I know to secure safety it is now not allowed anymore to open apps that were not downloaded from the mac app store.

But surely there is a workaround for this to open an app that you know is 'good' but just isn't in the app store. Preferably allowing only that app and not allowing all downloaded apps to be opened.


How do I open an app that is not downloaded from the app store in mountain lion?

  • 1
    Good point! I wish that there were an option to manually allow a single app and not tear down the whole wall at once.
    – gentmatt
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:34
  • The edits make the question much more clear. Great work!
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:52
  • @gentmatt if you wish to make an allowance or exception without changing what's in System Preferences, try apple.stackexchange.com/a/58522/8546 … should we have a separate question? Jul 30, 2012 at 15:01
  • @GrahamPerrin According to the accepted answer it's not necessary to change what we have in the System Preferences. I think the right-click option is very convient. Why do you want to post a separate question?
    – gentmatt
    Jul 30, 2012 at 15:32
  • I had a brief discussion with @gentmatt Jul 30, 2012 at 16:00

5 Answers 5


You can ignore the gatekeeper restrictions on a per-app basis by right/control-clicking and selecting "Open". And because the check is done only on the first open, you can run it normally afterwards.

More details in:

  • 5
    This method is actually Apple's official way of doing it.
    – user10355
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:48
  • @cksum do you have a link to the official apple way would be nice to include that in the answer.
    – FLY
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:56
  • @FLY Unfortunately not. The matter was discussed in a private testing area and as such, is still under Apple's NDA. But, I'm sure Apple will document the feature soon enough.
    – user10355
    Jul 31, 2012 at 3:30
  • 1
    @FLY, open Help Center, search for "open an app from an unidentified developer". This method is listed there.
    – Kit
    Nov 17, 2013 at 6:49
  • Is there a way to do this from a command line for a terminal application? May 19, 2022 at 5:22

To enable the execution of an app against the policy that you have set in System Preferences, then you can simply right click on the app in question, and click open. This will produce a further "Are you sure?" check, but will allow you to open an app and over-rule your app signature settings without you needing to go into System Preferences each time.

  • An this has a permanent effect, right? If yes, that would be superb.
    – gentmatt
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:42
  • 1
    Apparently, once you have run an app, regardless of what method you use to authenticate it, it's signature get's added to the permitted list and you are able to run it again without requiring to re-authenticate/confirm etc.
    – stuffe
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:43
  • 1
    I can confirm that this will always allow the app to run: link
    – FLY
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:52

Although Ctrl+Right Click might work for some people, it didn't for me. They key to fix it is open Terminal.app (under /Applications/Utilities) and type in

xattr -d com.apple.quarantine

then at the end press space and drag the application you are trying to open in there, so it should look like this (this is an example for Google Chrome):

xattr -d com.apple.quarantine /Users/username/Desktop/Google\ Chrome.app

(here username refers to the user account name)

  • I am looking in 2019 and ditto, and your solution works
    – barlop
    May 6, 2019 at 13:32

Disable gatekeeper just for one app:

sudo xattr -rd com.apple.quarantine /Applications/LockedApp.app

Disable gatekeeper for all apps:

sudo spctl --master-disable

Install your app, then enable it again:

sudo spctl --master-enable

You can check assessments status by typing:

sudo spctl --status
  • It is 2021 and your top example still works well. Saved me a headache.
    – JG7
    Mar 9, 2021 at 22:16

To enable a single unsigned app that you know to be safe, follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences, then Security and Privacy, then click "Anywhere"

    enter image description here

  2. Launch the app. This will remove the "unsigned download" warning status from the app.

  3. Return to System Preferences and return the Gatekeeper settings to the level you want (default is "Mac App Store and identified developers")

Your app should launch as desired, but future downloaded apps will be subject to Gatekeeper scrutiny.

  • 1
    hmm yes I see now... but I was looking to add the specific application to the 'white list'. But I guess this will have to do +1 for now if no one comes up with A better answer I'll accept this one.
    – FLY
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:08
  • 1
    @FLY I didn't realize you were looking to whitelist only a single app. See edits.
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:14

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