Opening apps from unidentified developers

Apple is notorious for being a virus-free environment. To keep it that way, Macs are normally configured to only run apps from developers Apple has certified. If you try to open an app from an “unidentified developer” you’ll get the following message.

Like Apple, we recommend getting all apps from the Mac App Store. That way you know they are safe. If you absolutely need to run an app not sold in the App Store or from an unidentified developer, you can override these settings. Just be sure you’ve gotten the app from a reputable well-known source. Unidentified apps can be malicious, installing malware or other bad software.

  1. Find the app you want to open. It must be the app icon, not a document. You’ll find most apps by clicking the Finder icon, then click Applications in the sidebar. Sometimes an app is in the Downloads folder – click the Go menu at the top of the screen and choose Downloads.
  2. Hold the Control key and click the app icon.
  3. Choose Open from the pop-up.
  4. Click Open.

You won’t have to repeat these steps next time – just open the app or documents normally.

Read more about malware and how to avoid it.

Learn more about security & troubleshooting.

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