by Steve Streeting

This example project is designed to provide an example of how you install a 
command line tool in a system location, or do something else which requires
a privilege escalation, in OS X without using deprecated methods like 

This example is linked to my original blog post on the subject, which you 
can find here:

How to use the example

Unfortunately because of the code signing, you can't just compile and run this, 
you need to make a few changes:

1. Make sure you have a code signing certificate
2. Edit SSPrivilegedHelperCommon.h and change kSigningCertCommonName to the 
   name of your certificate
3. Open ExamplePrivilegedHelper-Info.plist, go to SMAuthorizedClients and edit
   "3rd Party Mac Developer Application: Your Company Here" with the same
4. Open PrivilegedHelperExample-Info.plist, go to SMPrivilegedExecutables and edit
   "3rd Party Mac Developer Application: Your Company Here" with the same
5. Edit the global project settings, change 'Code Signing Identity' to your
This is necessary because all your binaries need to be signed and verified not
to have been tampered with, to avoid exposing a security hole.

Rough explanation

There are 3 products defined here:

1. The main application
2. A privileged helper which can be used to perform privileged actions
3. A simple command-line tool which we want installed

It's CRITICAL that all 3 are codesigned. As currently set up, the requirements
are that the certificate is authorised by Apple, but you could change this.

The App asks LaunchServices to install the privileged helper, which will later 
be communicated with over a socket to perform the installation of a command-line
tool. Code signing is used to prevent tampering with the process.

Replicating this in your own projects

There are quite a lot of things that can go wrong when you're setting this up
from scratch, so if you have problems using this in your own projects, try the 

1. Check you're signing all your projects with a valid certificate approved by Apple
2. Check the build settings in each of the example targets. There are several
   things there such as:
   a. Copying the helper in the app's /Library/LaunchServices and the console tool
      into resources
   b. Make sure the product name of the helper is fully qualified (
   c. Make sure all the Info.plists have been updated to use the right certificate
   d. Check the command-line tools have 'Other Linker' options set to embed their
      own plist files (check the example)
3. Make sure you've updated the SSPrivilegedHelperCommon.h file to reflect your product
   names, certs etc. 
When interpreting the example, 'PrivilegedHelperExample' is the main app, 
'ExamplePrivilegedHelper' is the helper which is installed into LaunchServices, 
and 'ssexampletool' is the command-line tool which is installed.


This code is derived extensively from these Apple samples:
- BetterAuthorizationSample (
- SMJobBless (

Essentially I've combined these two examples removing the old API calls for 
escalating privileges (for the install) in BetterAuthorizationSample, and 
replacing them with the approach from SMJobBless.

My additions / changes to these samples can be considered public domain.