Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Can’t You Just Right-Click?

Jeff Johnson:

Some people claim that Mac users can “just right click” to run unsigned software. But what does that mean exactly? Let’s look at the user experience, in a series of screenshots.


This alert mentions the possibility of malware, and the default action is Move to Trash, so we’re not off to a good start. Notice that there’s no mention of right clicking.


Another warning! Again with a scary message mentioning malware and loss of privacy. And again, Move to Trash is the default option. If you do click the Open button, though, it does work as advertised. You can “just” right click to run unsigned Mac software.

Note that with an Apple Silicon Mac, unsigned software won’t run at all. You can sign it without needing a developer account, but you can’t notarize it, so it will be treated to these dialogs.


Update (2020-08-24): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2020-09-28): Jeff Johnson:

You can delete the extended attribute from a file using the /usr/bin/xattr command-line tool, but that’s not very simple, because you have to switch to Terminal and type an error-prone command. Ideally, we want to “just right click” in Finder. This is where our old friend Otto comes in.

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Now we’re mitigating Apple. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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