How to fix a stubborn application firewall in OS X

SecurityIconXWhen you use programs in OS X that accept incoming connections from the internet or other network resources, if you have the system’s firewall enabled then you may see a warning that requests you either allow or deny network access to the program. By clicking the Always Allow option in this window, OS X should remember your decision for the given program and never ask you again; however, there may be times when this window will repeatedly display for a given program.

If this happens on your Mac, then you have a few options you can try:

Use only one firewall

If you have any security software on your Mac that acts as an incoming firewall, then consider either disabling it or disabling the OS X firewall. You may need to fully uninstall your third-party software in order to restore full functionality of your Mac’s firewall. Note that this is different from an outbound firewall such as Little Snitch and similar utilities, which will augment OS X’s built-in firewall.

Application firewall adjustment in OS X

Use these options to remove individual programs from the firewall, and then re-add them.

Manually adjust the firewall

Go to the Security system preferences and click the Firewall tab. In here, click the lock to authenticate and then click the Firewall Options button. At this point, ensure the program you are managing is set to allow or deny incoming connections according to your preferences. Change this setting accordingly and then try launching the program again to see if the same warning appears. If so, then try removing the program from the firewall (select it and click the minus button), and then add it back to the list manually.

Reset the firewall

A final approach for addressing this problem is to reset the application firewall’s configuration and have OS X set it up from scratch:

  1. Go to the security system preferences and disable the application firewall
  2. Go to the Macintosh HD > Library > Preferences folder in the Finder
  3. Remove the file called “”
  4. Restart your Mac

When your Mac reboots, go back to the Security system preferences and re-enable the firewall, followed by again attempting to open the program that is causing the repeated firewall messages. When you do this, expect to see the same warning initially, but this should only happen once when OS X recreates the firewall configuration.

3 thoughts on “How to fix a stubborn application firewall in OS X

  1. Jonathan M. Chuzi

    None of these suggestion work with Yosemite and Office 2008 apps. Every time I launch one, I have to click Allow.

    1. Bill Boak

      Same thing happens to me. Every time I launch an Office 2008 app, I have to click allow. None of the suggestions in the above article will correct the problem.

  2. Grey

    Little Snitch 3 has INBOUND firewall capability as well

Comments are closed.