How to Run Unverified Apps on MacOS.
Apple would prefer that you only download approved apps from the App Store, but that’s not always possible. If you find a suitable app on the Internet that has not been approved for installation, macOS will block it from launching. This security feature is well-intentioned, but you’ll have to bypass it to install some of your own third-party apps.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to run unverified apps on Mac. Before we begin, remember that this security measure is there for a reason. Consider installing apps only from sources you trust, otherwise you could put your Mac at risk even if your Mac has antivirus software installed.
Allow Unverified Applications in System Preferences
When you first try to open an app from an unverified developer, Apple blocks it, displaying a warning window instead. macOS always prevents unfamiliar applications from launching without your permission.
It is also possible that your macOS security settings prevent you from running any applications that are not from the App Store. This includes apps from verified developers that have been downloaded directly from the Internet.
- If you are unable to launch an unverified app (or a verified app that is not in the App Store), you need to go to System Preferences. You can access it directly from the dock or launch it from Launchpad.
- In System Preferences, click Security & Privacy General, then click the Lock button so you can make changes to your settings. You will need to enter your password or use Touch ID to unlock it.
If your app is from a trusted developer, but it’s not in the App Store, in the Allow app downloads category, select App Store and specified developers.
- The last app you tried to open will be listed under your App Store security settings. To launch the application (or rather, the DMG image file containing your application), click Open Anyway.
You will need to do this for every unverified app you run, as Apple removed the option to automatically allow this in an earlier version of macOS. However, you only need to do this once for a specific application.
If you clicked Open Anyway, the DMG image file containing your unverified application will run. Most DMG files contain an attached application file as well as a shortcut to the Applications folder.
- To install this unverified app, drag your app icon and drag it to the app shortcut in the Finder window. This will copy the app from your DMG image file to your macOS installation, allowing you to access it from the launcher or from the apps folder in Finder.
- After installation, if you haven’t opened an app yet, macOS will warn you that you are trying to open an app from the Internet. You will need to approve it to run, so click the Open button to do this.
Open unverified apps without installing
Among the many things the Finder allows you to do is the ability to view the contents of a DMG image file before installing the application. Instead of dragging and dropping the attached application into the (usually included) “Applications” shortcut, you can open the application directly from the DMG file without installing it.
- To do this, open the DMG file. To do this, you can either double-click the application’s icon, or right-click the application file in the Finder window and click the Open button.
- An unverified application warning appears. This will tell you that you are trying to open the application from the Internet. Click “Open” to launch it. You can also check the Do not warn me when opening applications on this disk image check box to allow all applications in your DMG file to run without warning.
At this point, your application will launch. Since it will not be installed on your system, you will have to repeat this process to start it again after closing.
Use Homebrew to run unverified apps on a Mac
While Apple would rather you install apps through the App Store, you can get around this entirely with Homebrew. The advantage of using Homebrew to install macOS apps is that it bypasses the security mechanisms Apple uses to “protect” you from unverified apps.
This is a double-edged sword: you can install unverified applications, but you only need to install applications and software that you trust.
Homebrew acts as a package manager just like APT on Linux. It allows you to install applications using the macOS terminal, either individually or using it to create a bulk installer to install multiple applications at the same time.
This can be useful, for example, to install multiple applications on new macOS devices.
- To install Homebrew, start by opening a macOS terminal application window. You can find the Terminal app in the Launchpad Other folder, or by searching for a terminal in Spotlight, which can be accessed by clicking the search icon in the top menu bar.
- To install Homebrew, enter / usr / bin / ruby ??-e “$ (curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)” in the Terminal window, then press Enter twice. This will deploy the unattended installation script generated by the Homebrew developers.
- The Homebrew installation process should complete automatically. The Terminal window will update with the message “Installation was successful” upon completion.
After installing Homebrew, you can search for potential Homebrew applications by typing the application name brew search, replacing the application name with the partial or full application name. You can also find them on the Homebrew website.
- Once you have found a suitable installation package for the application, you can enter the application name brew cask install, replacing the application name with the application. For example, to install Firefox, enter brew cask install firefox to download and install the appropriate Firefox package.
Once the installation process is complete, your application will be available to launch from the launcher or from the Applications folder in Finder, along with other Mac applications.