Wednesday, May 10, 2023

App Translocation in Ventura

Howard Oakley:

Most recently, Quinn “The Eskimo!” of Apple’s Developer Technical Support has explained: “The exact circumstances where the system translocates an app is not documented and has changed over time.”


Surprisingly, the third condition, of not moving the app or the folder it’s enclosed in, is no longer required for App Translocation to occur. In testing both within a VM and a regular Ventura system, translocation frequently occurs on quarantined apps even after they have been moved to the main Applications folder. It’s not entirely consistent, though: one app downloaded from the internet didn’t undergo translocation, while two others did, so there appears to be a random element involved.

The first condition also failed: apps that had successfully cleared quarantine underwent translocation repeatedly, even though they were being run from the Applications folder and the quarantine flag had been cleared.

You want to avoid translocation because, even if all your app’s resources are within its bundle, it will interfere with automatic updates. The app is mounted on a read-only volume, and “there is no supported way to determine the original (untranslocated) path.” You can avoid these problems by distributing your app in a disk image instead of in a ZIP archive. Apple says:

To provide secure execution, code sign your disk image itself using the codesign tool, or distribute your app through the Mac App Store.

DropDMG can also help with this.


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Translocation has caused big problems for me, with long reports and exchanges with developers. Nice to see it's gotten worse.

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