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OS X Mavericks: Open an app from an unidentified developer

Open an app from an unidentified developer

The app you tried to open was not registered with Apple by an identified developer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that something’s wrong with the app. For example, some apps were written before developer ID registration began. However, the app has not been reviewed by Apple, and OS X can’t check whether the app has been modified or broken since it was released.

A common way to distribute malware is to take an innocent app and insert harmful code into it, and then redistribute the infected app.

The safest approach is to look for a later version of the app from the Mac App Store or look for an alternative app.

In addition to apps, other types of files may not be safe. Scripts, web archives, and Java archives have the potential to cause harm to your system.

To override your security settings and open the app anyway:

  1. In the Finder, locate the app you want to open.

    Don’t use Launchpad to do this. Launchpad doesn’t allow you to access the shortcut menu.

  2. Press the Control key, then click the app icon.
  3. Choose Open from the shortcut menu.
  4. Click Open.

    The app is saved as an exception to your security settings, and you will be able to open it in the future by double-clicking it, just like any registered app.

To change your security settings, see:

Protect your Mac from malware

Last Modified: May 8, 2014
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  • Last Modified: May 8, 2014
  • Article: PH14369
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