chgrp - macOS


The chgrp command in macOS is used to change the group ownership of one or more files or directories. It is essential for managing file permissions in a multi-user environment, ensuring that files and directories have the correct group ownership for access control purposes.


The basic syntax of the chgrp command is:

  • GROUP: The target group name or numeric group ID to which the ownership of the files should be changed.
  • FILE…: One or more files or directories whose group ownership is to be modified.


  • -c, --changes: Like verbose, but report only when a change is made.
  • -f, --silent, --quiet: Suppress most error messages.
  • -v, --verbose: Output a diagnostic for every file processed.
  • --no-preserve-root: Do not treat ‘/’ (the root directory) in any special way (this is the default behavior).
  • --preserve-root: Fail to operate recursively on ‘/’.
  • -R, --recursive: Operate on files and directories recursively.


  1. Change the group of a single file:

    chgrp staff myfile.txt

    This command changes the group of myfile.txt to staff.

  2. Change the group of multiple files:

    chgrp admin file1.txt file2.txt

    Changes the group ownership of file1.txt and file2.txt to admin.

  3. Recursively change the group of a directory:

    chgrp -R team Documents/

    This command recursively changes the group of all files within the Documents directory to team.

  4. Change the group and display changes only:

    chgrp -c admins newfile.txt

    Outputs a message only if the group of newfile.txt is actually changed to admins.

Common Issues

  • Permission Denied: You may encounter this error if you do not have adequate permissions to change the group of a file. Ensure you have the necessary rights or use sudo for administrative privileges.
  • Invalid Group: If the specified group does not exist, chgrp will return an error. Check that the group name is spelled correctly and exists on the system.


chgrp can be combined with other commands for complex file management tasks. For instance, to find all .txt files and change their group to staff, you can use:

find /path/to/search -type f -name "*.txt" -exec chgrp staff {} +
  • chmod: Changes the file mode bits of each given file according to mode, which can be symbolic or numeric.
  • chown: Changes the owner and/or group of each given file.

Explore more about this command in the macOS man pages or the related GNU coreutils documentation.