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Allow application installations and temporarily disable Gatekeeper in OS X 10.9 to 10.11

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OS X 10.9 features a new security feature called Gatekeeper which prevents the installation of malware by controlling the types of software that can be installed. According to Apple:

The safest place to download apps for your Mac is the Mac App Store. Apple reviews each app before it's accepted by the store, and if there's ever a problem with an app, Apple can quickly remove it from the store. When you download software from any other place on the Internet, Gatekeeper makes that safer, too. Developers can get a unique Developer ID from Apple and use it to digitally sign their apps. The Developer ID allows Gatekeeper to block apps created by malware developers and to verify that apps haven't been tampered with. If an app was developed by an unknown developer — one with no Developer ID — Gatekeeper can keep your Mac safe by blocking the app from being installed.

By default in 10.9, Gatekeeper is enabled and set to allow only "Mac App Store and identified developers," which prevents some software from installing. When an app installation is blocked, a screen similar to the following is displayed.

Installation blocked window

To open an application that is blocked from opening by Gatekeeper, please use one of the following workarounds:

For High Sierra, see OSX Daily's: How to Allow Apps from Anywhere in macOS Sierra Gatekeeper


Option 1: Right-Click and Open

  1. Navigate to the application you would like to open and right-click or control-click on its icon.

    right clicking app icon

  2. Select Open from the contextual menu.

    select open from contextual menu

    Result: You will be prompted with a screen asking if you're sure you want to open the application.

  3. Select Open.

    security prompt

Option 2: Launch the installer to run through System Preferences

If you've already tried to run the installer, and received the error above, you can launch the installer by going to
Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy and click Open Anyway.

Option 3: Disabling Gatekeeper

  1. Navigate to System Preferences from the Apple Menu or from the Dock.

    Apple > System preferences screen

  2. Click on the Security & Privacy preference pane, under the Personal header.

    System Preferences preferences screen

  3. In the Security & Privacy pane, click on the Lock icon on the bottom-left.

    Security and Privacy preferences screen

  4. Enter your Mac's username and password and click Unlock.

    username and password prompt screen

  5. Click the radio button next to "Anywhere".

    select Anywhere on Gatekeeper settings screen

  6. When prompted, click Allow From Anywhere.

    Allow from anywhere prompt screen

    Result: The radio button next to "Anywhere" will be selected.

    Gatekeeper settings with Anywhere selected screen

  7. You can now install any compatible application on your Mac without the installation being blocked. Once your application installation is complete, please use the following directions to re-enable Gatekeeper.

Re-enabling Gatekeeper

Follow the above instructions until step 5, and click the radio button next to "Mac App Store and identified developers".

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

October 12, 2018

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