What To Do If “Mac Unable To Open Database File”?

While working on a web app on your Mac computer, you may get a Mac unable to open database file error. If a Mac is unable to open the database file, the main reason for this problem is that the database is corrupted. 

So, what to do if mac unable to open database file? The main solution to this problem is to make sure the directory containing the database file also has write access allowed to the process. 

Other solutions have been proposed depending on the causes of Mac unable to open DB file error. In this article, we’ll outline the causes and solutions to this error. So, check out the article till the end. 

Why Does Mac Unable to Open Database File? 

The main reason why a Mac can be unable to open the database file is that the file is corrupted. There are multiple causes which make the file corrupted. Some of the most common causes will include:

  • Apache doesn’t have write permissions to the directory.
  • Memory corruption.
  • Bug in the database file.
  • Operating system might have corrupted.
  • The file has been locked.
  • Database synchronization failures.
  • Application might have crashed.
  • File is overwritten.
  • Incorrect application shutdown.

What to Do If Mac Unable to Open Database File? 

There have been multiple solutions you can attempt to solve the Mac unable to open database file error. These solutions can be divided into two types: manual solutions and alternate solutions. Below we’ll briefly discuss these two types of database failure solutions.

Manual Solution 

In order to open the database file on a Mac, the Database Engine must have the privilege to edit a lockfile in the directory. To do so:

cd …/my-app
chgrp www-data databasedir
chgrp www-data databasedir/mydb.db
chmod g+w databasedir 
chmod g+w databasedir/mydb.db

You should also make sure that the Apache process has write permission. If you don’t have this permission, you may often get this error: unable to open database file.

If it’s the reason for your Mac problem, here’s the entire output:

sudo chmod 775 /var/www/mysitesudo chmod 664 /var/www/mysite/sqlite.bdsudo usermod -a -G -pi www-data

This will give the write access to the necessary files and add the www-data user to the pi group.

Alternate Solution 

You can also try some alternate solutions to fix the error “mac unable to open database file” on your device. Some of these possible solutions are going to be described below:

DB file fails to open: dump and restore

The simplest solution to the issue “Mac unable to open database file” is to unload the file and then store it again. To do so, follow the following instructions:

  • Export your data to a database file
  • Then, change the file’s name
  • Now, make a new database file with your old file
  • Finally, open this new db file with your browser and see if the problem is solved. 

File is locked: Resolve the locked error

A database file can be locked when you attempt to run two operations on a single database connection and at the same detail. So, the solution for this problem will be making a backup of the database

To create a backup, follow the following script:

$Sqlite3 .x.Sqlite
Sqlite> .backup main backup.Sqlite
Sqlite> .exit

Once a back is created, replace your db file with its backup copy. To do so, below is the script to follow:

$mv .x.Sqlite old.Sqlite
$mv backup.Sqlite .x.Sqlite

Database Synchronization Failure: Delete the affected tables 

One of the most common reasons for the error “mac unable to open database file” is database synchronization failure. To solve this problem on your Mac, here are the steps to follow:

  • Launch the server you’re using on your Mac.
  • Open the file that is showing a synchronization error.
  • Delete the affected db tables.
  • Finally, synchronize the tables again to solve this error. 

Storage Media Failure: Create backups

Generally, storage media failure on Mac devices occurs when the system’s hard disk controller or memory is failed or crashed. So, make sure that you have enough storage space on the disk. To protect your db file from such issues, utilize multiple backups for the file. 

What to Do to Prevent Mac Unable to Open Database File?

As this is very annoying to deal with problems like a Mac being unable to open a database file, it’s better to try to prevent such problems. To do so, make sure:

  • Apache has permission to write to the parent directory of the database.
  • The full path to the database directory exists.
  • None of the database file’s folders full path start with a number.
  • No special characters in the path.
  • Double backslash is used to write the db directory path.
  • The directory path in settings.py is a full path. 
  • Your /tmp directory is world-writable. 
  • There is enough storage space in the disk controller. 
  • The server supports BLOB data type.
  • Hexview option has been provided. 


Now we know what to do when a Mac is unable to open a database file. Do you have more questions about it? Below are some of the most common questions with their answers related to database file failure on Mac:

Why can’t the Mac open a database file? 

If the database file you’re trying to open has been corrupted, you’ll get the error message “Mac cannot open database file.” There may be connection errors or issues like storage shortages and bugs.

How do I open a database file in MySQL? 

You can open a database file in MySQL by going to the MySQL connections. After that, you’ll need to enter the database information. Then, select Restore > Import from the Self-Contained file. It will open the file on MySQL. 

How do I unlock a database file on a Mac? 

The best way to unlock a database file on Mac is to create a backup of the file. Then, restore the file from the backups. 

How to fix Mac unable to open a database file? 

To fix a Mac unable to open a database file, copy that file and then, create another database file and paste it. Now, try to open that file and see what happens. 


Sometimes, manual solutions won’t be enough to fix an issue like “Mac unable to open database file.” In this case, you may need to have an alternate option for this type of trouble.

The database recovery software is more preferable and can be helpful to overcome this database error on Mac. This will be the fastest, simplest, and most efficient way to repair a database file. It will help you to get rid of corruption caused to the database files. 

This tool will also let you restore several database objects like indexes, triggers, views, and tables from a corrupted database file. However, now that you know what you will do if mac is unable to open a database file, hopefully this article has been a great guide for you.

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