Apple has a built-in way to protect you from opening up potentially malicious apps on your computer in Mac OS X. This setting, named Gatekeeper, will never stop you from installing apps from the Mac App Store, but it can help prevent helps from being installed that are not a part of the Mac App Store. However, if you get a security warning and still want to install the app, here is how to do it.
You now only have the options to either allow apps from the App Store, or from the App Store and Identified Developers. OS X El Capitan (top) vs macOS Sierra (bottom) However, there is still a way to launch third party apps from unidentified developers on your Mac running macOS Sierra. Setting your Mac to open apps from unidentified developers. If you want your Mac to allow apps from unidentified developers, you’ll have to follow a few additional steps. Firstly, try to open the unrecognized application. You’ll see a notification that it can’t be opened. Then, follow the instructions: Open System Preferences.
Open up your 'System Preferences' and head to 'Security & Privacy.'
In the 'General' tab, you'll see a section called 'Allow apps downloaded from.' In order to change these settings, you'll have to click on the lock icon below and input your admin password. Once that's out of the way, you can choose between three options:
Mac App Store
Mac App Store and identified developers
The safest option to choose here would be the 'Mac App Store,' since Apple reviews all apps that are accepted in their store and can remove them quickly if necessary. You will know that your Mac will be as free as possible from malware if you use this option only.
The next option also trusts apps from 'identified developers,' which are developers with a unique Developer ID from Apple who have their apps signed digitally. This is the preferred option, since Apple can verify that there has not been any tampering with the apps since they were signed.
The last option, 'Anywhere,' removes Gatekeeper's blocking capabilities on your Mac, letting you install and open any app off the internet, including Automator apps made by individuals. Sometimes Apps that fall in this category contain malware, We do not recommend using this option and instead recommend using the 'identified (trusted) developers' option above and okay installation of apps missing a Developer ID on a case-by-case basis.
If you have the 'Mac App Store and identified (trusted) developers' option selected, then when you download an app without a Developer ID and try to open it, you'll get the following warning.
'App Name' can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer
To bypass this restriction, select 'OK' on the popup to close it, then go into the 'Security & Privacy' section in your 'System Preferences.' Below the Gatekeeper options in the 'General' tab, you will see the app that was blocked from opening. To trust it, select 'Open Anyway'.
If you do not want to go into Systems Preferences to open an app for the first time as shown above, then Control+Click on the app in the Finder, then select 'Open.' You will see a new popup asking if you're sure you want to run the app on your Mac. Just hit 'Open' again and the App will launch as expected.
If you’ve ever tried to open an app from an unidentified developer on your Mac, you know that it can be a tricky task. macOS has security measures in place that block this action in the hopes of protecting you from malware. That being said, it’s not impossible.
Here, we’ll talk about apps from unidentified developers and show you how to allow them on your Mac. We’ll also go over some tips for staying safe when downloading new software.
An unidentified developer is an app developer that isn’t registered with Apple. Generally, apps from unidentified developers haven’t been reviewed by Apple for safety and security.
Apple believes that one of the easiest ways to distribute malware is to insert its code into an app. That’s why they check apps thoroughly before allowing them to release to the Mac App Store. Apps from unidentified developers aren’t on the App Store.
This doesn’t mean that apps from unidentified developers are malicious (although they can be). They can either not comply with Apple guidelines, or be created before the ID registration started.
In order to protect your device from dangerous apps, Apple includes security measures in their devices. One example of this is Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper is Apple’s program that recognizes whether an app has been downloaded from the App Store. This program warns you when you’ve downloaded and attempted to run software from another location for the first time.
When you receive a warning about an app, it’s because Gatekeeper flagged it as a potentially dangerous app. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the app has malware—it simply means that macOS doesn’t recognize the app (or the developer). Because of this, you won’t be able to open the app as easily as you would an app that’s been vetted and listed on the App Store.
Luckily, it’s a bit easier to download apps from unidentified developers onto your Mac than onto other Apple devices.
By default, your Mac is set to block you from opening apps that haven’t been verified by Gatekeeper. This includes both apps that aren’t from the Apple App Store and those that come from unidentified developers.
It’s a good idea to start by first setting your Mac to allow you to open apps that aren’t from the App Store.
By setting your Mac to open apps that aren’t from the App Store, you reduce the number of warnings you’ll get when opening third-party applications. This makes it much easier to open these kinds of apps.
Here’s how to change your Mac settings to allow apps from third-party locations:
Once this is done, you’ll be able to open most of the apps that aren’t on the App Store. However, you still won’t be able to open apps that aren’t recognized by macOS.
If you want your Mac to allow apps from unidentified developers, you’ll have to follow a few additional steps. Firstly, try to open the unrecognized application. You’ll see a notification that it can’t be opened. Then, follow the instructions:
These steps allow you to open this app whenever you’d like. You should remember, though, that Gatekeeper won’t allow you to open apps that contain malware, even after following these steps.
Apple knows that Mac users still want to open apps from unidentified developers. Luckily, they’ve provided a method for doing so.
Following these steps will make this app an exception, allowing you to open it again.
Opening apps from anywhere
Earlier versions of macOS used to provide the option to “allow apps from anywhere.” This would allow you to open any app without having to go through the above steps for each one you’d like to open.
While convenient, this can be dangerous, as it can leave your Mac open to malware. This is likely why it’s been hidden as a readily available option.
Because they require circumventing Apple’s default security vetting process, it’s harder to determine whether apps from unidentified developers are safe. You’ll need to be sure yourself that a particular app can be trusted.
The best you can do to ensure that an app is safe to open is to do your research on it. Read through some reviews and look into the experiences other users have had with the app, as these sources are the most likely to give you truthful and relevant information. Dig as deeply as you can to help avoid downloading any dodgy apps.
You should also ensure that you have antivirus software (and that it’s up to date). This adds an extra layer of protection to your Mac. If you find that an app isn’t trustworthy, opt for an alternative app in the App Store or one from an unidentified developer that you can trust.
Downloaded a suspicious app? CleanMyMac X allows you to check your Mac for potentially unwanted apps (PUA) and malware with its Malware Removal Module. This feature scans your Mac for malicious apps and allows you to delete them one-by-one or in bulk. CleanMyMac X also features a real-time malware monitor to help you keep track of whether you’re not downloading anything malicious.
Here’s how to use it:
If CleanMyMac X has found any threats, press Remove to delete them. Additionally, you can free lots of space on your Mac by deleting outdated cache files, system log files, and other unused junk with the System Junk feature.
Now, you know how to install any app on your Mac and circumvent the restrictions. But, if you aren’t vigilant enough, you may need to deal with the consequences of malicious software. It’s a good idea to always question the apps you want to install and look for additional reviews and testimonials.