Mac app developers that distribute their apps outside of the Mac App Store will have to submit their software to Apple’s notarization process starting in February.
Apple detailed the upcoming changes in a note to developers this morning. The company originally said developers would have until January 2020 to submit for notarization but the window has been extended a bit.
Developers received word of the impending changes this summer. Apple temporarily adjusted the notarization prerequisites in order to make the transition to macOS Catalina easier for developers and users. The new changes go into effect on February 3, 2020.
“If you haven’t yet done so, upload your software to the notary service and review the developer log for warnings. These warnings will become errors starting February 3 and must be fixed in order to have your software notarized,” Apple told developers. “Software notarized before February 3 will continue to run by default on macOS Catalina.”
Although the changes add an extra step for developers it helps protect users from malicious apps. These changes won’t stop users from running unsigned apps, it just prevents you from being able to double-click an app to run it by default. If want to run a non-notarized app you can still right-click it and then choose Open.