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I an only set lower values for the launchctl limit maxfiles.

I try launchctl limit maxfiles 2048 2048 and nothing changes:

$ launchctl limit maxfiles
maxfiles    500            500
$ launchctl limit maxfiles 2048 2048
$ launchctl limit maxfiles
maxfiles    500            500
$ launchctl limit maxfiles 1024 1024
$ launchctl limit maxfiles
maxfiles    500            500
$ launchctl limit maxfiles 499
$ launchctl limit maxfiles
maxfiles    499            499

I can only set a lower value. It does not work for higher values.

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Have you looked at this? Could be a result of kernel limitations or various other resource changes you may need to do. There's a few answers there that may get you there. –  nerdwaller May 31 '13 at 15:02
1  
This problem is still present in OS X 10.9.0. I submitted a bug report to Apple about it (bug report #15563096). One additional thing I observed is that rebooting seems to reset something, and the command works correctly again, but only once per boot. –  Chad von Nau Dec 2 '13 at 6:06

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