Apple will soon require all macOS apps to be notarized

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iMac
Apple wants to make macOS as safe as possible.
Photo: Apple

Apple has confirmed that all macOS apps will need to be notarized to be accepted by Gatekeeper after its Mojave 10.14.5 update.

The requirement applies to new and updated apps and all software from developers who are new to distributing with Developer ID. In a future version of macOS, notarization will be required by default.

Apple introduced notarization to macOS last year. The extension to the Developer ID program is designed to let users know that signed software have been checked by Apple for malicious components.

Notarization isn’t part of App Review, so it applies to software that is distributed outside of the Mac App Store. Until now the extra security measure has been optional, but that’s going to change.

Apple will make app notarization mandatory

Beginning with the macOS 10.14.5 update, notarization will be mandatory, Apple has confirmed. And in a future macOS update, notarization will be required by default for all software.

This means developers will soon be forced to notarize new and updated apps, and everyone else developing macOS software will have to do the same in the future.

Fortunately, the process isn’t too lengthy or complicated. Developers simply submit their code to Apple and an automated system scans it for malicious content and code-signing issues.

If all goes well, the service generates a ticket that developers can “staple” to their software. This lets Gatekeeper know that the app has been given a thumbs-up by Apple and is safe to run.

Notarization is good for everyone

Although notarization is an extra step developers have to worry about, it’s mostly good for everyone.

Notarization gives users peace of mind and assures them their software is safe. It also prevents unauthorized versions of an app from being used, which helps crack down on privacy.

In the long-run, then, notarization could help increase developer revenues as so-called “cracked” apps are stamped out.