How to Download & Install Apps on Mac not from App Store

The macOS App Store makes installing apps quick, easy, and secure. But sometimes you may want to install apps on your Mac without using the App Store. Maybe the app you want isn’t available in the App Store. Or if it is, you might want to download a version that you can only get directly from the official website.  


Whatever your reason for using apps without the App Store, you should also think about your security. In the past, even apps from the App Store have been found to contain malware, but non-App Store apps are a greater risk and could potentially result in compatibility issues too.  


In this article, you’ll learn how to download apps on Mac not from the App Store safely—read on our hints.


Before we begin


If you’re going to download software not from the App Store, it’s a good idea to have antivirus installed. As well as a range of optimization, cleaning, and privacy tools, MacKeeper offers on-demand and real-time antivirus protection.


Before you open any downloaded apps, scan them with MacKeeper’s Antivirus.

  1. In MacKeeper, select Antivirus
  2. Click Start scan
  3. If MacKeeper finds any malware, select it from the list
  4. Click Move to quarantine.

Try it today to see what it can do.

How to download apps from anywhere on Mac

Apple has all kinds of rules about what apps are and aren’t allowed in the App Store. These are to protect users and make sure quality remains high. If apps don’t meet these requirements, or the developers don’t want to be in the store, you can still get their apps. You can download them directly from developers’ official websites or from other trusted sites.


Here are just a few popular apps you can get outside the App Store:

Once you’ve downloaded apps for your Mac, how do you actually install them? Let’s take a look now.

How to install software on Mac not from App Store

Once you’ve downloaded an app from outside the App Store, installing it is usually simple. Sometimes, they include an installer, but most of the time, you simply have to drag the app or folder to your Applications folder.  


Follow these steps to install a non-App Store app:

  1. Download an app from a developer’s website or another trusted site
  2. Use MacKeeper to check the file for viruses
  3. If it’s a zip file, double-click it to open it. If it’s a DMG, double-click so it mounts in Finder. Drag the app to Applications
  4. If you have a PKG installer, double-click it to run it and install the app.
If you still need to download the app not from the App Store, our experts recommend you use MacKeeper’s Antivirus to scan it before the installation. For this, add items to scan and click on Start Scan in the MacKeeper app.
Step 1. Run Antivirus scan in MacKeeper to scan dowloaded .dmg file
If this downloaded file you need to install on your Apple computer is an app in a zip file, ensure to drag it to the Applications folder when the corresponding window appears on your screen.
Step 2. Install the app
While extracting the app got not from the App Store, you may also see the warning message ‘This package will run the program…’ asking your permission to proceed further. Click on the Allow button to run and install the app
Step 3. Run the application

Hint from our team


Apple has become a lot stricter about third-party software in newer versions of macOS. If you’re running Sierra, High Sierra, Catalina, Mojave, Big Sur, Monterey, or Ventura, you’ll have to take extra steps to run apps that aren’t from the App Store or an identified developer.  

How to allow apps downloaded from anywhere on Mac

Installing apps without the App Store is easy, but macOS’s Gatekeeper feature will stop them from running unless you allow downloaded apps to start. You can do this on a case-by-case basis or just allow downloaded apps to run. Up until Ventura, you just had to go into System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General, and select Anywhere under All apps downloaded from.  


The option to allow downloaded apps has been removed in Ventura, and you’ll need to use Terminal to turn it back on:

  1. Shut down System Settings if it’s open
  2. Go to Applications > Utilities, and open Terminal
  3. Enter sudo spctl --master-disable, and press Return
  4. Enter your admin password, and press Return
  5. Open System Settings. Select the Anywhere option under Allow applications downloaded from.
As your second step to cope with the new app’s permissions, navigate to Terminal from your Applications folder > Utilities. While the Terminal app is found here, double-click to open it.
Step 1. Open Terminal
In the Terminal app, enter the command sudo spctl --master-disable and press Return to change the permissions for the app downloaded from anywhere on your Mac
Step 2. Run the sudo spctl --master-disable command in Terminal
Now, after entering the command, confirm the action with your password and press Return once again. Wait until the changes are made, and then exit the Terminal app
Step 3. Enter the admin password when prompted
Now get back to the Mac’s System Settings for the final move. Choose the Anywhere option under Allow applications downloaded from and exit.
Step 4. Allow applications downloaded from Anywhere

How to open apps on Mac not from App Store

Even if you don’t allow downloaded apps in System Settings, you can still run individual downloaded apps. Your Mac or MacBook may ask you to confirm that you want to run an unverified app, or it might block it—in which case, you’ll need to open the app in a different way.  


Follow these steps to run individual non-App Store apps:

  1. Double-click an unverified app. If it asks Are you sure you want to open it?, click Open
  2. If that’s not an option, you’ll be asked to move the app to your trash or cancel opening it. Click Cancel
  3. Instead, go to System Settings > Privacy & Security. Scroll down until you see a message about the app being blocked, click Open Anyway, and enter your admin password. In the pop-up, click Open
  4. Or, instead of going to System Settings, right-click the app, and select Open
  5. You’ll now see the same pop-up. Click Open to run the app.
If you want to launch apps on Mac not from App Store, double-click the app of your choice, and while seeing the confirmation message ‘This app is downloaded from the Internet,’ click Open.
Step 1. Open the app
After you confirmed your opening intention, in some cases, macOS can send you another notification claiming that ‘It cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified.’ If so, you have only two options—move it to bin or cancel. Choose the latter.
Step 2. Click Cancel if it doesn't allow you to open the app
To find the alternative way to open the app downloaded on your Macbook from the internet, go to System Settings > Privacy & Security. Find the message about the app being blocked and click on the Open Anyway button. 
Step 3. Go to System Settings > Privacy & Security
Another method you can try to open the app that cannot be opened because of the developer’s restrictions is to go to System Settings, right-click the app, and select Open.
Step 4. Right-click on the app and click Open
Now you’ll be asked again whether you want to open the app. In this pop-up message, choose the Open option to proceed further
Step 5. Click Open on the pop that appeared.

From now on, you can simply open the app as normal, and you won’t get any warnings about it.  

How to uninstall software on Mac not from App Store

Whether you install apps from the App Store or from an external website, the uninstall process is the same. If the app has its own folder and an uninstall file, run that. Otherwise, delete the app from the Applications folder—drag it to your trash and then empty it.  


However, deleted apps sometimes leave behind files in other parts of your Mac. You can find and manually remove leftovers, but it takes time. If you want to know how to delete all application files on Mac, check out our guide, but you can save time by removing apps with MacKeeper. As well as deleting apps, it prevents files from being left behind.  

  1. Select Smart Uninstaller in MacKeeper. Click Start scan
  2. When the scan is finished, select the app you want to delete, and click Remove selected
  3. In the pop-up, click Remove.
To delete the software not from App Store on your Mac, use MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller. Open our app, choose Smart Uninstaller on the left, and click Start Scan
Step 1. Start scan in Smart Uninstaller
In the MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller app, select the Applications category, find the app you want to delete, tick the corresponding box, and click on Remove Selected. 
Step 2. Select the needed app and click Remove selected
The MacKeeper app will send you the confirmation pop-up ‘Are you sure…?’ React to it by clicking on the Remove button.
Step 3. Click on Remove to confirm

Our app will be deleted cleanly from your Mac, without any leftovers.  

Be safe with non-App Store apps

There are many great apps that aren’t in the App Store—but be careful. Make sure you download them from official websites, scan everything you download with MacKeeper’s Antivirus, and be sure to delete apps with MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller when you don’t need them anymore. Also, check out our guide on how to update Mac apps and macOS for more information.  


If you can find the apps you need in the App Store, then get them from there. Otherwise, be on your toes, and you should be okay.  

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