How to Install an App When Your Mac Can’t Verify the Developer

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Macs have default security features that stop you from installing apps with viruses or malware. It’s generally a great system, but can sometimes have a downside: When you try to install an app that hasn’t been verified by Apple, it will give you the “cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified” error, and only the option is to move the app to Trash.

Apple’s installation system depends on a security layer called Gatekeeper, which won’t let you install an app that hasn’t been vetted by Apple. Big developers usually go through the verification process, but not every developer does.

If an app isn’t verified, you should obviously look at the developer’s history and check whether it comes from a reliable website. A quick Google search will tell you if others have reported any issues with the app you’re looking to install. If you aren’t sure the app is 100% safe, however, don’t risk it: Only use the following trick if you can confirm the app and its developer are legitimate.

How to bypass Gatekeeper on your Mac

Once you are sure that the app is safe, you can go about it two ways. Your first option is to hold the Control key while opening the app, and you’ll see an “Open” option in the box; click it once, and then click “Open” again from the security alert box. This method is quick and will work in most cases. If it doesn’t, you can use System Preferences to get through the Gatekeeper check. Launch the app (even if it won’t open), then head over to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Click the Lock icon to authenticate and unlock the section. You should see the name of the app in the Allow apps downloaded from section. Next to the app’s name, click “Open Anyway,” and from the security box, click “Open.” That’s it, and you should be on your way.

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