Mac error: is damaged and cannot be opened

As of macOS 10.12 Sierra, Apple computers have a so-called gatekeeper. This is supposed to protect the Mac, but can also lead to the error " is damaged and cannot be opened ..." to lead. What you can do to ensure that the app you have chosen opens, I will explain in this guide. It is important that the Gatekeeper is only one of the possible causes for the error message shown.

"" is damaged and cannot be opened. We recommend moving the item to the trash. Here is a possible solution to the problem from macOS 10.12.
"" is damaged and cannot be opened. We recommend moving the item to the trash. Here is a possible solution to the problem from macOS 10.12.

The error message: is damaged and cannot be opened

The full error message on your Apple Mac, iMac, or MacBook is likely to be as follows: "" is damaged and cannot be opened. We recommend moving the item to the trash. - In the corresponding window you then have the choice between Abort and Put it in the paper basket. If the .app file you downloaded from the Internet or some other third party source is damaged, it may be worth deleting and re-downloading it. If you are sure that it is not damaged or incomplete, or if you have performed the download again, then it may help to deactivate the Mac Gatekeeper.

Run an undamaged app thanks to the deactivated gatekeeper

As mentioned in the Mac Gatekeeper article linked at the beginning, you can use the security mechanism of macOS with a simple PortDisable and re-enable command. In order to solve the problem described above, close the app in question or the error message (with "Cancel") and open it Port. There you proceed as follows:

  1. Enter this command to deactivate Gatekeeper and confirm with Enter:
    sudo spctl --master-disable
  2. If you are asked, enter the admin password and also confirm
  3. Open the app that was reported as damaged
  4. Activate the gatekeeper again with this command and its confirmation:
    sudo spctl --master-enable
  5. Close the terminal and use the program in question

Don't forget to turn the Mac's security back on (step 4). Because it protects the Mac from malware and thus from damage to macOS and your files. If possible, only download apps from the official Mac App Store or directly from the developer. From purchase via download portals I advise you against.

Update 24.12.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX: Create exception for program

If the tips above don't help, it could be that macOS still doesn't want to open the program. In this case you have to create an exception in the security settings. I have how this works explained here in the article.

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8 Responses to “Mac Error: is corrupt and cannot be opened”

  1. Good indication that the programs are probably NOT damaged. This also happens with my own programs because I don't want to pay the developer costs.

    But: Isn't it much easier to do that?
    Right click, open, agree?
    Without deactivating an extra gatekeeper.

    1. sir appleot

      Hi Michael! Yes, there is this option too. You have to do it again and again. I actually know the problem, but the message that the Mac is about to throw the thing in the trash was new to me. : D

  2. Hello :)
    I have MacBook macOS Catalina version 10.15.6 and I'm having trouble installing a program. It keeps telling me the file is corrupt and I'm advised to move it to the trash. I have already disabled the gatekeeper as described above so that Allow apps download from my security settings shows "everywhere". However, the same message appears when I try to open the file.
    Does anyone have any idea why this could be?
    Kind regards, Emma

    1. Hello, Emma! Have you tried it like this: Right-click on the file and then select "Open". Then (I think) there should be another warning, but you have the option to open the software anyway.

      1. Hello.
        Neither disabling the gatekeeper nor right-clicking works for me. The gatekeepers are definitely disabled, in "Security" I can choose to load programs from anywhere. However, I just can't install said program and I can't find any more tips at all... It would be great if you could help me, because I paid a lot of money and now I can't install it....

        1. Hello Kathi! After trying to open it, did you look under System Settings> Security in the lower right corner to see if you could accept an exception for the program? I have the procedure described here. That should help you!

  3. Mr. Schmidt Ralf Gerhard

    After hours of searching on the net, I immediately found the right information on this page, which solved my problem. Thanks

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