Unlock OS X files

Locked OS X files with padlock on icons

Locked OS X files with padlock on icons

I transferred a whole load of photos from my camera today and they were all locked (as a result of setting them this way on the camera). Way too many to unlock individually with cmd ⌘ + I.

Question: How to unlock a whole folder of locked files?


  1. Put all the files in one folder;
  2. Open Terminal (you’ll find it in Finder > Applications > Utilities);
  3. Type: sudo chflags -R nouchg with a space at the end;
  4. From a Finder window, drag the folder into the Terminal window. This will type the path and name of the folder in the Terminal window (and it also handily “escapes” the characters that are OK in a folder, but not in a command (like blanks)).
  5. Press enter;
  6. Voilà! All unlocked.
  7. Quit Terminal.

If some files seem not to have been unlocked, don’t despair. They probably will have been unlocked; it’s just that Finder hasn’t updated the icons yet. Close finder and reopen it, or carry on and move the files — whatever works for you to get Finder to update the screen.