Open apps from unidentified developers on Mac

By default, you should only download apps from Apple App Store to your Mac. So we can avoid harmful software and protect our Mac. If you try to open an app downloaded from internet, you will see the warning immediately telling you that it can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer, your security preferences allow installation of only apps from the App Store and identified developers. This security feature can be found on our mobile phones as well. If you try to start an app downloaded from third-party app store on an Android powered device, you will also receive such a warning. See how to run apps downloaded from unknown resources on Xiaomi phone, just as an example.

In this article, we will show you how to open an app downloaded from third-party but trusted resource on Mac.

If you head to System Preferences >> Security & Privacy >> General, you will see it is set to allow apps downloaded from App Store and identified developers. You have another option that is only App Store.

allow third-party system software installation from security & privacy on mac

By default, you can’t allow apps downloaded from anywhere else. The recent Mac OS has hidden the Anywhere setting under Allow apps downloaded from. Advanced users can reinstate this option though. We will point you to another article which has explained this issue at the bottom of this post. So how can we open apps from unidentified developers on Mac?

Double click the app downloaded from third-party resources on Mac, copy it from the Downloads folder to the Applications folder. Open the Applications folder in Finder, find and control-click the app icon, choose Open from the shortcut menu. Click on Open again in the pop-up warning to confirm you want to complete the action.

open app from unidentified developer on mac

The app will then be saved as an exception to your security settings, so you can open it directly in the future.

Extra tips on running apps from third-party resources on Mac

  • You should only do this when you are sure the apps are downloaded from trusted resources.
  • The above method to run apps from unidentified developers can only be done on an individual basis. You can’t change a setting on your Mac to allow apps from any unknown resources unless you enable the allow apps from anywhere option. You can find more information from this app is damaged and can’t be opened and allow all apps on Mac troubleshooting.

Update Dec 2018: this article was originally published in May 2018 and has since been updated. the new method to allow all apps on Mas was added in this update.