How to access and change your Gatekeeper settings in Mountain Lion

Sections: Apple Software, Features, How-To, Lion, Mac OS X, Mac Software, Operating Systems

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For those of you who are not in the know, Gatekeeper is a new tool in OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion) that is designed to help keep your Mac safe from malicious software. It recognizes whether an application was download from the App Store, a trusted source, or otherwise, and can prevent the app from launching. Today we are going to look at how to get to it and choose your settings.

Gatekeeper Settings

How to get there:

  1. Click on the Apple on the upper left hand corner of your screen.
  2. Click on “System Preferences…”
  3. Choose the icon for Security & Privacy (a gray home with a vault door).
  4. Click on the General tab, if you are not already there.
  5. Find the words, “Allow applications downloaded from:” and choose the option you want (you may first need to disable security with your system password by clicking the padlock on the bottom left).

Choosing your option:

If you’re a bit confused about what these mean, here is a primer to help you choose.

  • Mac App Store – If it is not in the App Store you won’t be able to install it at all.  This it the best choice if you have young kids, irresponsible roommates or employees using this machine.
  • Mac App Store and identified developers – If you also want apps from specific developers who are not selling their products through the App Store, then this is the way to go.  No developer ID means no installation.
  • Anywhere – This one explains itself. It’s the way your Mac worked previously, but is the least secure.

Now you can choose based on your security needs. Note that you can switch your preference for a specific install, then go back to your preferred setting once the app is in place.

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  • sebastien

    It’s wrong.
    Just make a CTRL click on the app to open it and bypass.
    But don’t ask the whole wrath to change settings.

  • Katie Gatto

    This is a piece on how to set Gatekeeper on your own machine. It was never stated that there was no way around it. After all you can find a way around just about anything on a computer if you really want to.

    While every end user may not like universal settings they can be a time saver and set a good general rule for usage on a machine if you have children or employees using it.

    Also – “But don’t ask the whole wrath to change settings.” – I think autocorrect changed a word on you here.

  • Sébastien

    The thing is all websites explain this. And it’s :
    “Note that you can switch your preference for a specific install, then go back to your preferred setting once the app is in place.”
    that is wrong. Sorry but it’s not the way to do.
    You change and keep your changes, or for only a one shot you use the CTRL key, so it’s still safe if everything try to install while you make your install, it can’t. That is safe.

    wrath was earth but thanks iPad and Captcha of google start to be totally unusable.

  • Kirk Hiner

    Actually, Sebastion, the line you quoted was my addition to Katie’s article, as it’s something that occurred to me when posting it.

    Thanks for the tip.