I was looking for a specialized file management utility for my Mac, and found it online. I downloaded it, and when I tried to run it, I got an error that said it couldn’t be opened because it was from an unidentified developer. Do I have to do something special to use this utility?
You can generally find any application you need in the Mac App Store, and all applications distributed through the App Store come from “identified” developers. You’ll never see this error with an application you find in the App Store. The problem is that not all applications available come to you through the App Store, and if you want to run one of those applications, it seems that you’ve run up against a brick wall here.
The problem is that Mac OS X, in its efforts to “sandbox” applications so that it’s difficult for you to install and run an application that could harm your computer or your data, also makes it difficult to run some applications that you might want to run. If you’re sure you have a safe application, there is an easy workaround, however.
The solution: Rather than double-clicking an application to run it, the first time you run it, you must right-click on it and select Open. Starting it this way displays the same dialog box you saw previously, except this time, the dialog box offers you the option to open the application.
The dialog box also tells you where the application came from, to help you verify that it is, in fact, the application you were hoping to open.
Once you take this extra step, you’ll never have to do it again—it’s a one-time-only thing. But the extra layer of protection is there for a reason, and helps to protect you from running malware inadvertently.