macOS Cannot Verify that This App is Free from Malware

macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.

If you try to open a certain app on your Mac computer, and you get the message “macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.”, this means that Apple cannot verify that the said application is safe. Seeing this message doesn’t necessarily mean that the app you are trying to open is harmful, but in a lot of cases, it’s an indicator of malware in the computer, which is why you shouldn’t ignore it. 

macOS cannot verify
If you see this alert window, it means that the app was not authenticated.

macOS uses the GateKeeper technology in order to keep your computer safe from unreliable and potentially hazardous software. The apps that Gatekeeper deems safe are ones that come from the App Store, or ones that aren’t from the store but are created by verified developers. With the Catalina update, there’s an additional safety requirement for apps that are from out of the store – they need to be notarized by Apple.

The default setting of the security and privacy preferences on Mac is to allow the installation and execution of apps that are from the store or ones that have verified developers and have been notarized by Apple. Those preferences can be optimized for even greater security by setting them to only allow apps from the Store.

All of this may seem like quite a lot of security requirements, but this safety policy is one of the things that make Mac systems so reliable. Therefore, if you see this message on your screen, and you aren’t a hundred percent sure that the app you are trying to open is safe, it’s best to check your computer for malware.

macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware. Bypass

MacOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware.” is the warning you get when an app isn’t from the Store, and isn’t notarized. The “MacOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” might indicate malware in your system. Now, if you are certain that the application is safe, and contains no malware, you can override this warning, and open the application (we will show you how to do that below). However, you shouldn’t try to open every random app that Apple cannot verify as safe – only override the warning if you are absolutely sure that the software you are trying to open isn’t harmful, and hasn’t been tampered with. Otherwise, it’s much better to delete the program, and then check the computer for any leftover malicious data – the removal guide below will explain to you exactly how to do that.

In most cases, there is a reason why a certain app isn’t in the App Store and hasn’t been notarized by Apple. Even it isn’t actual malware, it may be some potentially unwanted program that might trick you into buying products you don’t need, show unreliable ads in the browser, make unauthorized changes in the system, and potentially expose your system to more serious hazards, such as Trojan Horses and Spyware.

Now that you have been warned, here is how you could change your security preferences so that you can open unverified apps, and bypass the “MacOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” security warning:

  1. Go to System Preferences, and open Security & Privacy.
  2. In the General Tab, under Allow apps downloaded from, you should see the app you’ve been trying to open – click on the Open Anyway button to its right.
  3. You will once again see a warning message that tells you the app cannot be verified as safe, but this time you will have the option to open it anyway. If you are certain you want to execute the app, click on Open.

Once you do that, you will no longer get the “MacOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware” warning whenever you try to open this particular program, as it will now be added to the exceptions list.

Now, if you are if you aren’t sure whether or not your system has malware in it, we advise you to take a look below – the instructions you will find there will help you check your Mac for viruses and malware, and remove anything that gets detected.


NameMacOS Cannot Verify that this app is free from malware.
TypeBrowser Hijacker
Detection Tool

MacOS cannot verify Pop up Removal


Firstly, close your Safari browser. If it doesn’t want to get closed the regular way, then do this:

  • Apple menu>>>Force Quit
  • or simultaneously press ⌘ key, Option key and Escape from your keyboard. A dialog named Force Quit Applicaitons will appear where you will have the option to find Safari and click on the Force Quit button next to it.


In the second step, go to your Finder app and from the left panel there select Applications>Utilities>Activity Monitor.


This will open the Activity Monitor app that will give you a priview of all the processes on your computer. Carefully go through the list and look for processes that could be related to your problem.

With your mouse, highlight any questionable process and click on the “i” button. A dialog box looking like this will open with more details about it:


At the bottom of the dialog, click on Sample to generate a sample of the process in question that should look like this:


Generate a sample for all the processes that you think might be part of the problem to see if they are really maliciosu or not.


Next, you need to open Safari again, but without letting it relaunch its previously opened pages and tabs. To do that, keep the Shift key while relaunching Safari and release it once the browser opens.

If, despite keeping the Shift key while launching, you still get some unwanted pages loaded in your browser, you should Force Quit it as described above and do the following:

  • if you are using Wi-Fi: go to your Mac’s Menu and select Wi-Fi off
  • if you are using cable Internet (Ethernet): unplug the cable from your computer

After you do that, launch Safari again by keeping the Shift key. The unwanted pages shouldn’t load this time.


Once you have opened the browser without the unwanted pages, go to Safari menu and select Preferences.

Preferences in Safari

From there, select the Extensions tab to see if there are any extensions related to the problematic software that might be causing you distrubance.

extensions in safari

If you find extensions that you don’t recognize or don’t want to keep, select and Uninstall them from the Uninstall button. 


Once you are done with removing any questionable and unwanted extensions,go back to the Preferences menu and select Privacy.

Privacy in Safari

Look for the “Remove All Website Data”option, select and confirm the action by taping on Remove Now

Attention! This action will delete all your saved passwords and login credentials! Make sure you back them up before you confirm.

Next, go again to the Preferences menu, but this time select the General tab as it is shown:

General Tab in Safari

In the Homepage filed check if the web address is the one that you prefer or it has been replaced with something else. If it has been changed to a new one, remove it and type the address that you prefer.
Default Home Page

Next, move to thee History menu and clear your history by clicking on the Clear Browsing History button. This will remove all the problematic links and will prevent you from accidentally opening unwanted pages.

Important! If, aside from Safari, you are using other browsers on your Mac computer, it is important that you clean them out as well.

firefox-512 How to Remove MacOS cannot verify From Firefox in OSX:

In Firefoxclick the menu button mozilla menu that is found at the top right corner and select Add-onsThen, from the Add-ons, go to the Extensions tab found in the left panel.

pic 6

Similarly to what you did in Safari, look through the list of extensions and remove anything that seems to be related to the problem or you don’t want to keep. After doing that, Refresh Your Firefox Settings.

chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundHow to Remove MacOS cannot verify From Chrome in OSX:

 A similar action should be done in Google Chrome. Start the browser and click the menu button chrome menu icon . From the menu that opens select More Tools and navigate to Extensions. Look through the list and selectchrome-trash-iconfor anything that seems suspicious or unwanted.

pic 8

 After that, click again the main menu button chrome menu icon, and select Settings>Search. Then, select Manage Search Engines. See if there are any changes in the search engine that you normally use and  Delete everything that is unwanted. At the end, Reset Your Chrome Settings. The problem should be solved the next time you launch.

If you have questions about any of the steps described in this guide, please feel free to leave us a comment below.


About the author


Brandon Skies

Brandon is a researcher and content creator in the fields of cyber-security and virtual privacy. Years of experience enable him to provide readers with important information and adequate solutions for the latest software and malware problems.

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