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 '12 at 14:34
  • The edits make the question much more clear. Great work! – Daniel Jul 30 '12 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? – Graham Perrin Jul 30 '12 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 '12 at 15:32
  • I had a brief discussion with @gentmatt – Graham Perrin Jul 30 '12 at 16:00

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 '12 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 '12 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 '12 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 '13 at 6:49

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 '12 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 '12 at 14:43
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    I can confirm that this will always allow the app to run: link – FLY Jul 30 '12 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 '19 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 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 '12 at 14:08
  • 1
    @FLY I didn't realize you were looking to whitelist only a single app. See edits. – Daniel Jul 30 '12 at 14:14

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