Signing Your Apps for Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper on macOS helps protect users from downloading and installing malicious software by checking for a Developer ID certificate from apps distributed outside the Mac App Store. Make sure to sign any apps, plug-ins, or installer packages that you distribute to let Gatekeeper know they’re safe to install. And now, you can give users even more confidence in your apps running on macOS Mojave by submitting them to Apple to be notarized.

Prepare for Distribution

A Developer ID certificate lets Gatekeeper verify that you’re a trusted developer when a user opens your app, plug-in, or installer package downloaded from outside the Mac App Store. Software signed with a Developer ID certificate can also take advantage of advanced capabilities such as CloudKit and Apple Push Notifications.

Generate your Developer ID certificate.

You can generate your Developer ID certificate in Xcode or in the Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles section of your developer account. Please note that you must be the Team Agent of your development team in the Apple Developer Program.

Learn about creating and exporting certificates

Sign and test your app.

Enable the hardened runtime capability and declare entitlements for the functions your app requires in Xcode. Archive your app and test the end-user experience of launching your Developer ID-signed app using a Gatekeeper-enabled Mac.

Learn about preparing your app for distribution

Xcode 10

To build your apps for macOS Mojave and submit them to be notarized by Apple, use Xcode 10 or later, available from the Mac App Store.

Get Your Software Notarized

Give users even more confidence in your software by submitting it to Apple to be notarized. The service automatically scans your Developer ID-signed software and performs security checks. When it’s ready to export for distribution, a ticket is attached to your software to let Gatekeeper know it’s been notarized.

For step by step details on uploading your Mac software to be notarized, see the Xcode Help Guide.

Submitting with Xcode

Unpublished Software. It’s easy to get unpublished software notarized with the Export process or xcodebuild. Custom build workflows are supported by the xcrun altool command line tool for uploading, and you can use xcrun stapler to attach the ticket to the package.

Published Software. To submit software you've already published, upload it using the xcrun altool command line tool. Several file types are supported, including .zip, .pkg, and .dmg, so you can upload the same package you already distribute to users.

Viewing Upload Logs

In addition to checking for malicious software, the notary service catches common code signing problems that can prevent your software from installing properly. If notarization fails for your upload, check the status log for details.

Available on macOS Mojave

When users on macOS Mojave first open a notarized app, installer package, or disk image, they’ll see a more streamlined Gatekeeper dialog and have confidence that it is not known malware.

Note that in an upcoming release of macOS, Gatekeeper will require Developer ID signed software to be notarized by Apple.