Opened 8 years ago

Closed 6 years ago

#5900 closed defect (duplicate)

TorBrowser on Mac OS requires write permission to application

Reported by: rptb1 Owned by: tbb-team
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version: Tor:
Severity: Keywords:
Cc: g.koppen@… Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:


The TorBrowser bundle will fail to launch if the current user does not have write permission to directories and files within the TorBrowser application bundle.

This means that:

  • it is not possible to install TorBrowser securely in the system-wide Applications directory for use by multiple users.
  • TorBrowser is leaving traces of use in an unconventional location.

In general, Mac OS X applications can't assume that they can write to their own bundles without first becoming root.

TorBrowser appears to write to

Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/profile

There may be others -- this is where I found modified files after a simple session.


  1. Unzip
  2. Drag the bundle to /Applications
  3. Launch and test.
  4. Switch to another user account.
  5. Attempt to launch. Observe permissions errors.
  6. find /Applications/ -mtime -1d -ls


Normally these kinds of things would be in the user's home directory. Is there a good reason why they aren't? Note that the permissions problem more or less forces the user to place the whole bundle in their home anyway, so traces are still left there, though trashing the bundle is quite reliable.

Does TorBrowser want anything to persist between sessions? I would have guessed not. In which case, consider /tmp (with erase on exit) or a temporary RAM disk image using a method like <>. ("hdiutil attach -nobrowse" will prevent the image popping up in the Finder)

I was not able to find a ticket on this issue. I hope this is a useful report.

Child Tickets

Change History (4)

comment:1 Changed 8 years ago by gk

Cc: g.koppen@… added

comment:2 Changed 6 years ago by erinn

Keywords: needs-triage added

comment:3 Changed 6 years ago by erinn

Component: Tor bundles/installationTor Browser
Owner: changed from erinn to tbb-team

comment:4 Changed 6 years ago by mcs

Keywords: needs-triage removed
Resolution: duplicate
Status: newclosed

Resolving this bug as a duplicate of #4894.
See for some information about why the Tor Browser app bundle is self-contained.

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