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How to Fix the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.” Error

If you are a Mac user, you may have encountered the error message “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” when trying to install or open an app from a third-party developer. This error means that the app has not been authorized by Apple and may pose a security risk to your device. However, not all apps that trigger this error are malicious. Some of them may be legitimate apps that have not been verified by Apple or have compatibility issues with the latest macOS version. In this article, we will explain why this error occurs and how to fix it.

Why Does My Mac Say “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free from Malware”?

Mac has a built-in security feature called Gatekeeper. It allows the Mac to check if the app developer is legitimate and that their apps are safe to run on Mac. This is a good way to ensure that no malicious apps can be installed by unauthorized publishers.

If you try to install an app from a third-party developer that is not on the App Store, Gatekeeper won’t be able to recognize the app publisher and at the same time won’t be able to verify that this app is free from malware. This is the main reason behind the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” warning while trying to install unknown apps.

Is It Safe to Open an App macOS Cannot Verify?

There are risks involved in opening apps from unverified publishers; however, if you have the knowledge and you trust the publisher, then feel free to open and install the app. In a corporate world, it is common that your company administrators will create customized apps for your Mac: if this is the case, go ahead and install it.

In cases where you do not know the app publisher, you should be very careful when installing it since it might cause damage to your Mac — and you might be installing a malicious app or a potentially unwanted application (PUA). Before open an app, you can use Trend Micro Check to check if it is a malicious app.

How to Fix “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from Malware”

There are three ways to fix the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error and run the app on your Mac. They are:

Option 1: Using Control Click

  • Open Finder on your Mac.
  • Select the app with “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error. You’ll find it either in the Applications or the Downloads folder.
  • Control-Click on the application to open the shortcut menu.
  • Click on Open to run the app.

Doing this adds the app to the whitelist, thus you won’t see the error “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” or “unidentified developer” warning.

Option 2: Open Anyway

  • On the Apple menu, select System Preferences.
  • Click Security & Privacy and tap the General tab.
  • You should see an “Open Anyway” button for the unverified app. This option only stays for about an hour after you try to open the blocked app.
  • Click Open Anyway to open the app. You will be asked to enter the admin credentials. Type in the admin credentials to proceed.
  • Click Open when asked to run or install the blocked app.

Option 3: Enable Apps from “Anywhere.”

Earlier, macOS had a dedicated option called “Anywhere” in System Preferences > Security & Privacy. This option allowed you to install and run apps from any source without any verification. However, this option was removed in macOS Sierra and later versions for security reasons.

If you still want to enable this option, you can do so by using a Terminal command. However, this is not recommended as it will expose your Mac to potential security threats. To enable apps from anywhere, follow these steps:

  • Open Terminal on your Mac.
  • Type the following command and press Enter:

sudo spctl --master-disable

  • Enter your admin password and press Enter.
  • Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General.
  • You should see the “Anywhere” option under “Allow apps downloaded from.” Select it to enable it.
  • You can now install and run any app on your Mac without any verification.

Wrapping Up

We hope this article helped you fix the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error and run the app you want on your Mac. However, we advise you to be cautious when installing apps from unknown sources and always check their reputation and reviews before downloading them. You can also use a reliable antivirus software to protect your Mac from malware and other threats. Stay safe and happy computing!

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