For Mac users, the message 'macOS Cannot Verify That This App is Free from Malware' isn't anything new. You may be greeted by this message when you try to open an app downloaded from the internet on your macOS computer.
The warning message is a security measure from Apple designed to keep you safe and to prevent potentially malicious software from running on your Mac. It's accompanied by another message that says that the app cannot be opened because it's from an unidentified developer.
While it's not exactly an error, "fixing" it becomes paramount as it can be rather annoying, especially when you know that the app is safe but are still facing this warning and find no way to make it go away. This means that you cannot open the app until the Gatekeeper (that's the literal name of the feature) lets you through.
Thankfully, there are quick and easy methods to bypass this warning and open any app you want, and for your convenience, we'll discuss all of them.
1. Use the Context Menu to Open the App
The easiest way to bypass this warning and open an app on your macOS is to use the context menu.
Open Finder and navigate to the app. It'll either be in the 'Applications' or the 'Downloads' folder.
Then, right-click (or Ctrl-click) the app instead of double-clicking it. From the context menu, click on 'Open'.
Again, a warning message saying that "macOS cannot verify the developer of [the app]" will appear. But this time around, it'll also have an option to 'Open' the app; click it.
This will bypass Gatekeeper, and the app will open.
2. Use the Privacy & Security Settings
If, for some reason, the above method doesn't work for you, you can also open the app from your macOS Settings.
Open the 'System Settings' app on your Mac.
Then, navigate to 'Privacy & Security' from the left menu.
Scroll down on the right, and under the 'Security' section, you'll find a message that "[App name] was blocked from use because it is not from an identified developer." Click on the 'Open Anyway' option.
Then, enter the password for your user account and click 'Modify Settings' to open the app.
3. Re-download the App
If you still can't open the app using the above methods, try deleting and re-download the app. Sometimes, the warning message might not go away if the app has become corrupted or its signature might have changed.
A simple redownload from the developer's website should resolve the problem in this case.
Disable Gatekeeper Entirely with Terminal (Not Recommended)
If you often install apps from unverified developers and are tired of getting the warning every time, you can also completely disable the Gatekeeper. Though we wouldn't recommend it as the above two options can quickly get you access to any apps, if you are sure, there's a simple Terminal command that can help you do it.
Note that there used to be an option in macOS settings to disable Gatekeeper in the previous versions, but it has been disposed of in the recent updates. The Terminal command brings back that option.
First, go to 'Applications' from Finder.
From your applications, navigate to 'Utilities'.
Then, open 'Terminal'. You can also use Spotlight Search (
Space) to search for Terminal.
In the Terminal, enter the following command and press Enter:
sudo spctl --master-disable
You'll be asked to enter your administrator password to execute the command. The password won't be displayed as you type it; this is normal behavior in the Terminal. Simply type your password and press Enter. You also won't get any confirmation on the Terminal but you can verify that the changes have been made from the Settings app.
Once you disable Gatekeeper, an additional option will be added to your Security settings. Navigate to
System Settings >
Privacy & Security and scroll down to the Security section. There, you'll see that the setting 'Allow apps downloaded from' has another option that wasn't available before: 'Anywhere' and it will be selected. You can change your preferred setting at any time from here.
To re-enable Gatekeeper, you can type the following command in the Terminal and press Enter:
sudo spctl --master-enable
The option 'Anywhere' will disappear once again.
Gatekeeper is a crucial feature in macOS that protects your PC from malware and other security threats. While we don't recommend disabling the feature entirely, there are easy ways to bypass Gatekeeper's security and you can do it for apps that you absolutely trust.