Fix Operation Not Permitted Error in VSCode Terminal on macOS

Are you encountering an ‘Operation not permitted’ error when trying to run commands in the Visual Studio Code (VSCode) terminal on your macOS computer? This can be frustrating, especially if the commands work fine in other terminals like iTerm or the default macOS terminal.

Here’s a common scenario that Mac users might face:

ls ~/Downloads

And the terminal throws back:

ls: .: Operation not permitted

Don’t worry! This guide will walk you through the steps to grant the necessary permissions to VSCode so you can carry on with your work smoothly.

Step-by-Step Guide to Granting Full Disk Access to VSCode

Step 1: Open System Preferences

Navigate to the  Apple menu and select System Preferences.

Step 2: Access Security & Privacy Settings

Within System Preferences, open Security & Privacy.

Step 3: Focus on Privacy

Click on the Privacy tab. On the left-side menu, scroll down and select Full Disk Access.

Step 4: Authenticate as Admin

Look for the lock icon (🔓) at the bottom left corner of the window. Click on it and enter your admin credentials to unlock the settings.

Fix Operation Not Permitted Error in VSCode Terminal on macOS

Step 5: Allow VSCode Full Disk Access

With the lock now open, locate and tick the checkbox next to Visual Studio Code. This grants the application full disk access on your Mac.

Fix Operation Not Permitted Error in VSCode Terminal on macOS

Final Step: Relaunch VSCode

After modifying the privacy settings, close the Security & Privacy window and restart VSCode.

Now, try running the ls command again in the VSCode terminal:

ls ~/Downloads

You should see the contents of your Downloads directory listed without errors:

file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt file4.txt file5.txt


That’s the entire process! By following these instructions, you should no longer encounter the ‘Operation not permitted’ error within VSCode on your macOS computer. We hope this tutorial was helpful in troubleshooting your issues with terminal access permissions.

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