Have you ever downloaded a new program onto your Mac, only to be told by the operating system that it can’t be opened because it’s from an unidentified developer?
Mac OSX computers are more protective than Windows computers when it comes to what’s allowed on your computer and that has obvious security benefits. Nevertheless, it looks rather over-protective when it won’t let you start a program that you want to run!
This situation comes about when you try to run a program (or “app” or “application”) that hasn’t been vetted by Apple and checked to be malware-free. I don’t understand why Apple choose to offer you the misleading information that the “app can’t be opened” because it can. All you need to do is to have the control key pressed as you click on the program to open it.
Here is an example of the “error” message:
Once you have opened a program this way, the operating system will add it to the list of approved programs on that computer, so it shouldn’t happen again for that program.
If you encounter this situation often, and/or can never remember how to over-ride the veto on opening a program, then you can change the settings so that the message is not displayed at all. This is probably not a particularly good idea as it would be much easier to install software that has malware in it if your system is not even asking you to think about whether the program is safe.
However, if you do want to go ahead and change the settings for ever:
- Click on the Apple logo (top left of any screen)
- Click on “System Preferences”
- Click on “Security & Privacy”
- If the padlock at the bottom left of the window is locked, click on it and enter the administrator’s password for the logged on user
- Click on either the second or third “radio button” in the list headed “allow apps downloaded from:”
- Click on the padlock again to lock it
- Close all dialog boxes
By the way, there was a time when I was naive enough to think I may be able to offer any instructions like those above for all the different versions of operating systems. I can’t. There are far too many versions. So, whether we are talking about Macs or PCs, I will only offer details for the current version. At the moment, that is Windows 10 or Mac OSX El Capitan.
It used to be that I tried to keep old laptops around that were loaded with different operating systems so that I could check on differences and offer telephone support to clients using older systems. Luckily, that requirement has almost completely disappeared since I started using Teamviewer to remotely support clients by actually seeing what they can see on their own computers. This is much, much less stressful than providing computer support and advice by a phone call alone and trying to keep track of what the client is looking at.