Get your macOS applications ready for notarization with 4D

Catalina (macOS 10.15) is now available and Apple has announced that the notarization of software distributed outside of the App Store has become a requirement. This may raise a few questions: what if my 4D application isn’t notarized? Will I be able to notarize it? How? Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered and this blog post provides the answers.

Notarization: a safer Mac user experience

In the past few years, Apple has taken measures to protect users from malicious software. This has resulted in new obligations for software distributed on or outside of the App Store, whether downloaded from the internet or directly from the developer’s website. When installing or launching the software for the first time, a confirmation request is displayed and unsigned software requires specific user action before the software can be used.

optional with Mojave

Beginning with Mojave (MacOS 10.14), Apple introduced a new concept: notarization. Developers were encouraged to submit their software to Apple for a security check and once it’d been proved to be free of any malicious content, it was notarized. Users launching the software for the first time were informed that Apple certified that it’s harmless.

Mandatory with Catalina

With Catalina, notarization has become a requirement for any software distributed on or outside of the App Store. This means that, by default, any unnotarized software will display a warning message and be blocked when launched. Users will still be able to force the software to open via the System Preferences panel or using Ctrl+Click on the application file from the Finder, but this is not recommended by Apple.

Updated built-in signature process with 4D v18

In order to be qualified for notarization, applications must meet specific conditions, mostly related to signature. All components must be signed, include a secure timestamp, and Hardened Runtime capability must be enabled. This means that the application’s capabilities are clearly defined. In 4D v18, we’ve updated our built-in signature features in order to meet all of Apple’s requirements. In particular, signature is now recursive. Even though the new signature requirements won’t take effect until February 2020, you can notarize applications built and signed with 4D v18! 

The notarization process requires you to submit your application to Apple and is conducted outside of 4D. We’ll soon give you tips on the easiest way to proceed, in the meantime, refer to Apple official documentation for more details.

Thomas Maul
• VP of Strategy, 4D Product Line •When 4D's German subsidiary was created in 1988, Thomas joined the company as a Technical Director, helping to build the 4D developer community in both Germany and Austria. After many years supporting customers with technical problems and being increasingly involved in sales and management issues, he was promoted to Managing Director for 4D Germany in 1999.As a member of the executive board since 2005, he became part of worldwide strategy of the company, leading to his current position as Vice President of Strategy, 4D Product Line, responsible for defining and executing the overall strategy for the 4D product line in relation to the Program, R&D, Sales and Marketing teams.