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ls -la symbolics… what does that last symbol mean?

When I run ls -l on my mac I see two .yml files:

-rw-r--r--  1 aa  staff    6 Apr 15 05:50 s1.yml
-rw-r--r--@ 1 aa  staff  362 Apr 15 05:49 s3.yml

same owner, same permissions but one has a @ at the end of the permisions. The one with the @ shows up in my editor, the one without does not. So there must be some significance. How can I turn on the @ for the file without it? I selected the files in the finder and did get info and everything looks identical between the two files.


2 Answers 2


It indicates that the file has extended attributes, it is mac specific. The command xattr deals with those attributes, so try xattr -h to see its parameters.

  • 5
    the -h flag brings up the help. to see the attributes, just do it without the -h flag. xattr {file_name}
    – ahnbizcad
    Aug 31, 2016 at 18:10

Those indicate extended attributes. Try this:

$ ls -a -l -@
total 1576
drwxr-xr-x+ 76 paul  staff    2584 Apr 13 17:52 .
drwxr-xr-x   5 root  admin     170 Aug 22  2009 ..
-rw-r--r--@  1 paul  staff   24580 Feb 28 22:07 .DS_Store
        com.apple.FinderInfo        32 
  • As a side note: it is possible to write options in a more compact way. In the above case it would be like this: $ ls -al@ (i.e. grouping the options together). Dec 30, 2022 at 5:58

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