Things was unable to open your database

If you’ve just migrated your data via Apple’s Migration Assistant/Time Machine, you might be unable to launch Things.

Apple’s Migration Assistant can sometimes incorrectly restore file and folder permissions when transferring data to a new Mac (or restoring a Mac), so you might see this error when you try to launch Things:

“Things was unable to open your database file. The file couldn’t be saved because you don’t have permission.”

Here’s how to fix the problem:

  1. On your Mac, go to the /Applications folder and open the TextEdit app.
  2. Create a new document.
  3. In the menu bar at the top of your screen, click Format > Make Plain Text. (If you don’t see that option, you’re already using plain text.)
  4. Copy the following command and paste it into your document:
    sudo chown -R username "/Users/username/Library/Group Containers/"
  5. Now go to /Applications/Utilities and open Terminal.
  6. Copy the following command and paste it into Terminal: whoami
  7. Hit ↩ Return to execute the command.
  8. The next line after the command will show your macOS user name. Select it and hit ⌘ Cmd+C to copy.
  9. Return to the text document you created in step 2.
  10. Select username and hit ⌘ Cmd+V to insert your own user name in its place.
  11. Double-check the command you just edited – you must have inserted your user name twice.
  12. Copy the entire command from TextEdit, and paste it into Terminal.
  13. Hit ↩ Return to execute the command.

You might be prompted to enter your Mac user account’s password – that’s entirely normal (you are providing the password to macOS, not to us). Note that Terminal will not display the password as you enter it – just keep typing normally and hit ↩ Return when you’re done.

You should now be able to launch Things.

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