Did your Mac have trouble launching third-party apps? Maybe it was a server problem.
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2 min read
This story originally appeared on Engadget
For about half an hour, starting at 4:00 p.m. EST, Mac users around the world who tried to open third-party apps suddenly noticed strange problems and slow starts, with the software bouncing in its dock for minutes or not fully starting could.
The problems persisted whether or not they were upgraded to the new macOS version of Big Sur. Based on some tests, the problem appears to be due to Apple's Gatekeeper technology, which is used to determine whether or not software is safe to use. The system was introduced as part of the release of Mountain Lion 10.8 in 2012.
Mac and iOS developer Jeff Johnson confirmed that the operating system was having problems connecting to an Apple server and that blocking it by editing the hosts file solved the problem. The problem now seems to be fixed, but as TechCrunch points out, the servers may be overloaded when users upgraded to Big Sur and suddenly flooded it with requests to reauthorize older apps.
We contacted Apple to see if they knew exactly what happened. However, we have not yet received a response. On its system status page for developers, Apple confirmed that it fixed an issue with the Notary Service between 3:00 pm and 5:09 pm ET.
On its Gatekeeper support page, Apple explains how the technology works with the macOS Catalina update:
“If you download and install apps from the Internet or directly from a developer, macOS continues to protect your Mac. When you install Mac apps, plug-ins, and installation packages from outside the App Store, macOS checks the developer ID signature to make sure that the software is from an identified developer and has not been modified. By default, macOS Catalina also requires software to be notarized, so you can be sure that the software running on your Mac doesn't contain any known malware. Before opening any downloaded software for the first time, macOS will ask for your consent to ensure that you are not misled into running software that you did not expect. "
For your information, something seems to be going on when the super sluggish app is just starting up. It doesn't just seem us. We'll check it out! https://t.co/RZduhcBwiX
– Panic (@panic) November 12, 2020