Last Updated on Aug 22, 2022
In MacBooks, a standard error occurs while you try to launch a specific app and restricts it from opening. Most users might get an error message saying, “App Is Damaged and Can’t Be Opened. You Should Move It To The Trash,” which prevents the App from running and asks you to move it to the trash.
We will discuss all the reasons for this error and the necessary solutions for fixing this problem. The primary cause of this error is the security measures taken by Apple to safeguard the device and deliver a secure environment for its users. Let us look at the reasons resulting in this problem and then consider the solutions for solving them.
Why Do You See This Error?
The macOS operating system installed in your systems has a unique security feature known as Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper is a security measure that blocks or restricts the installation of applications downloaded from third-party developers, also known as “not trusted developers” or sources other than the Mac App Store. This feature was designed and introduced to protect your MacBook from malware, virus, trojans, etc., which harm your privacy, data, and device’s performance.
Suppose, while opening a particular application, you witness the error message “<Appname> Is Damaged and Cannot Be Launched. You Should Move It To The Trash” popping up. It directly indicates that someone has hampered the App and might be harmful to your computer. Also, if you try to use a third-party app or an app built by a developer Apple does not trust, you will see this error message. Even if you know that a well-known and trusted developer designed the application, we advise you to download it directly from the official developer website. If you download the application from a third-party website or portal, it is highly likely to contain harmful trojans, malware, and viruses.
If you have complete confidence that the App does not contain any malware and have downloaded it from a trusted source, you can use the following methods to run the application without any errors.
How To Fix “Damaged App” Error on Mac?
There are plenty of simple, practical, and effective ways by which you fix the “damaged app” problem on your MacBook that prevents the application from opening. Some of these methods include reinstalling the application, downloading the software updates, and restarting your MacBook, among others listed in this section.
Solution 1: Reinstalling the App→
The first and foremost action that you should take when you see the “app damaged” error is to uninstall or trash the existing application from your MacBook. Then download and install the application from the trusted source and avoid downloading it from any third-party websites or sources. For instance, if you want to download Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or any other application, download it from their official websites.
This method should fix the “damaged app” error on your MacBook. Sometimes downloading an app straight from the developer website or a trusted source is impossible, and we have to download some apps like abandonware from third-party websites. But if you see the error message even after reinstalling the App from the trusted source, you can try the following approach to get a fix for the “app is damaged and can’t be opened” error message.
Solution 2: Restart Your MacBook→
Although restarting your MacBook to fix a problem related to launching any application might sound impractical, this simple method is quite effective. If you have reinstalled the App from any trusted source but still see the same errors, try rebooting your MacBook. All the system resources and settings are automatically refreshed by rebooting your computer and set to their default values and settings.
You can restart the MacBook by clicking on the Apple menu > Restart.
Once the Mac has restarted, try re-launching the application to see if you were able to resolve the issue or not.
Solution 3: Download and Install the System Software Updates→
Besides Gatekeeper being the only culprit for this error, sometimes the system software installed on your MacBook can also be the reason for this issue. If you have outdated system software that the application does not support, then you won’t be able to run that App on your MacBook even if you download it from a trusted source. All the applications have a basic system that your computer needs to meet for running them on a computer, and if your device fails to fulfill those requirements, the application will fail to launch.
Hence, we recommend you download and install the latest system software updates to resolve this problem. Before installing the system software updates, please create a backup of all the files and data stored on your Mac.
- On macOS Monterey and Earlier-
Go to the system preferences tab from the Apple menu, head to the “Software Update” section, check for the available system updates, and install them.
- On macOS Ventura-
Go to the system settings tab from the Apple menu, click on the “Software Update” pane, look for the available updates, and download them on your Mac.
Please note that this method does not require upgrading your operating system. Like it does not involve you upgrading from macOS Monterey to macOS Ventura. The only requirement of this method is to install the system updates of your current operating system.
Solution 4: Temporarily Disable Gatekeeper→
Since the primary culprit causing this problem is Gatekeeper, temporarily disabling Gatekeeper can help resolve the issue. Temporarily disabling Gatekeeper is simple in the earlier version of macOS and can be initiated by going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and choosing the Anywhere option. However, it is still possible in the latest macOS versions with the help of the Terminal app, as shown here.
Step. 1→ First, open the Terminal App from the spotlight search or applications folder.
Step. 2→ Type the code here and press the Enter key on your keyboard.
sudo spctl –master-disable
Step. 3→ Fill in your login id and password when prompted and click on log in.
This process will temporarily disable Gatekeeper on your MacBook, and you will be able to launch and use the application you had trouble launching before.
Gatekeeper is an essential security feature; you might want to enable it again after using the application. You can temporarily disable Gatekeeper by following the steps below.
Step. 1→ In the Terminal app, enter the following code.
sudo spctl –master-enable
Step. 2→ Now, hit or press the enter key and type your login details to verify that it’s you.
Following the above-listed steps, Gatekeeper will be enabled again on your MacBook and block third-party and non-trusted apps from running on your device.
Solution 5: Using xattr on the App Showing the Damaged Error→
If, even after trying all the methods listed above, you see the “<Appname> Is Damaged and Cannot Be Opened. You Should Move It To The Trash” error message, then the last thing that you should do is use the xattr on the App that is having issues opening. It is not the best solution, and we only advise this for advanced Mac users. If you continuously see the “damaged app” error even after trying out multiple solutions, you should avoid using that App. We warn you to use this method at your own risk.
We can use the Terminal Command Line to use xattr to view and remove the extensions and add attributes from a Mac file. You can also use this on the App showing the “App name. the app is damaged and cannot be opened. You should move it to the Trash.” error code the following way.
Step. 1→ The first step requires Mac users to open the Terminal Command-Line from the spotlight or applications folder.
Step. 2→ In the Terminal app, type the command given here and hit the enter key.
xattr -cr /path/to/application.app
(Here, the word “application” refers to the App’s name causing the errors. For example- if chrome shows errors while opening, then type “xattr -cr /Applications/Chrome.app”)
The -c and -r flags remove all attributes and apply this change to the entire targeted .app directory contents.
This xattr command will remove the extended attributes of the App and allow it to run on your MacBook without any issues. But be cautious as this method is recommended only for advanced users as altering extensions or added attributes could have severe consequences sabotaging your Mac’s stability, privacy, security, or other factors.
The “<Appname> Is Damaged and Can’t Be Opened. You Should Move It To The Trash” can be annoying as it blocks the application from launching on your computer. We suggest you try the solutions in this article to fix this issue. But be careful before using the xattr code as it can have other consequences. Always download trusted applications from their official websites or App Store to avoid this problem.
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