Remove App Access to Another App

You can easily remove access to an app from another app without deleting anything or going through a lengthy process.

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Step 1: In the Security & Privacy settings, select the app you want to modify from the list on the left.

Step 2: On the right, uncheck the box next to the app you want to revoke access from.

An unchecked box removes the app's access.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: If the options on the right are grayed out, you’ll need to unlock the settings to make changes. To do this, click on the padlock icon at the bottom-left, enter your username and password, and select “Unlock”.

Password prompt to unlock the Security and Privacy settings.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4: As you remove access from apps, you may come across one or two that you want to completely remove from your Mac. If so, right-click on the app on the right-hand side and choose “Show in Finder”.

You can then navigate to the app in the subsequent folder and follow the usual process to uninstall it from your Mac.

Show in Finder in the shortcut menu for an app.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 5: Once you’re done, simply close the settings window by clicking the “X” on the top-left. If you had to unlock the settings, you can relock them by clicking on the padlock icon at the bottom-left. Then, close the window.

For additional assistance with your Mac, check out our best keyboard shortcuts for performing actions quickly or learn how to fix common MacBook problems.

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