CHFLAGS(1) General Commands Manual CHFLAGS(1)

chflagschange file flags

chflags [-fhvx] [-R [-H | -L | -P]] flags file ...

The chflags utility modifies the file flags of the listed files as specified by the flags operand.

The options are as follows:

Do not display a diagnostic message if chflags could not modify the flags for file, nor modify the exit status to reflect such failures.
If the -R option is specified, symbolic links on the command line are followed and hence unaffected by the command. (Symbolic links encountered during traversal are not followed.)
If the file is a symbolic link, change the file flags of the link itself rather than the file to which it points.
If the -R option is specified, all symbolic links are followed.
If the -R option is specified, no symbolic links are followed. This is the default.
Change the file flags of the file hierarchies rooted in the files, instead of just the files themselves. Beware of unintentionally matching the “..” hard link to the parent directory when using wildcards like “.*”.
Cause chflags to be verbose, showing filenames as the flags are modified. If the -v option is specified more than once, the old and new flags of the file will also be printed, in octal notation.
Do not cross mount points.

The flags are specified as an octal number or a comma separated list of keywords. The following keywords are currently defined:

, archived
set the archived flag (super-user only)
set the nodump flag (owner or super-user only)
set the opaque flag (owner or super-user only) [Directory is opaque when viewed through a union mount]
, sappend
set the system append-only flag (super-user only)
, schange, simmutable
set the system immutable flag (super-user only)
, uappend
set the user append-only flag (owner or super-user only)
, uchange, uimmutable
set the user immutable flag (owner or super-user only)
set the hidden flag [Hide item from GUI]

Putting the letters “no” before or removing the letters “no” from a keyword causes the flag to be cleared. For example:

clear the user immutable flag (owner or super-user only)
clear the nodump flag (owner or super-user only)

Unless the -H or -L options are given, chflags on a symbolic link always succeeds and has no effect. The -H, -L and -P options are ignored unless the -R option is specified. In addition, these options override each other and the command's actions are determined by the last one specified.

You can use "ls -lO" to see the flags of existing files.

If chflags receives a SIGINFO signal (see the status argument for stty(1)), then the current filename as well as the old and new flags are displayed.

The chflags utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

Recursively clear all flags on files and directories contained within the foobar directory hierarchy:

chflags -R 0 foobar

ls(1), chflags(2), stat(2), fts(3), symlink(7)

The chflags command first appeared in 4.4BSD.

Only a limited number of utilities are chflags aware. Some of these tools include ls(1), cp(1), find(1), install(1), dump(8), and restore(8). In particular a tool which is not currently chflags aware is the pax(1) utility.

June 12, 2018 macOS 14.3