This is how you install macOS apps outside the App Store

macOS appsThe Mac App Store is packed with handy macOS apps, but not everything is there. Some programs need to be installed outside of the App Store. That’s how you do that.

Download macOS apps from the App Store

Although you can find almost everything you need on your Mac from applications in the macOS apps on the App Store, you need to download some apps separately. For example, consider the Mac app for Spotify or if you want to install the Google Chrome browser.

You often install such programs from your own website or a zip-file. But to do this, your Mac must have the right settings. You set this up as follows.

install macOS apps

  1. Click on the Apple logo and go to ‘System Preferences’;
  2. Then go to ‘Security and privacy’ and click on the ‘General’ tab;
  3. Tap – if you have set this – on the padlock and enter your password to change the settings;
  4. Under the heading ‘Allow programs that have been downloaded at’, tap the following option: ‘App Store and developers whose identity is known n’.

This allows you to download programs from the App Store as well as from recognized and authenticated developers. This includes the aforementioned examples, along with many other well-known apps.

But from macOS Sierra, Apple has removed the third option to allow apps from any source. Gatekeeper, the software that checks whether something is authenticated outside the App Store, has been made a lot more stringent by Apple in order to guarantee more security.

This is how the stricter security of macOS works

Because of this stricter Gatekeeper, you can not just get all apps outside the App Store on your Mac. In addition, with every app, authenticated or not, you receive a warning message.

When you first open an app from a known developer, you will see the following message. This indicates that the app has passed through a security check.

outside the App Store

When installing an app that is not recognized, there is a yellow warning symbol. Moreover, in such programs, it often fails to open the program after installation, because the app is not allowed on your Mac.

This does not necessarily mean that the app contains malware or is otherwise dangerous, but often this is because the apps are outdated. The most recent version is often not registered. If an app does not install or open outside the App Store, the solution is to see if there is a newer version (or to look for an alternative).

App Store

If you want to install an app from an unknown developer, you will have to temporarily unblock your Mac’s security settings and then open the app. To do this, click on the relevant app in the Finder while you are controlling. Then select ‘Open’ and ‘Open’ again in the dialog that opens.

After this, the app is saved as an exception and the program opens just like any other app. Be aware that macOS can’t detect any threats, malware or other viruses in that app.

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