Apple Temporarily Relaxes macOS Catalina Notarization Requirements for Non Mac App Store Apps

George Herman
George Herman
IT Security Expert

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Yesterday, Apple announced that it is temporarily relaxing some notarization requirements for Mac apps. Regarding applications outside of the App Store, macOS Catalina will only run notarized software. Developers have found it difficult to adopt notarization though.

To make the transition easier, Apple decided to temporarily relax some of the notarization requirements for non Mac apps.

In a developer update, the company stated that developers can now notarize software that do not use the hardened runtime features, contain components that are not signed with a Developer ID, lack a secure time stamp, or include the get-task-allow entitlement. In addition, Apple is allowing developers to notarize applications which were built with an older SDK version than macOS 10.15.

The full list of allowances are published on the company’s developer website:

“You can now notarize Mac software that:
– Doesn’t have the Hardened Runtime capability enabled.
– Has components not signed with your Developer ID.
– Doesn’t include a secure timestamp with your code-signing signature.
– Was built with an older SDK.
– Includes the entitlement with the value set to any variation of true.”

Apart from making the transition easier for developers to adopt the notarization security features, Apple aims to improve the customer-facing situation who would otherwise own many applications which will not launch on Catalina.

Yet, developers will still need to get their software notarized, but these lesser requirements should make it easier for more developers to get their apps properly signed in time for macOS Catalina’s launch.

Due to the fact that the apps no longer need to be built with the new SDK, it means that developers can submit their existing binaries, making it possible to sign and notarize software already in the wild.

However, Apple has only promised to delay the full enforcement until January 2020, which is a quite tight timeframe for app developers to comply with the full list of notarization requirements.

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