How to fix “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error

If you are a Mac user, you have likely encountered the frustrating “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error. This error message can feel like a roadblock, preventing you from accessing the apps you need to get work done. It’s like trying to drive down a road only to find out it’s blocked by construction, forcing you to take a detour.

In this article, I’ll share with you why some Mac apps can’t be opened or verified, what causes the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error, whether it is okay to open a certain app that macOS cannot verify, and how to fix this error.

Why can some Mac apps not be opened or verified?

More and more lately, Macs have become increasingly popular, and with that popularity comes an increased risk of malware and viruses. Apple has responded by adding security measures to its operating system, including Gatekeeper, which checks apps for potential security issues prior to letting them run on your computer. However, this security measure can also prevent you from opening apps that do not come from the App Store or are not approved by Apple.

What is the cause of the “macOS Cannot Verify That This App is Free From Malware” error?

The “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error occurs when Gatekeeper cannot verify that an app is alright to open. This error message can appear for a variety of reasons, including when the app is downloaded from a third-party website or when the app’s digital signature is corrupted or invalid.

Unfortunately, this message is somewhat common if you’re downloading and installing an app for your business that was made in-house. A lot of teams don’t have the time or manpower to keep their internal-only apps up to date with the proper certificates and digital signatures.

Can I open an app that macOS cannot verify?

The answer to this question depends on the source of the app. If you downloaded the app from a trusted source, such as the developer’s website or the Apple App Store, it is likely safe to open, even if Gatekeeper cannot verify it. However, if you downloaded the app from an unknown or untrusted source, it is best to err on the side of caution and not open it.

How to get rid of “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error

There are several ways to get rid of the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error, depending on the cause of the error. Here are some potential solutions:

  • Disable Gatekeeper: If you want to open a particular app that Gatekeeper won’t let you open, you can disable Gatekeeper temporarily. To do this, go to System Settings > Privacy & Security, and under the Allow apps downloaded from section, select “Anywhere.”

If there’s no “Anywhere” option like in newer macOS versions, open Terminal from Application > Utilities and type in the following command: sudo spctl --master-disable. Now, press Return and repeat the steps above. Note that this step may significantly undermine the security of your Mac, so take it at your own risk. It is also better to have Gatekeeper enabled back again after opening the app.

  • Install the app anyway: If you downloaded an app from a trusted source but still can’t open it because of the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error, you can try installing the app anyway. To do this, hold down Control and click on the app, then select “Open” from the context menu.
  • Redownload the app: If the digital signature of the app is invalid or corrupted, you can try redownloading the app from the developer’s website.
  • Use a different app: If you can’t get the app to work, consider using a different app that provides similar functionality.

How to avoid Mac getting infected with malware and viruses

To avoid encountering the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error in the future, it’s essential to use an app like CleanMyMac X. It’s designed to optimize your Mac’s performance by scanning your computer and recommending fixes. One of those fixes is getting rid of malware and viruses that could additionally be slowing your Mac down.

It’s an easy-to-use app. Once you have CleanMyMac X downloaded, here’s all you need to do:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X.
  2. Go to Malware Removal from the sidebar.
  3. Then, click Scan.
  4. Anything it finds, CleanMyMac X will show you first and then let you click Remove before doing so.

Additional tips for avoiding malware and viruses on your Mac

If you’d like to take a few more steps to protect your Mac from malware and viruses. Here are some tips:

  • Only download apps from trusted sources: Only download apps from trusted sources, such as the Mac App Store or the developer’s website.
  • Keep your Mac and apps up to date: Make sure to keep your Mac and all of your apps up to date with the latest security patches and updates.
  • Be careful what you click: Be wary of clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown or untrusted sources, as they may contain malware or viruses.
  • Use strong passwords: Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication to protect your Mac and online accounts from unauthorized access.

Encountering the “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” error can be a source of anxiety and confusion for Mac users. However, it is important to understand that this error message is a security measure put in place by Apple to protect your computer from potential security threats such as malware and viruses.

When you receive this error message, it is important to take steps to protect your Mac from potential harm. One of the most important things you do is to only download apps from trusted sources. Apps downloaded from the Apple App Store or from the developer’s website are generally safe, while apps downloaded from unknown or untrusted sources can potentially contain malware or viruses.

In addition, keeping your Mac and apps up to date is essential to maintaining your computer’s security. Apple regularly releases updates to its operating system and apps to address security vulnerabilities and fix bugs that could potentially be exploited by hackers. By keeping your Mac and apps up to date, you can ensure that you have the latest security patches and updates installed, reducing the risk of malware and viruses infecting your computer.

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