Typically, folders and files are displayed in macOS finder app in regular black font and can be accessed. In some cases, the folders and files are grayed out in macOS finder meaning you cannot move or delete files and folders and you cannot access them. Grayed out folders and files are often generated if copying files from one location to another, especially copying them from or to network drives. Grayed out folders and files show the ’24 January 1984′ error, meaning they are all dated with 01/24/1984.
The ’24 January 1984 error’ was first introduced as an easter egg with Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks. On January 24, 1984, Steve Jobs presented the very first Macintosh in a live demonstration.
How to fix grayed out folders or files on macOS and Mac OS X
Here’s how to fix grayed out folders or files on macOS and Mac OS X (successfully tested on macOS 10.13 High Sierra, macOS 10.12 Sierra and Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan):
- Open Finder and go to the grayed out folder or file. Check that you see the ’24 January 1984 error’ meaning the folder or file is dated 24 Jan, 1984.
- Go to Applications and open the Terminal app.
- Type “SetFile -d 29/08/2014 /path/to/your/grayed/out/folder_or_file” and tap on return. The date of the folder will change to 29/08/2014 (or any other date you’ve choosen) and the folder or file isn’t grayed out anymore.
Grayed out folders and files on macOS 10.13 High Sierra, macOS 10.12 Sierra or Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan are easily fixed by changing the file date from 24 Jan 1984 (’24 January 1984 error’ easter egg) to any date you want, but before 24 January 1984. 😉
Stay tuned! 😉