How to Fix “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free from Malware.”

How to Fix “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free from Malware

Not all applications are safe to download. In fact, malicious applications are spreading and infecting the web quickly.

There are about 560,000 new pieces of malware discovered every day. You may have encountered some of its types, such as Trojan horses, viruses, worms, and spyware.

Despite its exclusivity and success, Apple is also susceptible to these dangers. All applications undergo a screening process before uploading; however, some malware can avoid being detected.

Malware is common when some developers generally program their applications to function while concealing malicious activities for more significant revenues. On the other hand, some accidentally use the wrong code and add malware despite the app’s legitimacy.

What do Malicious Apps do?

According to statistics, the types of apps which are downloaded the most on the Apple Store are as follows games, business, and education. Though these reasons are harmless, malware can still be embedded secretly.

These malicious apps can steal your personal and financial information or make your device vulnerable to issues and damages. To explain further, here’s a list of four major things a malicious app can do.

1. Ad Fraud

Any attempt to trick advertisers and ad networks for financial gain is considered ad fraud. Some ways to carry out ad fraud are hidden ads and click hijacking.

2. Browser Hijacking

Browser hijacking happens when a malicious app takeover and changes your activities on your browser. Hackers can capture personal information such as IDs and passwords to access your accounts.

They can also use your data to promote a scam or sell it to companies for marketing strategies.

3. Information Theft

Information theft is stealing digital information stored on your devices which can be used to access personal data and manage privacy settings; thus, any information you have entered into a malicious app can be stolen.

4. Phishing Alerts

Malicious apps can trick users into disclosing their information. They are developed in such a way they appear as alerts from a reliable source.

Cybercriminals have advanced countless ways to deceive people and gain much from it. But developers are also strengthening cybersecurity to make the internet safer and better.

Apple reviews and authorizes all applications before you can download them on the Apple Store; however, sometimes, even legitimate applications have issues with authorization.

When you try to install these apps, you will get a notification “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.” This is a warning that these apps are unauthorized and might not be safe to use.

Nevertheless, if you are sure of these apps, this article will help you how to fix “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.”

What is the Gatekeeper?

Gatekeeper is macOS’ built-in security technology. Its primary function is to check if apps can be trusted and are safe to use on your Mac devices.

Each time you try to install an app from a third-party developer or outside of the Apple Store, Gatekeeper verifies the app developer and reviews the app if it is free from malicious content. It will also send you a user approval request when opening the downloaded app for the first time.

Therefore, developers must submit the app to Apple for notarization if they do not want to encounter issues regarding their app. It will undergo an automated inspection to guarantee the app is free of malware and suspicious code.

Once the apps are notarized, Gatekeeper will no longer warn or block you from using them; however, some developers do not submit their apps to Apple for the screening process despite being legitimate. So when you try to open such an app, Gatekeeper will warn you by saying, “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free from Malware.”

This video will guide you if you want Gatekeeper to open malicious programs anytime.

If you go to your Security and Privacy control, there are only two options where apps are allowed for download: (1) Apple Store or (2) Apple Store and identified developers. A way to turn Gatekeeper down will allow you to bypass these options through a terminal command.

This method was initially discovered by OSX Daily in 2016.

  1. On your Mac, check that you have closed System Preferences.
  2. Click Goon your Finder.
  3. Select Utilities, and then double-click Terminal.
  4. On your Terminal Program, input the command: sudo spctl –master-disable.
  5. Click Return, and then verify by inserting your admin password.
  6. Close your Terminal Program.

After this, when you go back to your Security and Privacy control, you will notice an additional option for Gatekeeper. There will be an option where you can download and run programs from anywhere.

Before choosing this option, you have to remember that this has weaker security and privacy control. You must review the probable risks you may encounter so you won’t regret opening the app.

How to Fix “macOS Cannot Verify That This App Is Free from Malware?”

Without using the terminal command, there are ways how to launch apps from unverified developers.

Option 1: Using Control-Click

  1. Go to Finderon your Mac.
  2. Select the app having the error, “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.”
  3. Control-clickthe app, and then click Open on the shortcut menu.

When you do this, the app will be added to the whitelist. Whenever you try to open the app, you will not get any warning about its unidentified source.

  1. Click Openon the Security Alert box.

Option 2: Open Anyway

  1. Go to the Apple iconon the top right corner of your Mac.
  2. Click System Preferences.
  3. Click Security and Privacy, and make sure you have selected General Tab.

As you will notice, towards the bottom section of the menu, there’s a list of blocked apps. Besides, there’s an Allow button that currently cannot be clicked.

  1. Click on the Padlock, and insert your passwordto unlock.

After this step, the Allow button can now be accessed.

  1. Click Allow, and then the app will be installed.

What are the Symptoms of Malware?

There are instances where malware or viruses may have entered your device even when you are incredibly cautious.

When your Mac gets infected by malware or viruses, its performance is at stake. Be aware of the following symptoms to solve the issue promptly.

  1. Exceedingly poor performance and speed
  2. Change in browser homepage
  3. Unusual pop-ups and ads
  4. Unresponsive device
  5. Automatic browser redirection
  6. Files and folders won’t open

How to Manually Scan a Virus on Mac?

A wide range of tools to check whether your device is free from malware and other viruses is available on the market. You can invest in an excellent program to ensure the high-quality performance of your device.

On the other hand, there are also ways to do it manually.

1. Clear Downloads.

macOS uses DMG files to ensure that files are downloaded correctly and completely intact. Basically, they are stored in your Downloads.

However, it can be the source of malware and viruses. It will be wise of you to delete DMG files once you have installed the app.

2. Check for Browser Extensions

  1. Go to Safari, and choose Preferences.
  2. Check if your homepage URL is set correctly. Correct it if necessary.
  3. In Preferences, click Extensions.
  4. Select the extension you don’t recognize, and uninstall or delete the app that contains the attachment.

3. Delete Malicious Apps

You have the responsibility to get acquainted with the apps on your Mac. Go through the list once in a while and remove all that can potentially bring damage to your device.

You can delete or uninstall suspicious apps through Launchpad or Finder.

  1. Locate the app in your Finder.
  2. Drag the app to your Trash.
  3. Empty the Bin.

These practices must be done at least once a week. It will be more challenging when many files are piled up, and you may overlook malicious apps on your devices.


While it is true that applications and programs can make our daily life easier or enjoyable, there are also risks in running them on your device. Researching about the app and its developer will help you gauge whether the app is worth to be installed or not.

It is better to keep your guards up for your device to last long. Security is essential since your personal and financial information can be stolen.

There is a possibility of losses and damages. Therefore, you have to make the right decision before downloading an app.

Nevertheless, if you are sure about the app and its developer, you may fix the error and freely run the app.

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