Unprivileged commands
Unprivileged profile commands
Privileged commands
Privileged profile commands


apparmor_parser − loads AppArmor profiles into the kernel


apparmor_parser [options] <command> [profiles]...

apparmor_parser [options] <command>

apparmor_parser [−hv] [−−help] [−−version]


apparmor_parser is used as a general tool to compile, and manage AppArmor policy, including loading new apparmor.d(5) profiles into the Linux kernel.

AppArmor profiles restrict the operations available to processes.

The profiles are loaded into the Linux kernel by the apparmor_parser program. The profiles may be specified by file name or a directory name containing a set of profiles. If a directory is specified then the apparmor_parser will try to do a profile load for each file in the directory that is not a dot file, or explicitly black listed (*.dpkg−new, *.dpkg−old, *.dpkg−dist, *−dpkg−bak, *.repnew, *.rpmsave, *orig, *.rej, *~). The apparmor_parser will fall back to taking input from standard input if a profile or directory is not supplied.

The input supplied to apparmor_parser should be in the format described in apparmor.d(5).


The command set is broken into four subcategories.
unprivileged commands

Commands that don’t require any privilege and don’t operate on profiles.

unprivileged profile commands

Commands that operate on a profile either specified on the command line or read from stdin if no profile was specified.

privileged commands

Commands that require the MAC_ADMIN capability within the affected AppArmor namespace to load policy into the kernel or filesystem write permissions to update the affected privileged files (cache etc).

privileged profile commands

Commands that require privilege and operate on profiles.

Unprivileged commands

−V, −−version

Print the version number and exit.

−h, −−help

Give a quick reference guide.

Unprivileged profile commands

−N, −−names

Produce a list of policies from a given set of profiles (implies −K).

−p, −−preprocess

Apply preprocessing to the input profile(s) by flattening includes into the output profile and dump to stdout.

−S, −−stdout

Writes a binary (cached) profile to stdout (implies −K and −T).

−o file, −−ofile file

Writes a binary (cached) profile to the specified file (implies −K and −T)

Privileged commands


Unconditionally clear out cached profiles.

Privileged profile commands

−a, −−add

Insert the AppArmor definitions given into the kernel. This is the default action. This gives an error message if a AppArmor definition by the same name already exists in the kernel, or if the parser doesn’t understand its input. It reports when an addition succeeded.

−r, −−replace

This flag is required if an AppArmor definition by the same name already exists in the kernel; used to replace the definition already in the kernel with the definition given on standard input.

−R, −−remove

This flag is used to remove an AppArmor definition already in the kernel. Note that it still requires a complete AppArmor definition as described in apparmor.d(5) even though the contents of the definition aren’t used.


−B, −−binary

Treat the profile files specified on the command line (or stdin if none specified) as binary cache files, produced with the −S or −o options, and load to the kernel as specified by −a, −r, and −R (implies −K and −T).

−C, −−Complain

Force the profile to load in complain mode.

−b n, −−base n

Set the base directory for resolving #include directives defined as relative paths.

−I n, −−Include n

Add element n to the search path when resolving #include directives defined as an absolute paths.

−f n, −−subdomainfs n

Set the location of the apparmor security filesystem (default is "/sys/kernel/security/apparmor").

−m n, −−match−string n

Only use match features "n".

−n n, −−namespace−string n

Force a profile to load in the namespace "n".

−X, −−readimpliesX

In the case of profiles that are loading on systems were READ_IMPLIES_EXEC is set in the kernel for a given process, load the profile so that any "r" flags are processed as "mr".

−k, −−show−cache

Report the cache processing (hit/miss details) when loading or saving cached profiles.

−K, −−skip−cache

Perform no caching at all: disables −W, implies −T.

−T, −−skip−read−cache

By default, if a profile’s cache is found in the location specified by −−cache−loc and the timestamp is newer than the profile, it will be loaded from the cache. This option disables this cache loading behavior.

−W, −−write−cache

Write out cached profiles to the location specified in −−cache−loc. Off by default. In cases where abstractions have been changed, and the parser is running with "−−replace", it may make sense to also use "−−skip−read−cache" with the "−−write−cache" option.


Skip updating the cache if it contains cached profiles in a bad or inconsistent state

−L, −−cache−loc

Set the location of the cache directory. If not specified the cache location defaults to /etc/apparmor.d/cache

−Q, −−skip−kernel−load

Perform all actions except the actual loading of a profile into the kernel. This is useful for testing profile generation, caching, etc, without making changes to the running kernel profiles.

This also removes the need for privilege to execute the commands that manage policy in the kernel

−q, −−quiet

Do not report on the profiles as they are loaded, and not show warnings.

−v, −−verbose

Report on the profiles as they are loaded, and show warnings.


Enable various warnings during policy compilation. A single dump flag can be specified per −−warn option, but the −−warn flag can be passed multiple times.

  apparmor_parser −−warn=rules−not−enforced ...

Use −−help=warn to see a full list of which warn flags are supported.

−d, −−debug

Given once, only checks the profiles to ensure syntactic correctness. Given twice, dumps its interpretation of the profile for checking.

−D n, −−dump=n

Debug flag for dumping various structures and passes of policy compilation. A single dump flag can be specified per −−dump option, but the dump flag can be passed multiple times. Note progress flags tend to also imply the matching stats flag.

  apparmor_parser −−dump=dfa−stats −−dump=trans−stats <file>

Use −−help=dump to see a full list of which dump flags are supported

−O n, −−optimize=n

Set the optimization flags used by policy compilation. A sinlge optimization flag can be toggled per −O option, but the optimize flag can be passed multiple times. Turning off some phases of the optimization can make it so that policy can’t complete compilation due to size constraints (it is entirely possible to create a dfa with millions of states that will take days or longer to compile).

Note: The parser is set to use a balanced default set of flags, that will result in resonable compression but not take excessive amounts of time to complete.

Use −−help=optimize to see a full list of which optimization flags are supported.

−−abort−on−error Abort processing of profiles on the first error
encountered, otherwise the parser will continue to try to compile other
profiles if specified.

Note: If an error is encountered while processing profiles the last error encountered will be used to set the exit code.

−−skip−bad−cache−rebuild The default behavior of the parser is to check
if a cached version of a profile exists and if it does it attempt to
load it into the kernel. If that load is rejected, then the parser will
attempt to rebuild the cache file, and load again.

This option tells the parser to not attempt to rebuild the cache on failure, instead the parser continues on with processing the remaining profiles.


An optional config file /etc/apparmor/parser.conf can be used to specify the default options for the parser, which then can be overridden using the command line options.

The config file ignores leading whitespace and treats lines that begin with # as comments. Config options are specified one per line using the same format as the longform command line options (without the preceding −−).



As with the command line some options accumulate and others override, ie. when there are conflicting versions of switch the last option is the one chosen.


would result in Optimize=minimize being set.

The Include, Dump, and Optimize options accululate except for the inversion option (no-X vs. X), and a couple options that work by setting/clearing multiple options (compress-small). In that case the option will override the flags it sets but will may accumulate with others.

All other options override previously set values.


If you find any bugs, please report them at <>.


apparmor(7), apparmor.d(5), subdomain.conf(5), aa_change_hat(2), and <>.


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