How to Fix 'Cannot Be Opened Because the Developer Cannot be Verified' Error on Mac

Trouble installing unsigned apps on your Mac? Let’s fix that

By default, macOS allows users to install only approved apps from verified sources. Developers register with Apple, and they verify their apps for use on Macs. If the developer of an app doesn't register with Apple or skip the verification process, you’ll see a “Cannot Be Opened Because the Developer Cannot be Verified” error when you try to install the app.

When this error occurs, the app won’t install or open, and you’ll typically see an error message like:

  • “(App name) 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.”
  • “(App name) cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified.”
  • “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.”

What Is the Cause of the ‘Cannot Be Opened Because the Developer Cannot Be Verified' Error on Mac?

While Macs are less likely to get viruses than Windows PCs, they can still get infected. Apple has a developer ID system and an app review process to reduce the frequency with which users are exposed to malware on macOS. Developers are required to register with Apple, and they have to submit their apps for review. If an app is free of malicious code like malware, the app is signed and approved.

When you try to install an app from a developer who hasn’t registered with Apple, you’ll see an error message. The same thing happens if a registered developer releases an app that Apple hasn’t reviewed. If an app were released before the registration and review processes started, it would trigger the same error. The app may be safe, but there’s no way for Apple to know one way or the other if they haven’t been able to review it.

How Do You Fix ‘App Can’t Be Opened Because It Is From an Unidentified Developer?’

To fix the error where you can’t open an unapproved app on your Mac, you have a few options.

  1. Look for a newer version of the app. Check the Mac App Store and see if the app is available there. If you downloaded it from an alternate source, you might have an old version of the app. The developer may have released a signed and verified version in the App Store since then.

  2. Look for an alternate version of the app. Check the Mac App Store to see if an app from an approved developer does the same thing. If you can find an app that performs the same functions, and it’s from an approved developer who has gone through the verification process, consider trying that app.

  3. If you’re sure you trust the app developer, you can override your security settings and allow the app to install and open.

    1. Open Finder.
    2. Locate the app you’re trying to open.
    3. Control+Click the app.
    4. Select Open.
    5. Click Open.
    6. The app should be saved as an exception in your security settings, allowing you to open it in the future.
  4. Bypass the block in your Security & Privacy settings. If the previous method didn’t work, you can go into your Security & Privacy settings and do it manually.

    1. Open the Apple menu, and click Preferences.
    2. Click Security & Privacy.
    3. Click the General tab.
    4. Click the lock in the lower right corner of the window.
    5. Enter your username and password when prompted, and click Unlock.
    6. Click the App Store and Identified Developers radial button.
    7. Look for “(App Name) was blocked from opening because it is not from an identified developer” and click Open Anyway. (In older versions of macOS, you could click Anywhere and then click Allow From Anywhere.)
    8. Try rerunning the app.
  5. Download the app through Safari. If the above process didn’t work, make sure you downloaded the app using Safari. There’s an issue where downloading apps through other browsers, like Chrome and Edge, will cause a problem when trying to install unsigned apps.

    1. Delete the app you downloaded through another web browser.
    2. Restart your Mac.
    3. Download the app using Safari.
    4. Try to run the app.
    5. When you get the error message, perform the Security & Privacy fix outlined in the previous step.
FAQ
  • Why can't I verify my Apple ID?

    If you're logging into iTunes, the Apple Store, or another Apple service and you encounter a verification error, such as, "Verification failed. There was an error connecting to your Apple ID," there are a few fixes to try. First, see if there's a problem with Apple Services by going to Apple's System Status page. Make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi and that the network is up and running. Try logging in on another Apple device, such as an iPad or iPhone, and see if you can get verified there. If you have more than one Apple ID, try logging out of any devices that use the secondary Apple ID. You can also try restarting your device, logging out of your Apple ID and back in, or disabling ad blockers or a VPN.

  • How do I verify my phone number for my Apple ID?

    Go to the Apple ID website and sign in with your Apple ID. Go to the Security section and select Edit, then Add a trusted phone number, and follow the prompts.

  • How do I bypass Mac app verification? It's taking too long to open programs.

    Some users experience the problem of apps loading slowly while the Mac verifies them. You'll see a loading bar with a "verifying app" message, even with familiar apps like Microsoft Word. It's a separate issue from the "unidentified developer" error. To solve the slow "verifying app" problem, make sure you update to the latest macOS. Download and install any available app updates. If the problem persists with one particular app, try removing it and then downloading it again.

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