stuck in a loop trying to get it to run on M1 Mac

I don’t know what to do here.

Rack is installed at 2.0.6.

I open it, log in and it invites me to update my library. (I previously used rack 1 on my old MacBook and these appear to be a list of the modules I had downloaded there) Certainly, if I DONT update, when I browse for modules, all I see are those from VCV. Nothing from my previous list.

If I update, it then says I need to quit and restart, but when I do so I’m back to square one, with only the VCV modules and nothing else. And it’s still asking me to update when I log in.

Can anyone help with the steps I need to take?


one more thing which may have a bearing on my issue - whenever I open the app, the first thing that appears is a splash screen saying:

could not load system template patch, clearing rack: Unarchiver could not write file to dir:could not unlink

It sounds like you need to give VCV permission to write files where it wants to. Presumably in your protected documents folder?

And you are on macOS? It sounds like your Rack2/plugins directory is read-only for some reason. You haven’t by chance installed any “anti-virus” software on your Mac, have you? Never do that.

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Go to settings => privacy & security => files & folders on the list of apps look for VCV and give it access to your documents folder, that should do it.


It is possible that VCV Rack is not able to write to the necessary directories to update your library or load your previous modules.

One solution to try is to give VCV Rack permission to access your Documents folder. You can do this by going to Settings => Privacy & Security => Files & Folders, and then granting access to VCV Rack.

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I have the same symptom here (also M1 Mac). On attempting to load my template document (including File > New), I get this popup message:

Could not load system template patch, clearing rack: Unarchiver could not write file to dir: Can’t create ‘/Users/jima/Documents/Rack2/autosave/modules/1878679374588749/wavetable.wav’

I used the terminal to fix permissions on that directory, and the template opened once. Just once, then the directory is locked again on the next attempt. Very frustrating.

This is very interesting. I’m not on latest macOS but I should check on my wife’s machine. So, it seems like in newer versions of macOS, Apple has gone down the same route as Windows, to combat ransomware, and has started to prevent “non-authorized” apps from having write-access to the Documents directory and its sub-directories.

I wonder what apps are automatically authorized to write to Documents, maybe when they’re from the app store? But at least it seems like VCV Rack is not automatically permitted.

It would be great if @Vortico could investigate the possibility of including the authorization in the Rack installer, because this has bitten a lot of people now. Also, if there are any real macOS wizzards in here, on new versions of macOS, it would be great if they could come up with the short and sweet command-line incantation to grant this permission, and share it here so people can do it easily.

Yes, because it’s just a temporary hack. The solution is as written above, to grant Rack permanent write permission, like written: Settings => Privacy & Security => Files & Folders, and then grant access to VCV Rack. And even better would be for that to be included in the Rack installer, so people don’t have to go through that frustration in the first place. Just remember to blame Apple, because they’re the ones that did it.

I always thought ransomware meant something else, but it is in fact the OS preventing apps to start until a ransom is paid by the developer … smart :wink:

So all this is most likely due to Apple continually increasing security in macOS, and banning apps from accesss to “protected resources” and the Documents folder is now a protected resource. It’s one of those things that is technically correct and probably will increase security, but is also a nightmare for users and application developers.

I went down the rabbit hole to try and find some Apple documentation and possible things needing to be added to the Rack application, to avoid this nonsense. So this is not really for end-users but rather for Andrew (@Vortico) to consider.

I might have found something that would make a difference:

In Rack’s Info.plist it could potentially make a difference to add the NSDocumentsFolderUsageDescription key. Because as this documentation says: “Always provide a valid purpose string in the Info.plist file if your app uses a protected resource. If you don’t, attempts to access the resource fail, and might even cause your app to crash.”

So something like this could be added to Info.plist:

<key>NSDocumentsFolderUsageDescription</key><string>This is required to read and write your patches.</string>

On a tangentially related note: It might also be useful to add, as documented here, to Rack’s Entitlements.plist file, as I remember several instances on the forum where people had to go in to system settings and add the microphone permission to be able to have audio-input working, and if true it seems that the existing <key></key><true/> might not be enough. So this could be added to Entitlements.plist:


This should probably replace the setting in there, as I really don’t think that is needed, and might cause trouble.

I should probably write to Andrew as he’s probably not reading this… Edit: I’ve written to Andrew and pointed him to this.


Reply from support:

As you mentioned, we believe we have fixed this issue in the next release of VCV Rack 2 which should be available shortly.

Regarding the Folder Access issue, users are already asked for permission to access the necessary folders when VCV Rack opens, but we are looking into this issue.

FYI - Updating to Rack Pro 2.3.0 has fixed my wavetable woes. Thanks to @Vortico and the Rack team for tracking this down.