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Typically, Xcode handles most code signing tasks for you, helping you manage your code signing identity, and applying your code signature to apps that you build and distribute. Letting Xcode handle code signing is generally the simplest and safest choice, because Xcode is designed with best practices built in. Read this chapter to gain a better understanding of what Xcode does on your behalf, or to handle special cases where you need to intervene in the code signing process.

About the Code Signing Identity

You sign code using a code signing identity, which consists of a private key plus a digital certificate. The private key is an encryption key that only you have, making it impossible for anyone to forge your signature, as long as you keep the key secure. The digital certificate has a usage extension that enables it to be used for signing, and it contains the public key that complements your private key. The certificate is not secret, and is itself generally signed by a certificate authority, which effectively vouches for your identity. The simple act of code signing does not require a certificate authority’s signature on your certificate, but your signature is much more useful this way because anyone encountering your signature can be confident of its origin.

You can use more than one signing identity, each for its own purpose, such as one for beta seeds and one for final, released products. Also, you typically have different identities for iOS and macOS apps. However, most organizations use a single identity for a given platform and purpose. In other words, you typically do not have more than one Mac App Distribution identity, even if you publish many different apps, but you do have different identities for distributing macOS apps and iOS apps.

Before You Obtain a Signing Identity

Before you obtain a code signing identity and sign your code, consider the following points:

  • Depending on your company’s internal policies, you might have to involve your company’s build and integration, legal, and marketing departments in decisions about what sort of signing identity to use and how to obtain it. Start this process well in advance of the time you need to actually sign the code for distribution to customers.

  • Any signed version of your code that gets into the hands of users will appear to have been endorsed by your company for use. Therefore, you might not want to use your “final” signing identity to sign code that is still in development.

  • A signing identity, no matter how obtained, is completely compromised if it is ever out of the physical control of whoever is authorized to sign the code. That means that the signing identity’s private key must never, under any circumstances, be given to end users, and should be restricted to one or a small number of trusted persons within your company. Before obtaining a signing identity and proceeding to sign code, determine who within your company will possess the identity, who can use it, and how it will be kept safe. For example, if the identity must be used by more than one person, you can keep it in the keychain of a secure computer and give the password of the keychain only to authorized users, or you can put the identity on a smart card to which only authorized users have the PIN.

    Important: If you lose control of your Apple-issued signing identity, such as your Developer ID or Mac App Distribution identity, report this to Apple immediately. Apple will invalidate the old identity and help you to replace it. While this seems like a lot of work, it’s critical, because anyone possessing your identity can distribute potentially malicious or destructive code that looks like it came from you.

Obtaining Your Signing Identities

The usual way to obtain a certificate for your signing identity is to get it from Apple. When you sign up for the Apple Developer Program, you gain access to the developer portal, where you can generate certificates for a variety of purposes, including Developer ID certificates (for public distribution of Mac apps), Mac App Distribution certificates (for submitting to the Mac App Store), iOS Distribution certificates (for submitting to the App Store), and others.

Mar 12, 2020  Find the appropriate download link in the upgrade instructions for each macOS version: macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, or macOS High Sierra Installers for each of these macOS versions download directly to your Applications folder as an app named Install macOS Catalina, Install macOS Mojave, or Install macOS High Sierra.

Note: Apple uses the industry-standard form and format of code signing certificates. Therefore, if your company already has a third-party signing identity that you use to sign code on other systems, you can use it with the macOS codesign command. Similarly, if your company is a certificate issuing authority, contact your IT department to find out how to get a signing certificate issued by your company. However, while these valid certificates allow you to sign your code, you can only distribute through the App Store or through the Developer ID program when you sign with a certificate issued by Apple.

Xcode helps manage your code signing identities when you use the certificates available through the developer portal. For details on how to use Xcode to do this, see Manage signing certificates in Xcode Help.

If you choose to manage your signing identities manually because you are using a certificate authority other than Apple, you create them using the Certificate Assistant, which is provided as part of the Keychain Access application. You use this tool to create a public/private key pair, add these keys to your keychain, and generate a certificate request that you send to a certificate authority. In response, the certificate authority sends you a signed certificate that, in combination with the private key stored only on your system and known only to you, completes your digital identity. These are essentially the same steps Xcode carries out on your behalf (using Apple as the certificate authority) when it manages your code signing identity.

To obtain a signed certificate using Certificate Assistant
  1. From the Keychain Access menu, choose Certificate Assistant > Request a Certificate from a Certificate Authority….

  2. Fill in your email address and a name for the certificate, and select Saved to disk. Then click Continue.

  3. Select a place to store the request on disk, and click Save.

    Certificate Assistant generates the public and private keys and stores them in your keychain, while storing the matching certificate request on disk.

  4. Upload the certificate request to the certificate authority (for example, to Apple using the developer portal, as part of the certificate generation flow).

  5. Download the generated certificate (a file with a cer extension).

  6. Open the certificate file by double clicking on it.

    Keychain Access imports the certificate and associates it with the corresponding private key you created earlier.

Note: If the private key is not already in your keychain when you import the certificate, for example because you move to another development machine, you must export the private key from the original system using the Keychain Access app, and import it on the new system as a separate step. The private key is not part of the certificate. When you use Certificate Assistant to generate the certificate request, the one and only copy of the private key is the one Certificate Assistant placed in your keychain at that time.

Alternatively, you can create and self-sign a certificate using Certificate Assistant, and not involve a certificate authority. This can be useful during internal testing and development.

Important: Do not ship apps signed by self-signed certificates. A self-signed certificate created with the Certificate Assistant is not recognized by users’ operating systems as a valid certificate for any purpose other than validating the designated requirement of your signed code. Because a self-signed certificate has not been signed by a recognized root certificate authority, the user can only verify that two versions of your application came from the same source; they cannot verify that your company is the true source of the code. For more information about root authorities, see Security Concepts.

To obtain a self-signed certificate using Certificate Assistant
  1. From the Keychain Access menu, choose Certificate Assistant > Create a Certificate.

  2. Fill in a name for the certificate. This name appears in the Keychain Access utility as the name of the certificate.

  3. Choose Self Signed Root from the Identity Type pop-up menu.

  4. Choose Code Signing from the Certificate Type pop-up menu.

  5. Check the Let me override defaults checkbox. Click Continue.

  6. Specify a serial number for the certificate.

    Any number will do as long as you have no other certificate with the same name and serial number.

  7. Fill in the information for the certificate. Click Continue.

Adding an Info.plist to Single-File Tools

As discussed in The Digital Signature, by default, the system uses the Info.plist file of an application bundle to determine the code’s designated requirement. Although single-file tools don’t normally have an Info.plist, you can add one.

To add an Info.plist file to your single-file tool
  1. Make sure the Info.plist file has at least the following keys:

    • CFBundleIdentifier

      This value is the default unique name of your program for code signing purposes, and must be globally unique. To ensure uniqueness, include your company’s name in the value. The usual form for this identifier is a hierarchical name in reverse DNS notation, starting with the top-level domain, followed by the company name, followed by the organization within the company, and ending with the product name. For example, the CFBundleIdentifier value for the codesign command is

    • CFBundleName

      This is the app’s short display name, a string no longer than 16 characters, and typically the name of the target. For the codesign command, the value is simply codesign.

  2. In Xcode, in the target’s Build Settings, change the Create Info.plist Section in Binary setting to Yes, and provide the path to the file in the Info.plist File setting as shown in Figure 3-6.

As an example, Listing 3-1 gives the contents of the Info.plist file for the codesign command.

Listing 3-1 The Info.plist file contents for the codesign command

Signing Your Code Manually

Whether Xcode manages your signing identity or you set it up manually, Xcode normally signs code that you build using the codesign tool. Xcode does this as the final step in the build process, and again when exporting for distribution. In the unusual case that you sign your code manually, or to interrogate an app for details about its signature, you use the codesign command line tool directly. See the codesign man page for a complete enumeration of the options this tool takes.

What to Code Sign

You sign all the individual components of your app, leaving no gaps, including:

  • Nested code. First, you recursively sign all of the helpers, tools, libraries, frameworks, and other components that your app relies on, and that are bundled with your app. See Ensuring Proper Code Signatures for Nested Code for a discussion of how to properly embed and sign nested code in your app bundle. Also see Using Library Validation for additional information about verifying libraries as a matter of system policy.

  • Mach-O executables. The signing software applies individual signatures to each architectural component of a universal binary that represents the main executable of your app. These are independent, and usually only the native architecture on the end user's system is verified. To apply the signature, the codesign utility adds the signature directly to the executable file.

  • Resources. Everything in an application bundle that is not explicit code (either nested code bundles or the main executable) is a resource, and all resources are signed. The resource files themselves are not modified as a result of signing. Instead, codesign places the digital signatures corresponding to all the application bundle’s non-code files in a special plist file within the bundle, namely Contents/_CodeSignature/CodeResources. The codesign utility places the signatures of any nested code here as well, which is why nested code is signed first.

When to Code Sign

You sign as the last step before shipping your product, after all development and testing are done. Making changes after you sign invalidates the signature. Consider a signed application bundle as a read-only entity. Also, because code that you sign with a distribution certificate bears your stamp of approval, avoid handing out signed code that is not final.

In practice, Xcode applies your signature when you export your app for distribution. Alternatively, you can run codesign at any time on any system running macOS 10.5 or later, provided you have access to the signing identity. You can for example include it as a step in custom Makefile scripts.

How to Code Sign Manually

Xcode normally signs on your behalf. You simply choose a signing identity in the General tab of a given target, and Xcode takes care of the details. This is usually the best option, because Xcode evolves with each new version to match changes in recommended code signing procedures and settings. Any customizations you introduce, on the other hand, require explicit maintenance.

When you do need additional control over the process, you add flags to the “Other Code Signing Flags” item of the project’s Build Settings tab, as shown in Figure 3-7. Xcode passes these directly to the codesign command. Xcode still does most of the work, but you have the ability to influence specific aspects of the signing procedure.

In rare cases when you need to sign manually (or to interrogate an existing code signature, as described in Examining a Code Signature), you use the codesign command directly, as described below. This is generally the option of last resort, but may be helpful in certain special cases, especially when trying to debug an issue. Note that your signing identity must be in a keychain for codesign commands to work.

Signing Code Manually

To sign the code located at <code-path>, using the signing identity <identity>, use the following command:

The <code-path> value may be a bundle folder or a specific code binary. See What to Code Sign for more details.

The identity, whether obtained manually or automatically, and which must exist on one of your keychains, can be named with any (case sensitive) substring of the certificate's common name attribute, as long as the substring is unique throughout your keychains. (Signing identities are discussed in About the Code Signing Identity.)

This command gives no confirmation of success by default. To get feedback, include the -v option:

Use the -r option to specify an internal requirement. With this option you can specify a text file containing the requirements, a precompiled requirements binary, or the actual requirement text prefixed with an equal sign (=). For example, to add an internal requirement that only the built-in Perl interpreter be allowed to host a Perl script:

The code requirement language is described in Code Signing Requirement Language.

If you have built your own certificate hierarchy (perhaps using Certificate Assistant—see About the Code Signing Identity), and want to use your certificate’s anchor to form a designated requirement for your program:

Note: The requirement source language accepts either an SHA1 hash of a certificate (for example H'abcd..') or a path to the DER encoded certificate in a file. It does not currently accept a reference to the certificate in a keychain, so you have to export the certificate before executing this command.

You can also use the csreq command to write the requirements out to a file, and then use the path to that file as the input value for the -r option in the codesign command. See the man page for csreq for more information on that command.

Here are some other examples of requirements:

  • anchor apple – The code is signed by Apple.

  • anchor trusted – The anchor is trusted (for code signing) by the system.

  • certificate leaf = /path/to/certificate – The leaf (signing) certificate is the one specified.

  • certificate leaf = /path/to/certificate and identifier 'com.mycorp.myprog' – The leaf certificate and program identifier are as specified.

  • info[mykey] = myvalue – The Info.plist key mykey exists and has the value myvalue.

Except for the explicit anchor trusted requirement, the system does not consult its trust settings database when verifying a code requirement. Therefore, as long as you don’t add this designated requirement to your code signature, the anchor certificate you use for signing your code does not have to be introduced to the user’s system for validation to succeed.

Adding Entitlements for Sandboxing Manually

To enable App Sandbox for an application, Xcode adds your entitlement property list to the signature during the signing process. If you are code signing manually, use the --entitlements flag, naming the target’s entitlements property list file:

For a list of entitlement keys that can appear in the entitlement property list, see Entitlement Key Reference. For more information about App Sandbox, read App Sandbox Design Guide.

Sharing a Designated Requirement

If your application consists of a main executable with one or more helper tools that work together, appearing to the user as a single app, you can make these pieces of code indistinguishable to code signing by giving them all the same designated requirement. In that case, all your program components have access to the same keychain items and validate as the same program. Do this only if the programs involved are truly meant to form a single entity, with no distinctions made.

At first glance, the obvious way to achieve this is to give each entity the same CFBundleIdentifier in its respective Info.plist file, in which case codesign will automatically apply the same designated requirement to each. However, this is not recommended. Instead, give each individual app or tool that you ship its own identity (for example, com.mycorp.myprog for the main app, and com.mycorp.myprog.helper1 and com.mycorp.myprog.helper2 for its helpers). Then, manually assign the designated requirement to be the same for all of them, rather than allowing codesign to generate the DR automatically. Do this by adding the -r flag to “Other Code Signing Flags” in Xcode, with an appropriate argument, or if signing manually:

Ensuring Proper Code Signatures for Nested Code

Starting in macOS 10.9, the code signing tool records nested code (such as frameworks or XPC services that you add to your app) in the embedding code’s resource envelope using the nested codes’s own code signature. This means that when a code signature is created for an item, all the nested code that item contains must already be signed correctly or the signing attempt fails. Xcode nests code like this by default, as long as all of the nested items exist as targets in your project, and your app’s build depends on these targets. Figure 3-8 shows an example of Xcode’s Build Phases panel for an XPC service called MyAppHelper properly nested in the MyApp app. Xcode begins the signing process at the deepest level of hierarchy (which in this case is the MyAppHelper service), working outward, and signing your top level app bundle as the final step.

For this process to work properly, ensure that you include nested code in standard locations within a bundle, as shown in Table 3-1.

Table 3-1 Standard locations for code inside a bundle




Top content directory of the bundle


Helper apps and tools


Frameworks, dylibs


Plug-ins, both loadable and extensions


XPC services


Helper apps and tools


Automator actions


Spotlight importers


Installable login items


Privileged helper tools installed by the ServiceManagement framework

The system expects these locations to contain only code. When evaluating an app bundle’s code signature, the system will reject arbitrary data files found in these locations because they're unsigned. Conversely, the code signing machinery considers anything not in one of these directories, including code, to be a resource. Any code not in one of these directories is therefore sealed twice: once as code, and once as a resource in the outer signature. This wastes both signing and verification time and storage space. Also, this can break the outer signature of apps that use their own update mechanisms to replace nested code. If this nested code is being treated as a resource, the outer signature doesn't know that this nested content is actually code.

Do not use custom subdirectories inside the code nesting directories shown in Table 3-1. For example, place all your XPC services directly in the Contents/XPCServices directory. Do not organize them into subdirectories like Contents/XPCServices/Net and Contents/XPCServices/Math. Creating a custom directory hierarchy in one of these locations can break the code signing machinery, depending on the names of the subdirectories, and while it may appear to work in some cases, it is not a supported practice.

Store Python, Perl, shell, and other script files, and other non-Mach-O executables in your app's Contents/Resources directory. While it's possible to sign such executables and store them in Contents/MacOS, this is not recommended. This is because code signing uses extended attributes to store signatures in non-Mach-O executables such as script files. If the extended attributes are lost, the program's signature will be broken. Many file transfer techniques do not preserve extended attributes, nor are they preserved when uploading to the Mac App Store. When you put the script in the Contents/Resources directory, codesign stores the associated signature in the Contents/_CodeSignature/CodeResources file, which is preserved. Thus, in practice, a properly signed app that has all of its files in the correct places does not contain any signatures stored as extended attributes.

The code signing machinery performs some framework checks specifically on frameworks that are nested within other code. It's possible that signing a framework will succeed, but the result fails to validate when placed into another bundle's Frameworks directory. Make sure the framework is structured correctly per the requirements above.

Important: When you manually code sign a framework, only the current version, the one pointed at by the Versions/Current symbolic link, is signed by default. Additional versions are signed, if needed, using the --bundle-version option:

However, manual verification tests all versions unless you specify a particular version, again using the --bundle-version flag.

Bundles must have their Info.plist in the proper location. For app bundles, this is in Contents. For frameworks, this is in Versions/Current/Resources.

If signing or validation using the codesign command fails due to problems with nested code, the command outputs an additional line:

This output indicates which nested code caused the problem. Always look for this line to correctly interpret a code signing failure. If Xcode produces a code signing error during distribution signing, and you have nested code, this is something to check for.

Using Library Validation

Starting in iOS 8 and macOS 10.10, the system offers library validation as a policy for the dynamic libraries that a process links against. The policy is simple: A program may link against any library with the same team identifier in its code signature as the main executable, or with any Apple system library. Requests to link against other libraries are denied.

In iOS, an Apple system library is a library that Apple mastered into the OS image. In macOS, an Apple system library is a library shipped in /System/Library. The team identifier is the 10-character alphanumeric string, such as YH9SZ5LKR4, associated with your developer account, and recorded in your Apple-issued signing certificate.

In iOS, library validation is always enabled for all apps. There is nothing you need to do to opt in. In macOS, you may opt in to library validation by passing the library flag to the codesign tool when signing manually:

You opt in to library validation when Xcode code signs for you by selecting the main project, going into Build Settings, and adding -o library to the “Other Code Signing Flags” section, as shown in Figure 3-9.

To avoid signing errors when using library validation in your project, create embedded frameworks as Xcode targets of the same project, and build with standard settings. This ensures that the main executable and all frameworks are signed with the same certificate, and thus have the same team identifier. If you forget to sign frameworks that are built externally to the project and later copied into the bundle, library validation fails.

When the library validation policy denies an executable file from being mapped into the process’s address space, it generates a syslog error message with the tag [deny- mmap]. The error string includes the name of the process, the pid, and the path to the dynamic library. For example, the process ls with pid 528 trying to load the library /private/tmp/libncurses.5.4.dylib generates the following output:

Signing Installer Packages

Xcode does not create signed installer packages for you. Instead, you create signed installer packages (with a .pkg extension) by supplying an installer signing identity to the productbuild tool. For example, to create the package Product.pkg from a distribution file Product.dist, and sign it with your identity, as found in your keychain:

As with signed code, when you create a flat-file installation package, any modification after signing invalidates the signature.

Note: Bundle-style installer packages are no longer supported.

Signing Disk Images

Beginning in macOS 10.11.5, you can apply a code signature to read-only, compressed disk images that you use to distribute content. This is the recommended alternative to the deprecated xip file format, which is a signed archive you create with the xip command line utility.

Xcode does not handle signing disk images. Instead, use the command line codesign tool to do this manually:

Note: In macOS 10.11.5, avoid using the --force option for the codesign command for disk images. An issue prevents the correct re-signing of already-code-signed disk images. This problem is resolved in macOS 10.12 and later.

When you sign your app with a Developer ID and distribute it using a disk image, it is possible to package additional unsigned code, such as dynamic libraries or scripts, together with the signed app bundle on the same disk image. If your app loads this extra content at runtime using a file system path relative to its own bundle, you have introduced a security risk. Because the extra code is outside the app bundle, and thus not covered by the app’s code signature, you can’t be certain that the extra content is intact. This is known as the repackaging problem because a bad actor can repackage your app bundle with a different, potentially malicious version of the external resources, and distribute the altered disk image as if it came from you.

To combat this problem, beginning in macOS 10.12, when an app is launched from a read-only disk image, the operating system employs Gatekeeper path randomization. The system copies the app to a random location in the file system before executing it, invalidating any relative paths that the app uses to access unprotected content outside its own app bundle.

You can bypass path randomization by code signing your disk image before you distribute it. When launching an app from a code-signed disk image, Gatekeeper disables path randomization because all the contents of the disk image are covered by a code signature.

Note: Whether or not Gatekeeper employs path randomization, it still evaluates an app and its code signature on first launch as usual. In other words, even when you distribute an app using a signed disk image, you still separately sign your app bundle in the usual way, before adding it to the disk image.

Examining a Code Signature

Whether you code sign manually or Xcode does it for you, when you want to test the integrity of signed code or evaluate the way in which the system is going to treat signed code, you use the codesign and spctl command line tools.

Using codesign to Investigate a Code Signature

You use the codesign command to interrogate an app or other signed entity about its signature. To verify the signature on a signed binary, use the -v option with no other options:

This command confirms whether the code binaries at <code-path> are actually signed, the signature is valid, all the sealed components are unaltered, and the signature passes some basic consistency checks. It does not by default check that the code satisfies any requirements except its own designated requirement. To check a particular requirement, use the -R option. For example, to check that the Apple Mail application is identified as Mail, signed by Apple, and secured with Apple’s root signing certificate:

Note that, unlike the -r option, the -R option takes only a single requirement rather than a requirements collection (no => tags). Add one or more additional -v options to get details on the validation process. Here is a longer example that demonstrates these concepts:

If you pass a number rather than a path to the verify option, codesign takes the number to be the process ID (pid) of a running process, and performs dynamic validation instead.

When verifying signatures, add --deep to ensure recursive validation of nested code. Without --deep, validation will be shallow. Note that Gatekeeper always performs --deep style validation, as described in Checking Gatekeeper Conformance.

Important: While you use the --deep option for verification to mimic what Gatekeeper does, it is not recommended for signing. During signing, if you have nested code, and if you are signing manually, you sign nested code in stages (as Xcode does automatically), starting with the most deeply embedded components first. You then sign code at the next level of hierarchy, and so on. You work your way outward, finally signing the top level entity that contains all the others. Signing all the components in one shot with --deep is for emergency repairs and temporary adjustments only. Note that signing with the combination --deep --force will forcibly re-sign all code in a bundle.

To get information about a code signature (without actually verifying it), use the -d option. For example, to output the code signature’s internal requirements, use the following command:

Using spctl to Test a Code Signature Against System Policies

After you have produced your final deliverable, but before you ship it, you can use the spctl(8) tool to test your code signatures against various system policies that the user may set. Because the tool evaluates against the policies on the local machine, the outcome is affected by the settings in the Security preferences pane, and can further be modified by parental controls, remote management, and so on. Conversely, changes made with spctl (such as adding or disabling rules) affect future Gatekeeper judgments directly.

The basic syntax for code signing assessment is shown below:

If your application or package signature is valid, these tools exit silently with an exit status of 0. (Type echo $? to display the exit status of the last command.) If the signature is invalid, these tools print an error message and exit with a nonzero exit status.

Bluetooth 2.0 mac apps. Jan 04, 2017  (Sidenote: Pairing has to be done from System Preferences, and technically the Bluetooth device remains paired with both the Mac and iPhone. ToothFairy and the Bluetooth menu both deal with connecting and disconnecting devices that are already paired.) 3. MacOS 10.14 may keep a “recent” app icon in the Dock even if the app has hidden it.

For more detailed information about why the assessment failed, you can add the --verbose flag. For example:

This prints the following output:

To see everything the system has to say about an assessment, pass the --raw option. With this flag, the spctl tool prints a detailed assessment as a property list.

To approve a program (exactly as if done through a user prompt), type:

The --label is an optional tag that you can add to your own rules. This tag allows you to remove the rule easily by typing:

Note that this removes all rules that match the label, which means that it is a handy way to clean up after testing. You can also temporarily suspend your rules by typing:

and reenable them later by typing:

To see a list of the current assessment rules, use the --list flag. For example:

The resulting list of rules might look like this:

Notice that the list above includes a number of predefined rules that describe the handling of certain classes of code. For example, rule 5 captures all applications signed by a Developer ID. You can disable those applications by typing:

This command tells the system to no longer allow execution of any Developer ID-signed applications that the user has not previously run. This is exactly what happens when you use the preference UI to switch to 'Mac App Store only'.

Each rule in the list has a unique number that can be used to address it. For example, if you type:

you might get a list of rules that looks like this:

Notice that there are separate rules for execution (5) and installation (6), and you can enable and disable them separately. For example, to enable installation of new applications signed with a Developer ID, you can type:

Finally, spctl allows you to enable or disable the security assessment policy subsystem.

For more information, see the manual page for spctl(8).

Checking Gatekeeper Conformance

It’s a good idea to test your app for Gatekeeper conformance before you ship, especially if you sign your app with a Developer ID and distribute by some means other than the Mac App Store, such as through a website.

Gatekeeper is a configurable system facility that examines files that you download to your Mac, for example from a website or in an email attachment. It applies rules to decide whether to allow or reject an attempt to open an item for the first time on a given system. When deciding whether to allow an app to run, Gatekeeper uses the app’s code signature to test the integrity and authorship of the app. By default, Gatekeeper only allows apps that have an intact signature, and that are downloaded from the Mac App Store or are signed with a Developer ID.

In addition to this primary tactic, Gatekeeper does the following:

  • Beginning with macOS 10.9.5, Gatekeeper rejects any code signed with Version 1 code signatures (those created with macOS versions prior to 10.9). Among other things, this implies that no resource “holes” are allowed (all resource files must have a valid signature), and code should be properly nested, as described in Ensuring Proper Code Signatures for Nested Code.

  • Beginning with macOS 10.10.4, Gatekeeper verifies that no libraries are loaded from outside an app bundle. If an app uses @rpath or an absolute path to link to a dynamic library outside of the app, Gatekeeper rejects the app. This restriction applies to the app’s main executable and any other executable in the bundle, including libraries. This restriction applies even if the path does not exist (which normally causes the dynamic linker to fall back to a library inside the bundle). The error will appear in the system log, with a message like the following for an app trying to link against the library libLibrary.dylib in the nonstandard location /foo:

    As with other Gatekeeper functions, this check is performed the first time the app is run. It does not apply to libraries that the app loads itself using the dlopen function, although those libraries are still potentially subject to library validation, as described in Using Library Validation. It also does not apply to libraries loaded from paths where libraries are expected to reside, such as /System, /Library, and /usr/.

    Note: To see which libraries an app references, use the command otool -L

  • Beginning with macOS 10.11, Gatekeeper rejects code signed with signatures that don't cover the entire app bundle. This should not affect anyone using normal build tools. Gatekeeper also rejects apps containing symbolic links that:

    • Point to nowhere.

    • Point to places that are legitimately excluded from the app's signature.

    • Point outside the app bundle, except to locations in /System and /Library.

    A nested bundle may contain symlinks that point into the enclosing bundle.

Note: Users can override Gatekeeper's assessment of your app's signature using the steps described in this support article.

Testing Conformance with Command Line Tools

To get a sense of whether your app conforms to Gatekeeper policies when you distribute with Developer ID, you can use the following codesign command to mimic what Gatekeeper does:

If your app is signed properly, the output looks like this:

Alternately, the spctl utility is actually a command-line interface to the same security assessment policy subsystem that Gatekeeper uses. Like Gatekeeper, spctl only accepts Developer ID signed apps and apps downloaded from the Mac App Store by default. Run spctl on your app like this:

This is the output if your app's signature is accepted:

If you get any result other than accepted, your app is not compatible with Gatekeeper.

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Testing Conformance Explicitly

The codesign and spctl tools give a good sense of how Gatekeeper will respond to your app, but they are not exhaustive. For example, they do not test for the condition that libraries be loaded from inside the bundle or from one of the standard system locations. Therefore, it is best to actually invoke Gatekeeper as a final test before shipping. To do this:

  1. Package your app the way you ship it, such as in a disk image.

  2. Download your app from its website, mail it to yourself, or send it to yourself using AirDrop or Message. This quarantines the app. This is necessary to trigger the Gatekeeper check as Gatekeeper only checks quarantined files the first time they're opened.

  3. Drag-install your app to the /Applications folder and launch it.

    • If there is no dialog at all, you missed a step. Check the instructions and repeat the test.

    • If you see the dialog with a message that the app you are trying to open is from the Internet, and providing an Open button, the test succeeded.

    • If you're told that only apps from the Mac App Store or registered developers can be installed, your app isn't Developer ID-signed. Use the Xcode Organizer to export a Developer ID-signed copy of your app and repeat the test. It may also be that the system doesn't think your bundle is an app bundle because its Info.plist doesn't have its CFBundlePackageType property set to APPL.

    • If you get any other complaint, your signature is broken.

Using Hash Agility

Beginning in macOS 10.11.5, stronger cryptographic hashing is available to both create and evaluate code signatures. When you build and code sign using macOS 10.11.5 or later, the code signing machinery uses the improved hashing to create a code signature. There is nothing you need to do to adopt this behavior. At the same time, to maintain backward compatibility, the system includes a legacy code signature alongside the modern one, in a way that works transparently with older systems.

Similarly, during code signature evaluation on macOS 10.11.5 or later, the system uses the stronger signature if it is available, but still interprets older signatures if necessary. As with signing, there is nothing you need to do to adopt the improved hashing during code signature evaluation. Together, these are referred to as hash agility.

Note: When you set the deployment target in Xcode build settings to 10.12 or higher, the code signing machinery generates only the modern code signature for Mach-O binaries. A binary executable is always unsuitable for systems older than the specified deployment target, but in this case, older systems also fail to interpret the code signature.

Shipping and Updating Your Product

Maintaining the integrity of a code signature requires the signed code installed on the user’s system to be identical to the code that you signed. It does not matter how you package, deliver, or install your product as long as you don’t introduce any changes into the product. Compression, encoding, and encrypting the code are all fine because decompression, decoding, and decryption reverse these processes exactly. You can even use binary patching, because that process updates both the code and the embedded signature simultaneously. You can use any installer you like, as long as it doesn't write anything into the product as it installs it. Drag-installs are fine as well. As long as the final product on the user’s system is bit-for-bit identical to the signed code you produced, the signature remains intact.

When you have qualified a new version of your product, sign it just as you signed the previous version, with the same identifier and the same designated requirement. The user’s system considers the new version of your product to be the same program as the previous version. For example, Keychain Services does not distinguish older and newer versions of your program as long as both are signed and the unique Identifier remains constant.

Copyright © 2016 Apple Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Policy Updated: 2016-09-13


Before you can deploy, configure, monitor, or protect apps, you must add them to Intune. One of the available app types is Microsoft Edge version 77 and later. By selecting this app type in Intune, you can assign and install Microsoft Edge version 77 and later to devices you manage that run macOS. This app type makes it easy for you to assign Microsoft Edge to macOS devices without requiring you to use the macOS app wrapping tool. To help keep the apps more secure and up to date, the app comes with Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU).


This app type offers developer and beta channels for macOS. The deployment is in English (EN) only, however end users can change the display language in the browser under Settings > Languages.


Microsoft Edge version 77 and later is available for Windows 10 as well.


  • The macOS device must be running macOS 10.12 or later before installing Microsoft Edge.

Add Microsoft Edge to Intune

You can add Microsoft Edge version 77 and later to Intune using the following steps:

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
  2. Select Apps > All apps > Add.
  3. In the App type list under the Microsoft Edge, version 77 and later, select macOS.

Configure app information

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Macos Create Pkg From App Windows 10

In this step, you provide information about this app deployment. This information helps you identify the app in Intune, and it helps users find the app in the company portal.

  1. Click App information to display the App information pane.
  2. In the App information pane, you provide information about this app deployment. This information helps you identify the app in Intune, and it helps users find the app in the company portal.
    • Name: Enter the name of the app as it will be displayed in the company portal. Make sure that all names are unique. If the same app name exists twice, only one of the apps is displayed to users in the company portal.
    • Description: Enter a description for the app. For example, you could list the targeted users in the description.
    • Publisher: Microsoft appears as the publisher.
    • Category: Optionally, select one or more of the built-in app categories or a category that you created. This setting makes it easier for users to find the app when they browse the company portal.
    • Display this as a featured app in the Company Portal: Select this option to display the app prominently on the main page of the company portal when users browse for apps.
    • Information URL: Optionally, enter the URL of a website that contains information about this app. The URL is displayed to users in the company portal.
    • Privacy URL: Optionally, enter the URL of a website that contains privacy information for this app. The URL is displayed to users in the company portal.
    • Developer: Microsoft appears as the developer.
    • Owner: Microsoft appears as the owner.
    • Notes: Optionally, enter any notes that you want to associate with this app.
  3. Select OK.

Configure Microsoft Edge settings

In this step, configure installation options for the app.

  1. In the Add App pane, select App settings.

  2. In the App settings pane, select either Stable, Beta or Dev from the Channel list to determine which Edge Channel you will deploy the app from.

    • Stable channel is the recommended channel for deploying broadly in Enterprise environments. It updates every six weeks, each release incorporating improvements from the Beta channel.
    • Beta channel is the most stable Microsoft Edge preview experience and the best choice for a full pilot within your organization. With major updates every six weeks, each release incorporates the learnings and improvements from the Dev channel.
    • Dev channel is ready for enterprise feedback on Windows, Windows Server and macOS. It updates every week and contains the latest improvements and fixes.


    The Microsoft Edge browser logo is displayed with the app when users browse the company portal.

  3. Select OK.

Select scope tags (optional)

You can use scope tags to determine who can see client app information in Intune. For full details about scope tags, see Use role-based access control and scope tags for distributed IT.

  1. Select Scope (Tags) > Add.
  2. Use the Select box to search for scope tags.
  3. Select the check box next to the scope tags you want to assign to this app.
  4. Click Select > OK.

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Add the app

When you've completed configuring, select Add from the App app pane.

The app you've created is displayed in the apps list, where you can assign it to the groups that you select.


Currently, Apple does not provide a way for Intune to uninstall Microsoft Edge on macOS devices.

Next steps

  • To learn how to configure Microsoft Edge on macOS devices, see Configure Microsoft Edge on macOS devices.
  • To learn about including and excluding app assignments from groups of users, see Include and exclude app assignments.