How to Disable Gatekeeper from Command Line in Mac OS X

May 4, 2015 - 9 Comments

Disable Gatekeeper from the command line of OS X Though most Mac users will want to keep Gatekeeper enabled for security purposes, some advanced users find that Gatekeeper is overly zealous in preventing third party apps from being used in OS X.

While it’s easy to turn off Gatekeeper through the System Preferences on a Mac, another option is to disable Gatekeeper by using the command line in OS X. This can be helpful for scripting purposes, configuration, remote management, and just for those who prefer to use the Terminal.

Disable Gatekeeper from the Command Line in OS X

Launch Terminal if you haven’t done so yet (/Applications/Utilities/) and issue the following command to turn off Gatekeeper:

sudo spctl --master-disable

Hit return and enter the admin password as usually required by sudo, and Gatekeeper will instantly be disabled. If you feel like confirming this, you can do so with the –status flag and the same command, like so:

spctl --status

This will report back ‘assessments disabled’ to indicate that Gatekeeper has been turned off. You will also find that the Gatekeeper Security preference panel will be set to ‘Everywhere’.

Enable Gatekeeper from the Command Line of Mac OS X

Of course, you can also turn on Gatekeeper from the command line of OS X too by using the following command string:

sudo spctl --master-enable

Hit return and you can confirm the status again with –status:

$ spctl --status
assessments enabled

Gatekeeper will be enabled again at it’s strictest setting. As disabling, the setting will carry through the GUI as well.

Again, most users should leave Gatekeeper turned on, and if need be, they can bypass it through the System Preference panel on a per-app basis, or by using the right-click “Open” trick.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Command Line, Mac OS X, Security, Tips & Tricks

9 Comments

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  1. redapple says:

    Now that’s finally a useful tip here…

  2. Bert Visscher says:

    I found Gatekeeper disabled already. Might that be a bad sign?

    • tbn says:

      No not really, it just means you turned it off at some point, probably to get rid of the warning when opening apps from the web and third parties. Fine for advanced users, average users best to keep Gatekeeper on.

  3. Andres says:

    I inserted the recommended command in terminal and I checked that Gatekeper is disabled but Sierra still can not open unsigned apps.When I click or right and open simply do nothing. What I have done wrong?

  4. Leonardo Iannelli says:

    This should be good in macOS Sierra, where you can no longer turn Gatekeeper off completely in System Preferences.

    • Lorne says:

      I had the same issue once the command line was inputted I went back to take a look an not it has the option of “anywhere”

  5. Josh Blair says:

    After I enter my password, I get an error message.

    jcblair-pc:~ jcblair$ sudo spect1 –master-disable
    Password:
    sudo: spect1: command not found

    I can’t seem to find a way around this. Please help.

    • KCarb says:

      If I type “jarvis” into the command line it also says command not found, because it’s not a correct command. So I’d start by using the proper command for spctl. But if you can’t use the command line correctly than I would say this is too advanced for your technical skill level, that’s no big deal just accept and move on. I don’t go messing around with my cars engine for example, I take it to an expert. Computers are similar. Gatekeeper is there for a reason, if you can’t type syntax correctly you definitely don’t want the end result.

      • jeff schwartz says:

        He just mistyped the command, an easy mistake. Haven’t you ever mistypes a command before?

        That’s why I cut and past commands if at all possible as some can be very long and complicated. Not saying this one is long or complicated.

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