Question from Peter: Lots of programs that I’ve downloaded to my Mac in the past failed to run because they weren’t “approved” by Apple (whatever that means).
Today I heard the tail end of a tech show I listen to on talk radio and they said something about a change in the latest version of macOS that’ll let you run unapproved software.
I’m wondering if this is true because after I got home I tried running a couple of programs that I downloaded a while back and they still won’t run for me.
What’s the story?
Rick’s answer: Peter, the “Gateway” security feature in macOS blocks unapproved programs from loading by default. And truth be told, that’s actually a good thing.
In order for a program to be “approved” its author must submit it to Apple for a security scan to ensure that it isn’t infected with malware and that it meets certain other safety-related criteria.
If Apple’s security scan fails to find any issues with the program they’ll place it on their “Approved Software” list.
Once approved, the “Gatekeeper” security feature will no longer block the program from loading on a Mac.
This approval procedure prevents your Mac from running dangerous software that could potentially damage your system and/or cause other serious problems for you.
Many users have requested that Apple provide a way to force macOS to run unapproved programs that the user trusts, and in the just-released macOS Catalina they have finally honored that request.
Once you have updated your Mac to macOS Catalina you’ll be able to easily launch and run programs that aren’t included on Apple’s “Approved Software” list.
You’ll find the instructions for doing that below. But first, I must ask you to read and agree to my semi-standard disclaimer:
The following procedure will allow you to bypass your Mac’s “Gatekeeper” security feature, an action that is inherently dangerous when used to run unapproved programs.
For that reason, I strongly recommend that you only use it to run unapproved software that you trust and know beyond a shadow of any doubt to be safe.
In short, if you use the following procedure to run an unapproved program and your lawnmower starts mowing the neighbor’s yard all on its own at 3am, mice start slapping your cat around like a rag doll or your Mac starts acting in really strange ways, you agree that it won’t be the fault of your humble tech blogger (namely me).
If you agree to everything I said above please feel free to follow the steps below to run an unapproved program on your Mac:
1 – Simultaneously press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click on the unapproved program in “Finder” to attempt to launch it.
2 – Click Open.
That’s all there is to it. The desired program should now open for you.
What’s more, your Mac’s Gatekeeper feature will remember that you manually approved the program so it won’t attempt to block it when you attempt to launch it again in the future.
I hope this helps, Peter. Good luck!
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