Turn Off File Download “Quarantining” [OS X Tips]

Turn Off File Download “Quarantining” [OS X Tips]

Ever get tired of the dialog that appears whenever you run or access a file you’ve downloaded? It can be an annoying halt to a workflow, especially if you already know not to trust files downloaded from questionable websites. Here’s how to turn off the warning.


Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s Amazon ($2.48) as well as other bookstores, and also as an ebook for all eReaders.

Whenever you download a file using a web browser, your Mac will warn you when you first open it that it could be dangerous. It’ll tell you when you downloaded it and from where. This is known as quarantining and can get annoying after a while, especially if you only download files from sources you know are safe.

To permanently turn off this warning message, open a Terminal window (Finder->Applications->Utilities->Terminal) and type the following:

defaults write com.apple.LaunchServices LSQuarantine -bool FALSE

Then log out and back in again to have the changes take effect. If in the future you wish to restore the warning system, type the following:

defaults delete com.apple.LaunchServices LSQuarantine

You’ll need to log out and back in again for the changes to take effect.

If you’re interested, free antivirus software for your Mac can be got from a handful of sources. ClamXav (http://www.clamxav.com) can be got from the App Store for free, although only offers “on demand” file scanning (that is, you must manually scan suspect files). Home users can try Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition: http://www.sophos.com/en- us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac-home-edition.aspx, which is also free of charge and offers full behind-the-scenes protection. 

Related
  • Ramón van Geytenbeek

    I don’t really see the point of having an antivirus scanner on my Mac, I’ve never had one on it, however, automatically opening files… Even though the pop-up window asking your permission can be a  bit annoying at times, I’d rather be safe than unsuspectingly running a Trojan (which is a bigger risk than getting an actual virus on your Mac).

  • ehutchins

    Absolutely agree. This post is just wrong. Less than 3% of malware is caused by so called viruses. Overwhelmingly the problem is opening/running files unknowingly or by accident by users. The “questionable sites” setting is for Safari itself. It doesn’t stop a mistake by a user. At least this dialog is a last hurdle.

  • Michael Rygaard

    I switch-ed to mac in 2003 (iBook) Since then i have never had a Virus / Trojan /malware /other unwanted (at least not that i know of) – I can not say the same fore my time with the PC. – Even if you watch out and play it safe, stuff like misspelling in a link (not intended) from a trusted source can get your PC in trouble ,2 persons followed the same link 1 on mac one on pc, the mac person just got a wrong page and that was the end of the storry, the person on the pc (witch did have AVG running) got more than 100 different 
    Virus / Trojan /malware /other unwanted, all due to 1 bad link (the link btw came from a Professors page on a university – he had misspelled part of the domain)

    Im not saying you cant / wont get it on a mac – just saying that in 9 years i had 0 

  • KeirThomas

    When using Windows (which I had to professionally for many years) I only ever had one actual virus infection, and that was a drive-by from a website. I knew instantly because my computer’s hard disk started grinding. Other times I was informed of viruses that had arrived in docs/emails but I didn’t actually get infected by them.

    In other words, for folks like you and me getting an infection on ANY computing platform is going to be rare. It’s the people at the other end of the scale who get the grief. But then again those kind of people don’t tend to read sites like Cult of Mac, which appears to attract a knowledgeable, informed readership. And I think that if you’re an informed user then turning off the quarantine message is reasonable. 

    The only useful purpose it serves for me is to remind me I’m running an app I’ve downloaded for the first time (i.e. I download it one day and use it another day), or to tell me if an app has autoupdated itself. 

About the author

Keir ThomasKeir Thomas (http://keirthomas.com) is the author of Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for Mac OS X Lion. He's also the author of over 10 other computing titles.

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