5 Ways To Fix ‘macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free From Malware’ Error

Trying to open an app not downloaded for Mac from the App Store or verified by Apple? Chances are, this error message has become a pain in your back already: “MacOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware”.

That’s because Apple can’t figure out if the app is safe or not. But how about if it’s just a 3rd party app, you know it’s safe, and want to get rid of the error message? Don’t worry, fix is here, hold onto your hope.

Here’s everything you need to know about this error message and how to fix it by bypassing the security warning:

Understanding the “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free From Malware” Message

macOS is known for its robust security features that help protect your computer from malware and other threats.

macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free From Malware

One of these features is Gatekeeper, a security tool that checks for the presence of malware in apps before allowing them to run.

When you attempt to open an application on macOS, Gatekeeper checks the app’s digital signature to ensure it’s from a trusted source and hasn’t been tampered with.

If Gatekeeper can’t verify the app’s integrity and authenticity, you’ll receive the “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free From Malware” warning.

Causes Of The Error Message

There are several reasons why you might encounter this message:

The App Is Not from a Recognized Developer

Gatekeeper typically allows apps from identified developers to run without issues. If the app is from an unknown developer or hasn’t been notarized by Apple, Gatekeeper may block it.

Corrupted Download

Sometimes, a corrupted download can cause this issue. The app may not have downloaded correctly, leading to verification problems.

Outdated macOS

Running an older version of macOS may cause compatibility issues, especially if you’re trying to use a new app. Upgrading your operating system can help.

Expired Certificate

Apps are signed with digital certificates, and if an app’s certificate has expired, Gatekeeper may raise concerns.

Malware or Tampering

In some cases, this message might be genuine, indicating that the app has been compromised or contains malware.

How To Fix or Resolve The Issue?

Here are five different methods you can try to resolve the “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free From Malware” error:

1. Using The Control-Click Technique

The easiest way to fix the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error is to use the Control-Click method.

Using The Control-Click Technique

This method allows you to open the app without changing any system settings. Here’s how:

Open Finder on your Mac and go to the Applications or Downloads folder where the app is located.

Control-Click on the app icon and select Open from the menu that appears.

A pop-up window will appear with the message “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware”. Click on Open again to confirm your action.

The app will open and run normally on your Mac. You will not see the error message again for this app unless you move it to another location.

2. Allowing Apps from Anywhere (Not Recommended)

Another way to fix the error is to use the “Open Anyway” option in the Security & Privacy settings.

Allowing Apps from Anywhere

It lets you override the security warning for a specific app. Here are the steps to follow:

Open System Preferences on your Mac and click on Security & Privacy.

Click on the General tab and look for the section that says “Allow apps downloaded from:”. You will see an option called “Open Anyway” for the app that you tried to open earlier.

It’ll only appear for an hour after you attempt to open the app. Click on Open Anyway and enter your administrator password if prompted.

A pop-up window will appear with the message “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware”. Click on Open again to confirm your action. The app will open and run normally now.

3. Using System Preferences

The third way to fix “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error is to change the system settings in the Security & Privacy preferences. Here’s how to do it:

Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen, and choose “System Preferences.” In System Preferences, click on “Security & Privacy.”

At the bottom left of the Security & Privacy window, you’ll see a lock icon. Click it and enter your administrator password when prompted.

Using System Preferences

In the Security & Privacy window, navigate to the “General” tab. Look for the “Allow apps downloaded from” section.

You’ll see two options: “App Store” and “App Store and identified developers.” To enable apps from anywhere, you’ll need to use a Terminal command.

type sudo spctl --master-disable on Terminal

Open the Terminal on your Mac. Type the following command and press Enter: sudo spctl –master-disable.

You may need to enter your administrator password again. Go back to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General.

You’ll now see a third option called “Anywhere” under “Allow apps downloaded from.” Select “Anywhere” and close System Preferences.

4. Modifying Gatekeeper Settings

Adjusting Gatekeeper settings on your Mac is a straightforward solution for fixing the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” issue. Here’s how to do it:

Open the Settings app on your Mac or MacBook. Look for and click on the Privacy & Security settings tab in the left pane.

Modifying Gatekeeper Settings

Scroll down until you reach the Security section and choose the “App Store and other identified developers” option under “Allow applications downloaded from.”

Now you can download apps from sources other than the App Store. However, remember to download apps from trusted sources to avoid encountering the “can’t be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software” error.

5. Re-downloading The App

If you encounter the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error, it could be due to a corrupted app or a changed signature.

To resolve this issue, simply remove the app, then redownload and reinstall it from the App Store or the developer’s website. This straightforward process typically fixes the problem.

If you’re dealing with browser hijacker viruses or other Mac security concerns, learn how to safeguard your system by checking out our guide on ‘Remove Browser Hijackers Virus On Mac‘.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does macOS protect my device against malware?

macOS protects against malware through features like Gatekeeper, XProtect, and app notarization, which verify app integrity and identify potential threats.

Does resetting a Mac effectively eliminate malware?

Resetting your Mac can remove malware if you perform a clean install, but it’s not the only solution. Antivirus software and manual removal may also be required.

Is it advisable to open applications displaying such errors on macOS?

It’s not safe to open apps with errors like “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.” Such errors indicate potential security risks, and caution is advised.

Conclusion

Apple understands the importance of security, and that’s why you get the “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free From Malware” message while downloading apps from unverified sources.

While it can be frustrating, following the steps outlined in this guide should help you resolve the issue.

Always exercise caution when bypassing security warnings, and only do so if you are confident in the safety of the app in question.

If you suspect an app is genuinely harmful, refrain from opening it and seek professional assistance in addressing the issue.

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