What's the deal with SIP protection in Mac OS?

December 04, 2018

[Editor's note: the comment section is not regularly monitored. For tech support, visit our support page. At this time we can only provide support to customers, though we can also answer any questions about compatibility.]

If you own some of our products advertised as Mac compatible, you may be in a situation where they just aren't working. The most likely issue is that on Mac OS 10.11 and later, Apple has SIP protection enabled by default.

What is SIP protection?

Apple defines SIP protection as "...technology in OS X El Capitan and later that's designed to help prevent potentially malicious software from modifying protected files and folders...it restricts the root user account and limits the actions that the root user can perform..."

In other words, it is designed to limit capabilities of your Mac system with the intention of preventing unscrupulous software from doing things it shouldn't. But it also blocks legitimate software from being installed outside of the Apple app store (FYI Apple does not approve WiFi driver software for the app store).

SIP protection locks down system folders to prevent third party software from writing to them. So to use Mac driver installers for most of our Mac compatible products on 10.11 and later, you have to disable SIP protection. Fortunately this is easy to do, read on.

Does disabling SIP your Mac less safe?

It makes it as safe as it was in Mac OS 10.10 and earlier. You are essentially just allowing applications to write to your system folders again. As always, never run any application from a source you don't trust, and always use antivirus software.

How to disable SIP protection

To use any of our Mac installers on most 10.11 and newer Macs, you will need to first disable SIP protection before installing the software. If you already installed the software, uninstall it. Then take these steps to disable SIP protection:

1. Click the Apple menu.
2. Select Restart...
3. Hold down Command key and R key to boot
into the Recovery System.
4. Click the Utilities menu and select Terminal.
5. Type csrutil disable and press return.
6. Close the Terminal app.
7. Click the Apple menu and select Restart...

Now install the software desired and you should be able to use your product.

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