App Can't Be Opened Because Apple Cannot Check It for Malicious Software

Author Spencer Mcfadden By Tasnia Salinas, on January 26, 2020, in Mac Uninstaller

Summary: Trying to install an app on macOS Catalina but get an error message saying XXX can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software. Check this complete macOS Catalina Problem troubleshooting article.

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User feedback: I'm trying to open a .pkg package from Skype for passcode management on macOS Catalina. When I go to open the package it tell me: "Skype can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software." I've checked in System Preferences but can't figure it out. Any help is appreciated.

Skype can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software App can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software
Skype Can't Be Opened on macOS Catalina

Other Affected Apps:

App Name Error Message Status
Adobe Creative Cloud "com.adobe.acc.installer.v2" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Adobe Flash Player "pepperflashplayer.plugin" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Visual Studio Code Visual Studio Code can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Katalon Studio "Katalon Studio" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Java Update "Java 8 Update 231" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Android Studio Android Studio can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Steam Steam can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Spotify Spotify can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Skype Skype can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
VirtualBox virtualbox.pkg can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Docker com.docker.vmnetd can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Origin Origin can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
FireFox FireFox.app can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
League Of Legends "League Of Legends" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Java Update "Java 8 Update 231" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
Guild Wars 2 "Guild Wars 2 64 bit" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software

Diagnosis: Modern macOS, like Mojave and Catalina, includes a technology called Gatekeeper, which is built to help you safely open apps on your Mac. For sure Apple App Store is the best place to get software applications, but in many cases, you'll need to download and install apps out of the store. To distribute apps without App Store, it requires the developer to have valid Apple Developer ID and get their apps notarized. Otherwise, it has large chance that they'll get the following error: "XXX can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software."

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Table of Content:

Part 1: Open Apps That Apple Cannot Check for Malicious Software

Keep it in mind that, by bypassing this Apple gateway protection method, you may expose your computer and personal information to malware (Check Malware App List on macOS) that can harm your Mac or compromise your privacy. So make sure that this app you want to install on macOS Catalina is from a trustworthy source and hasn’t been tampered with. You can temporarily override your Mac security settings so as to run this software that hasn’t been signed and notarized (Learn How To Uninstall Programs on macOS Catalina).


  1. 1
    Step 1:

    In macOS Catalina (or macOS Mojave), to open an app that fails to be opened because it hasn't been notarized or is from an unidentified developer, open System Preferences > Security & Privacy:

    How To Fix App Can't Be Opened on macOS Catalina Step 1
    How To Fix App Can't Be Opened on macOS Catalina Step 1
  2. 2
    Step 2:

    Click Open Anyway to confirm your intent to open or install the app.

    How To Fix App Can't Be Opened on macOS Catalina Step 2
    How To Fix App Can't Be Opened on macOS Catalina Step 2
  3. 3
    Optional Method:

    An alternative method to bypass this error is to click on the “Show in Finder” button > Go to "Applications" folder to locate the app > Control click or right click on the application file and choose "Open" option.

    How To Fix App Can't Be Opened on macOS Catalina Step 3
  4. 4
    Optional Method:

    You will get a similar error message for malicious software checking like below. However, this time you will see an additional "Open" button.

    How To Fix App Can't Be Opened on macOS Catalina Step 3
    Control Click App To Open

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Part 2: Additional Tips To Open Apps on macOS Catalina Safely

One more side note is that, Apple designed this Gateway method is for protecting your Mac from malicious malware. When you install Mac apps, plug-ins, and installer packages from outside the App Store, macOS checks the Developer ID signature to verify that the software is from an identified developer (Uninstall Program on Mac). It also requires software to be notarized. To open apps safely on macOS Catalina, consider these following tips.

General Tips for Open Apps Safely on macOS Catalina:

  • Keep away from malicious apps: The method mentioned above is not always working because Apple has more restrict standard to keep your Mac from malicious apps. Never continue installing apps if you have this message.
  • No more 32-bit apps on macOS Catalina: Apple completely steped out 32-bit apps on macOS Catalina so beware if you count largely on these apps.
  • Uninstall not working apps: It's another option to uninstall apps that are not working in macOS Catalina.
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    The Bottom Line

    Still get stuck by error: "XXX can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software"? Here is an alternative method that can fix this issue. In the Finder > Control-click the app DMG/PKG file > choose Open from the menu, and in the dialog that appears, click Open. Enter your admin name and password when prompted. Have other macOS Catalina app not working issue? Try Omni Remover >


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    Omni Remover

    Requirements: OS X 10.8+ , 13.1Mb free space
    Version 3.3.2 (January 26, 2020) | Support macOS Catalina | Category: Mac Uninstaller

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