How to fix “Cannot open because the developer cannot be verified” error on Mac

By default, macOS allows users to install only apps approved by Apple-registered developers who have verified that their apps work on Macs. If the app's developer didn't register with Apple or skipped the verification process, you'll see a "Cannot open because the developer cannot be verified" error when you try to install the app.

When this error occurs, the application will not install or open, and you will typically see an error message like this:

  • "(App name) cannot be opened because it is from an unidentified developer. Your security preferences only allow the installation of apps from the App Store and identified developers."
  • "(Application name) cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified."
  • "(App name) cannot be opened because Apple cannot check it for malware."

Although Mac computers are less likely to be infected with viruses than Windows PCs, they can still become infected. Apple has a Developer ID system and app review process to reduce users' exposure to malware on macOS.

Developers must register with Apple and must submit their apps for review. If the app does not contain malicious code such as malware, the app will be signed and approved.

When you try to install an app from a developer who is not registered with Apple, you will see an error message. The same happens if a registered developer publishes an app that Apple hasn't reviewed yet.

The same error is triggered if the app is published before the registration and review process begins. The app may be safe, but if Apple can't review it, they have no way of knowing one way or the other.

To fix the can’t open unapproved apps error on Mac, you have a few options.

  1. Look for a newer version of the app. Check the Mac App Store and see if the app is available. If you downloaded the app from another source, you may have an older version of the app. The developer may have since released a signed and verified version in the App Store.

  2. Find an alternative version of the app. Check the Mac App Store to see if an app from an approved developer can do the same thing. If you can find an app that performs the same function and is from an approved developer that has passed the verification process, consider giving the app a try.

  3. Override your security settings. If you are sure you trust the app developer, you can allow the app to be installed and opened. In Finder, Control-click the application > click Open .

    The app should be saved as an exception in your security settings so that you can open it in the future.

  4. Bypass blocks in privacy and security settings. If the previous method doesn't work, you can do this manually from System Settings > Privacy & Security > Find the app > Click Open Anyway.

    In older versions of macOS, open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General > Click the lock icon > Enter your username and password > Unlock > App Store and Identified Developers . You may see the option to click Anywhere > Allow from Anywhere .

  5. Download the app via Safari. If the above process doesn't work, make sure you use Safari to download the app. Delete the app > Restart your Mac > Download the app using Safari > and try to run the app. When you receive the error message, perform the privacy and security fixes outlined in the previous step.

    There is an issue where downloading apps through other browsers, such as Chrome and Edge, causes issues when trying to install unsigned apps.

  • If you encounter a verification error such as "Verification failed. An error occurred connecting to your Apple ID" when signing in to iTunes, Apple Store, or other Apple services, there are some fixes you can try. First, go to Apple's System Status page to see if there's an issue with Apple services. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi and the network is up and running. Try logging in on another Apple device, such as an iPad or iPhone, and see if you can get verified there. If you have multiple Apple IDs, try signing out of all devices using secondary Apple IDs. You can also try restarting your device, logging out and back in with your Apple ID, or disabling your ad blocker or VPN.

  • Open your Apple ID two-factor authentication settings. On your iPhone or iPad, tap Settings > Apple ID (your name) > Sign-in & Security > Go to trusted phone numbers > Tap Edit . On Mac, click your Apple ID > "Sign In & Security" to add a trusted number. Alternatively, you can visit the Apple ID website and log in with your Apple ID. Go to the Account Security section and follow the prompts to add your verified number.

  • Some users are experiencing slow application loading issues when verifying applications on their Mac. Even for familiar applications like Microsoft Word, you'll see a loading bar with a "Verify application" message. This is a different issue than the "Unidentified Developer" error. To fix the slow Verify Application issue, make sure you update to the latest macOS. Download and install any available application updates. If the problem persists with a particular app, try deleting it and re-downloading it.