In order to use apps on your Mac, you can simply go to Mac App Store and search for your favorite apps and then install them, because the apps are from App Store and identified developers and that’s what the apps are reliable and trustworthy. However, if you try to install third-party apps on your Mac, Gatekeeper will block the app from opening because it is not from an identified developer. So, in this guide, you will learn how to open an app from an unidentified developer on Mac (Catalina).
Meanwhile, Installing applications from unknown websites or unidentified developers is never easy and will be blocked even after downloading when attempted to install them. They are blocked by a particular security function called Gatekeeper.
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However, the Gatekeeper only allows you to install apps from the App Store or identified Developers. In the meantime, if you are facing problems installing and open an app on Mac from an unidentified developer then here I will show you the easiest ways to install apps (third-party) from unknown sources or unidentified developers. But before that, you must know about Gatekeeper.
What is Gatekeeper & How it Works?
Gatekeeper is a security feature of both Apple’s macOS and iOS operating systems. It allows Apple to digitally sign downloaded software before it can be activated. It greatly decreases the risk that malware could be installed accidentally on Apple devices. It first appeared in macOS 10.7.3 (Lion), released on 1 July 2011.
How Gatekeeper Works?
Gatekeeper protection applies only to downloaded Internet software. Gatekeeper doesn’t review software installed from other sites, including network drives and removable media.
Gatekeeper can act in one of three ways when you try to install a downloaded application:
- If the application is downloaded from the App Store, it is always allowed to be enabled by Gatekeeper. All App Store software undergoes a code review by Apple engineers and is given a digital cryptographic signature checked by Gatekeeper.
- If the application is downloaded from outside the App Store (e.g., website), Gatekeeper can search the device for a digital signature issued by Apple that identifies the creator. If Gatekeeper finds and verifies a signature, the installation can continue, if allowed in system preferences.
- If there is no digital signature, the OS will alert you that the developer is unidentified. The application can not be installed unless the user expressly allows this in system preferences.
How to Open App from Unidentified Developer on Mac
Even though Gatekeeper is now more stringent than ever in macOS, there’s a way around it — including the newest tools from macOS Catalina. This trick allows downloading and using downloaded apps from anywhere or unidentified developers on macOS Catalina and earlier versions without having to check.
As you can see in the screenshot below that there are only two options available: App Store and App Store identified developers and it means that I am not allowed to install apps from anywhere in Security & Privacy on Mac.
Note: Keep in mind that using this trick could be risky and harmful and it’s highly recommended to install apps from the Mac App Store and identified developers. However, this method also applies to older macOS versions like Mojave, Sierra, High Sierra and etc.
So, without further ado, here’s how to open an app from an unidentified developer on Mac:
Step 1. Go to Spotlight Search and search for Terminal or Press Command + Space to open Terminal directly.
Step 2. Type of the following command in the Terminal window and press Enter.
sudo spctl --master-disable
Step 3. Now, enter your Mac password and then press Enter.
Step 4. Exit Terminal.
After following the above-mentioned steps, when you go to the Security & Privacy page from System Preferences, another option is added named “Anywhere” along with App Store and App Store and identified developers. It means after this time it will allow you to install third-party apps or you can open an app from an unidentified developer on your Mac.
How to Enable Gatekeeper Again on Mac?
As I said earlier using this method could be risky to your system so it’s better to re-enable Gatekeeper again. To do so following the below steps;
- Open Terminal.
- Type of the following command in the Terminal window and press Enter;
sudo spctl --master-enable
- Now, enter your Mac password and then press Enter.
- Exit Terminal.
How to Know if Gatekeeper is Enabled or Not?
If you’re eager to know whether Gatekeeper is enabled or no then follow the below steps:
Step 1. Click System Preferences.
Step 2. Select Security & Privacy.
Step 3. Notice that under Allow downloaded apps from, only App Store and the developers listed. The Anywhere option is disabled.
That’s it. This guide was all about how to open an app from an unidentified developer on Mac (Catalina). You’ve definitely learned how to disable Gatekeeper using Terminal while installing third-party apps or opening apps from unidentified developers on Mac. It’s recommended when you installed any app from an unidentified developer, it’s better to enable Gatekeeper again using Terminal.