Mac OS X Yosemite Quarantine issues and workaround…

Getting bored of having to do stuff like this, both at work and play.

Many useful Mac apps still come in from places on the Internet OTHER THAN the Mac App Store.  This might be news to the boffins at Apple, but there you go.  This can cause problems at a user-level, where we end up with warning messages like these every time we try and start an installed application:

“xxxxxxxxxx” is an application downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it?

AAAAAAAARGHH!  OF COURSE I want to open it! I installed it! I even used my Admin rights to move it to my Applications folder, and it’s been there for months, perhaps years! So quit telling me about this every time I open it!

Okay, chill, breathe, take your meds, it’s time to fix this.  Again, Google to the rescue, and I found a lot of people have been having this kind of issue since Lion.  I have to admit I’ve managed to not have it bite me or my pool of users in the bum at all, (except on first-use of the application, which is fine, because that’s all it needs) until Yosemite.  And specifically, Yosemite’s 10.10.2 point-release.  Ugh.

In all cases, people have reported general success by many sledgehammer-to-crack-walnut means, mostly by turning security and quarantine features off.  I prefer not to do that, so I much enjoyed the more fine-grained solution found here.  Not sure how it’ll work as apps get upgraded, but even if it needs redoing at this point, it’s better than being prompted every time I open an app I regularly use!

So, rather than rewording, I’ll quote D. W. Hoard’s words from his article (linked above):

The quarantine flag can be removed from files or applications that are already downloaded, without completely disabling the quarantine mechanism, by using the following command:

xattr -d com.apple.quarantine /PATH/TO/APPLICATION

A slight shortcut is to type everything up to the path (including the trailing space) in a Terminal window, then drag the desired application or file from a Finder window into the Terminal window, which will automatically paste in the full path to the application or file. If you perform this process using an Administrator account, then the quarantine will be permanently removed for all users on the same computer, regardless of the Administrator privilege level of their accounts.

Oh gosh, I had a horrible thought… it reminds me of the dark days of MS Vista… 😮

Installing Mavericks or Yosemite on Mac laptop after battery failure

Had a number of issues with installing Mavericks or Yosemite on Macs that have had a dead battery.  By “dead” I mean, either run flat and left in a cupboard or on a desk for a week or more before we’ve got around to rebuilding them, or where the battery itself has died and needed replacing, before the software is rebuilt.

Each time we’ve had to do it, we’ve ended up scratching heads and usually ended up simply cloning a hard drive from a working machine.  Today, I had some time waiting for other tasks to complete, and managed to hit up Google for some research, one common thread hit me…

When a laptop battery dies, chances are that if you leave it long enough, any onboard backup battery for CMOS/BIOS/PRAM/NVRAM or whatever other backed up settings, and the onboard realtime clock, will eventually go flat too.

Usually the first sign on replacement or recharge is that the date and time are wrong.  So the first thing a Mac can do is either prompt the user that the date and time are wrong and need resetting, or if it’s already online it can contact an NTP server and correct itself.  But when you’re installing from scratch, it does neither of those things.  In fact, it doesn’t even show you what the date and time are, unless you go well out of your way and ask it.  So the first sign that something’s wrong at this stage is that you get an error message, like:

  • “An Error occurred while preparing the installation.  Try running this application again.”
  • “This copy of the Install OS X Yosemite application can’t be verified. It may have been corrupted or tampered with during downloading.”

The fix, to get an install going here this afternoon, was easy:

  1. Get the installer booting, either from an external USB drive, or from Target Disk Mode from another working Mac.
  2. Once the installer is loaded and showing you the main menu, you should be able to see the “Utilities” menu. Click on it, and go to “Terminal”.
  3. Check the current date and time from your watch or another machine/clock/device of your choice.  Convert it to the following numeric format, so that 6:15pm on 4th December 2014 becomes 120418152014, following the mmddHHMMyyyy format.
  4. Type the following into “Terminal”:  date {mmddHHMMyyyy string above, without these funny brackets}
  5. Press enter, if you haven’t done so already.

Date and time should now be accepted, and Terminal will confirm this.  If you did it correctly, the installers should now work without either of those errors.  Worked like a charm here!

Without Google, and particularly its quick realisation that I needed to be looking here, I’d never have even thought to check something like that, to get something like an installer going!