Everything You Need to Know About App Notarization in macOS Catalina

Are you a developer looking to distribute your app on macOS Catalina? If so, you’ve likely heard of app notarization. Not familiar with the term? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about app notarization in macOS Catalina, including its purpose, how it works, and why it’s essential for your app’s success.

What is App Notarization?

App notarization is a process that Apple introduced in macOS Catalina to ensure that all apps meet certain security requirements before they can be run on a user’s machine. As a developer, you must submit your app to Apple for review and notarization before distributing it outside of the Mac App Store. During the notarization process, Apple checks your app for malicious content, code signing issues, and more, ensuring that it meets their security standards.

How Does App Notarization Work?

The app notarization process occurs in two phases: pre-notarization and notarization.

During the pre-notarization phase, you’ll use Xcode to build your app and then create a distribution package using the built-in command-line tool, called “productbuild.” Once you’ve created this package, you’ll submit it to Apple for notarization.

Apple’s notary service will then scan the app for malicious content and code signing issues. If they find any issues, they’ll reject the app and send you an email with details about the problem. You can then address the issues and try again.

If the notary service passes your app, you’ll receive an email from Apple with a ticket that your app has been notarized. You’ll then use the “stapler” command-line tool to staple the ticket to your app in order for it to be considered notarized.

Why is App Notarization Important?

App notarization is essential for your app’s success for several reasons. First and foremost, it ensures that your app is secure and safe to use. With app notarization, users can trust that the app they’re downloading won’t harm their machine or steal their data.

Secondly, notarized apps can run on macOS Catalina without any issues. Apple requires all apps distributed outside of the Mac App Store to be notarized. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in a warning or error message that discourages users from running your app.

Lastly, app notarization can help your app’s visibility on the App Store. Notarized apps are more likely to be featured in the “Apps you might like” section on the App Store, giving your app more exposure to potential customers.

Concluding Thoughts on App Notarization

In conclusion, app notarization in macOS Catalina is a process that ensures all apps meet certain security requirements and can run without any issues on the latest macOS. As a developer, it’s crucial that you notarize your app before distribution. App notarization provides peace of mind to users and can help raise your app’s visibility on the App Store. So, if you’re looking to distribute your app on macOS Catalina, make sure you notarize it first.

FAQs About App Notarization in macOS Catalina

Q: What happens if my app fails notarization?

A: If your app fails the notarization process, Apple will send you an email with details about the issue. You’ll need to address the problem and try notarizing your app again.

Q: How long does the notarization process take?

A: The notarization process typically takes anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the size and complexity of your app.

Q: Do all apps need to be notarized?

A: No, only apps distributed outside of the Mac App Store need to be notarized.

Q: Can I notarize my app if it’s built using a third-party tool?

A: Yes, you can still notarize your app if it’s built using a third-party tool. However, you’ll need to use Xcode’s command-line tools to create a distribution package that can be notarized.

Q: Do notarized apps need to be re-notarized for each update?

A: No, your app only needs to be notarized once. However, if you make significant changes to your app’s functionality or underlying code, you may need to re-notarize it.



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Peter Graham
Peter Graham
Hi there! I'm Peter, a software engineer and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. I have a passion for sharing my knowledge and helping others understand the latest developments in the tech world. When I'm not coding, you can find me hiking or trying out the latest gadgets.


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