How to Disable Gatekeeper from Command Line in Mac 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 macOS and Mac 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 Mac OS. 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 Mac OS
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:
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’.
How to Enable Gatekeeper from the Command Line of Mac OS X
Of course, you can also turn on Gatekeeper from the command line of macOS / Mac 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
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.
The ability to disable Gatekeeper through Terminal has existed for quite a while now, and this tip applies to basically all modern Mac OS versions, including macOS Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra.
If you know of any other helpful tips or tricks associated with enabling and disabling Gatekeeper from the command line (or otherwise) do share them with us in the comments below.