How would I fix this on macOS 11

$ at 0200
at: cannot open lockfile /usr/lib/cron/jobs/.lockfile: Operation not permitted

This started to happen after accidentally dismissing an incessant prompt whether I'd give Terminal permissions to administer the system.

This goes away after 5-10 minutes: retrying at command succeeds

Removing the lock file did not help the matter:

$ sudo rm /usr/lib/cron/jobs/.lockfile
rm: /usr/lib/cron/jobs/.lockfile: No such file or directory
antonsmbp:tangomultic atropashko$ at 0300
at: cannot open lockfile /usr/lib/cron/jobs/.lockfile: Operation not permitted

1 Answer 1


Try ls -l /usr/lib/cron/jobs/.lockfile to see if lockfile exists longer than necessary. Maybe its owned by root or other user and coannot be created as your user.

Try to remove /usr/lib/cron/jobs/.lockfile as root (you have to enable root).

  • You don't ever have to enable root on Mac - nor, if you did, would it gain you anything.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 10, 2021 at 11:48
  • Removed: no dice. Sep 10, 2021 at 13:48

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