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How to bypass “Will damage your computer” malware warning


Mac users occasionally encounter the “[App name] will damage your computer. You should move it to the Trash” error code. Depending on circumstances, you could also see “[App name] cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified” or “[App name] can't be opened because it was not downloaded from the App Store.”

This error message appears when Apple cannot verify the developer or the application's source. It can happen when you attempt to launch older software on newer MacBooks. But it can also mean the named application contains viruses or malicious elements like adware, hijackers, pop-ups, or other unwanted apps.

Knowing the difference can save your Mac from infection. In this article, we'll explain how to identify malicious and legitimate software and bypass the “[App name] will damage your computer” error code.

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What is the “[App name] will damage your computer. You should move it to the Trash”?

This error code appears when Apple cannot verify the legitimacy of the software you are launching. Because of privacy and security reasons, Apple is very strict about allowing apps in its store. Apple certificates must sign all apps to prove authenticity. Otherwise, you will encounter this error code.

Mac error code

You should pay close attention to this malware warning, but it doesn't necessarily mean the application is fraudulent. Apps downloaded outside the official Apple Store or from unknown developers will generate this error. They might be perfectly safe but lack the authentication that Apple requires.

On the other hand, you could be installing a legitimately dangerous program. Third-party software downloaded outside the Apple Store without a signing certificate could likely infect your MacBook to steal your data or turn it into a crypto-mine.

Name[Application] will damage your computer
TypeMalware warning code
DeviceMac
SymptomsError code pop-up, software installation denial
DamagePrevents installing legitimate third-party software

Why does my Mac keep saying ‘Will damage your computer?’

There are several reasons why your MacBook is showing the “[Application] will damage your computer” warning. Let's go over each in detail:

  • No Apple certificate signature. Apple's Gatekeeper security feature verifies software legitimacy by checking the unique Apple certificate signature. You will see this error code if application developers did not obtain the signature.
  • It contains malware. Gatekeeper has a list of known malware signatures and stops installation if it identifies danger.
  • Unknown developer. Developers that meet the strict Apple criteria are included in a 'Trusted developer' list. Apps developed by third parties and unverified by Apple will produce this error code, even if they do not contain malicious elements.
  • Old app version. Applications compatible with older macOS versions can occasionally produce the error in newer ones. Most often it will happen with software developed for pre-Sierra macOS (version 10.12) update.

How to get rid of ‘Will damage your computer’ pop up on Mac?

There are a few easy ways to bypass the “[Application] will damage your computer” Apple malware warning. However, it's best to be particularly mindful because you will also bypass Apple's cybersecurity Gatekeeper feature. It's highly recommendable to use additional cybersecurity software – secure antivirus software, to keep your Mac safe.

Here are effective methods to bypass this malware warning, starting with the simplest one.

Method 1: override malware protection

Malware can be distributed by inserting harmful code into an app and then redistributing the infected app. If you see an app that is not registered by an unidentified developer, it is best to avoid opening it. You can look for a later version of the app from the Mac App Store or look for an alternative app. If you do want to open the app, you can override your security settings. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Control-click or right-click on the app in Finder
  2. Click on Get Info
  3. Choose the Override Malware Protection or Bypass Malware option
  4. Enter your admin password if required
  5. Check the Open Anyways and relaunch the app

You should only use this method when you're absolutely sure of software authenticity, as inputting admin passwords on a shady app can have dire consequences.

Method 2: disable Gatekeeper app verification

If you decide to disable Gatekeeper, you should be very careful about the apps that you install. Only install apps from trusted sources, and be sure to scan them for malware before you run them. Here are the steps on how to disable Gatekeeper app verification on your MacBook:

  1. Launch the Terminal
  2. Input the following line: sudo spctl --master-disable
  3. Run the command and input your admin password
  4. Navigate to Apple Menu, then System Preferences, and to Security & Privacy
  5. Click on the yellow lock to allow making change
  6. In the General tab locate the Allow apps downloaded from and select Anywhere option. (Pre-Sierra macOS users start here)
  7. You can now download and install unverified software on your MacBook

This will turn off Gatekeeper's software verification check. Disable it only if you feel comfortable handling cybersecurity issues and have an antivirus, like TotalAV, installed on your device. Otherwise, we recommend using the first or the following method.

Method 3: disable Gatekeeper for a single app

Disabling Gatekeeper for a single app works by bypassing the security check that Gatekeeper normally performs when you try to open an app. This means that you can open the app even if it has not been signed by a developer that Apple trusts. To disable Gatekeeper for a single app, you can follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Terminal launch terminal mac
  2. Input the following command: xattr -r -d com.apple.quarantine /path/to/app/
  3. Replace /path/to/app/ with the actual path to the application download on your Mac (you can also drag and drop the icon to autofill the path, don't forget to delete /path/to/app/)
  4. Relaunch the app

Method 4: delete malicious files and apps

It's best to immediately delete suspicious files and apps if you're unsure of their safety. Follow the steps below if you see errors like com.macvpn.macvpnhelper will damage your computer or videostream will damage your computer. Here's how to remove malicious apps:

  1. Quit any applications you haven't launched or find suspicious
  2. Open Finder
  3. Select Applications
  4. Locate suspicious apps
  5. Right-click on them and choose Move to Trash
  6. Right-click the trash bin and select Empty Trash

Here's how to remove malicious files:

  1. On your desktop click Go at the top and navigate to Go to Folder… Go to folder option in Mac
  2. Type in the following: /Library/LaunchAgents; mac launch agents
  3. Identify any suspicious files (for example, 'unknown.download.plist', 'com.adobe.fpsaud.plist', etc)
  4. Move all selected files to trash delete unwanted launch agents
  5. Right click on the trash bin and choose Empty Trash

Remember that not all “[Application] will damage your computer” warnings are accurate. For example, the github desktop will damage your computer recently occurred when GitHub revoked several Apple certificates due to security reasons. This time you should switch to a different GitHub version instead of removing it from your device.

Method 5: use an Antivirus

  1. Subscribe to a reliable antivirus. We recommend TotalAV with outstanding cybersecurity features
  2. Download it and install it on your Mac
  3. Launch the app
  4. Select the full system scan
  5. Allow the antivirus to quarantine and remove infected apps and files

How can I protect my Mac against viruses?

Apple is a secure and privacy-oriented operating system, but that doesn't mean it's perfectly safe. We recommend considering the following steps to keep your MacBook functional and virus-free for as long as possible.

  • Use antivirus software. A reliable antivirus will scan your device for existing malware and monitor downloads for suspicious elements. Advanced antiviruses like TotalAV provide real-time malware protection, blocks access to fraudulent websites, and effortlessly identifies, quarantines, and removes dangerous files.
  • Turn on Mac's firewall. A firewall protects Mac devices over insecure networks by inspecting incoming traffic for suspicious activities. Make sure it's enabled on the System > Settings > Network > Firewall to protect your device on public Wi-Fi. Mac's firewall doesn’t isolate already installed malicious applications so it's best to combine it with an antivirus.
  • Avoid third-party software. Although there are great third-party Mac apps, the alternatives available on Apple Store are just as good. You will significantly reduce the chances of getting hacked if you only use the software from the official Apple Store.
  • Safe browsing habits. Cybercriminals share infectious backlinks and malware over public forums, torrenting and pornography sites, phishing emails. It's best to remain vigilant online and never click on a backlink shared by an unknown party.
  • Update macOS. Operating system updates include cybersecurity fixes of known vulnerabilities. Be sure you run the latest macOS version to avoid unnecessary risks. The same applies to all software, especially if it's a cybersecurity tool.

Conclusion

Although Apple's devices have robust cybersecurity features, no operating system is 100% full proof. Furthermore, because of Apple's strict software development policies it has a limited amount of applications. Sometimes Mac users choose third-party software better aligned with their needs.

The “[Application] will damage your computer” malware warning is an effective way to protect MacBooks from outside dangers. But that prevents installation of legitimate programs that either have not obtained an Apple signing certificate, were developed for older Mac versions, or come from unrecognized developers.

Our discussed methods successfully bypass this error message. Unfortunately, they also bypass Mac's Gatekeeper cybersecurity feature, demanding additional cybersecurity software. We found that TotalAV antivirus is the best to protect your Mac from malware. The speedy full system scan will promptly identify, quarantine, and remove dangerous apps and files from your system, and you can install any programs you like care-free.


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