Is your Mac stopping you from opening Chrometa, saying it's from an unidentified developer? Here's how to allow unidentified developer apps on your Mac.
September 30, 2022 , 5 mins, By Adam
Apple maintains a level of control over the apps you can install on your devices to protects you from malware and a bad user experience, but it can be frustrating and worrying if you want to run an app and you are confronted by a warning that it is from an unidentified developer.
Luckily it is possible to open and run these apps and I will show you how. But before you do so be warned: do this only if you are satisfied that the developer and software (and the means of distribution, since innocent apps can be hijacked by guilty parties) are legit.
Why am I seeing an unidentified developer warning?
Apple has a lot of control over the apps available for Macs, iPads and iPhones. While the Mac is a little more open than iOS – the only way to get third party apps onto your iPhone and iPad is to download them from the iOS App Store – there are still a lot of hoops to jump through before you can install and run some third party apps on your Mac.
In macOS Catalina, which was introduced in October 2019, Apple made Gatekeeper even more stringent. Previously you could get around Gatekeeper by launching the app via Terminal but now if you open an app via Terminal Gatekeeper will still check it out. Another change is that Gatekeeper will run its list of checks every time you open an app.
So, how can you open apps from unidentified developers? And how can you stop seeing the warning every time you open an app?
How to open Chrometa if blocked by Apple
If you attempt to open an app and macOS stops you from doing so, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with the app. But it will indicate that the app isn’t from an ‘identified developer’ – in other words a developer that has signed up to Apple’s developer program and jumped through a few hoops to get Apple to trust it.
Luckily you can still open the app and override the block. Here’s how:
- Open System Preferences.
- Go to Security & Privacy and select the General tab.
- If you’ve been blocked from opening an app within the past hour, this page will give you the option to override this by clicking the temporary button ‘Open Anyway’.
- You’ll be asked one more time if you’re sure, but clicking Open will run the app.
This creates an exception for that app, so you’ll also be able to open it in the future without having to repeat this process.
Gatekeeper’s other checks will still stop you from opening an app with known malware attached to it.
Is it safe to open unidentified apps?
It might be, it might not. The point is that you don’t have Apple’s certification that it is, so you will have to rely on your own due diligence to ensure that the software is okay.
Before installing the software you should search for reviews of the app, information about the company (and distribution site/platform), and advice and testimonials from other users. Bear in mind as ever that dodgy companies are not above planting a few fake reviews to give themselves the sheen of legitimacy, so keep searching after the first few results. If you’re not satisfied, it may be safer to find an alternative that macOS is happier to install.
When installing unidentified apps you should also make extra-sure that your anti virus software is up to date.
Note that getting the ‘unidentified developer’ warning dialog doesn’t mean you’re about to install some malware. As Apple acknowledges, there are plenty of reasons why a perfectly legitimate company might not be on the identified list; it might for instance be that the app is older than the company’s developer registration program.