All Mac OS versions run on a technology called Gatekeeper, It’s designed to ensure that only trusted software runs on your Mac. If the software you are trying to open is not certified you will see a message like this “can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.”

Top Examples

  • “mysqlworkbench” can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.
  • sourcetree” can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.

Note: Allowing apps to be installed manually brings potential risk from malware. Programs like Source Tree are legit, however try to make sure you are downloading the latest version of the software and from an authorized website before proceeding.

Quick Fix “Can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.”

Most applications can be easily opened by this method:

Time Needed : 2 minutes

“Can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.”

  1. Method 1

    System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> click “Open Anyway”.

  2. Method 2 – Right Click App

    Instead of double clicking on the app, just right click and press Open.
    You will get a notice “Can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.” however you will still get the option to open the program

  3. Method 3 “Works for Mac OS Catalina”

    Open “Terminal” App — Applications > Terminal. Use xattr to remove the app from quarantine. Source Reddit
    $ xattr -d com.apple.quarantine <app-path>

Tools
  • Macs and MacBooks
Materials
  • Mac OS Catelina, Mojave and Older

Apple has removed the option allow all third Party Applications.

Since the release of the Mac OS Catalina apple has removed the option in the Security and Privacy settings to allow programs from “Anywhere” to be downloaded. From now on only individual programs can be given permission to be installed.

  1. Why do I get the message “can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.”

    Many programs have a notarization issue since the Catalina Update. Apple has tightened its privacy policies and has limited certification to apps only in the app store. Even though there are workarounds most users might feel an unease to install such programs.

Most Common “can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.” Errors

“mysqlworkbench” can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.

“mysqlworkbench” refers to MySQL Work Bench is a legitimate program and it should not be considered malware. It is a unified visual tool for database architects, developers, and DBAs. MySQL Workbench also provides data modeling, SQL development, user administration, backup, and much more. MySQL Workbench compatible with most version of Mac OS X, including the latest version Mac OS 10.15.5

“sourcetree” can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.

Sourcetree most definitely is not malicious. It interacts with your Git repositories and visualizes and manages your repositories through Sourcetree’s simple Git GUI. It is a Free Git client that is compatible with both Mac OS 10 and Windows 10. Make sure you have downloaded the latest version of SourceTree for Mac

“java 8 update 251” can’t be opened because apple cannot check it for malicious software.

“Java 8 Update 251” (8u251) refers to the latest version of Java 8.0. This is not malicious software however you cannot download the software from the app store therefore the pop up message will show up in all cases. If you are interested in what the latest updates includes you can check out the official update release for Java here.