I recently got an MacBook Pro running MacOS Big Sur and of course the first thing I went to install was emacs. I tried both using Homebrew and MacPorts to do so. Both of them produce the same pop up error box when starting and refuse to run.

I haven't yet tried building from sources, and will do so if that will solve this issue. However, if there is another solution before I do that, I will apply that. Some setting in the OS I can apply for instance saying "don't check this for malware".

  • What os the exact error text?
    – mmmmmm
    Sep 22, 2021 at 11:22
  • See/use this: github.com/d12frosted/homebrew-emacs-plus. But first - what MBP do you have? with M1 or with Intel?
    – Ian
    Sep 22, 2021 at 14:05
  • The error message was "because Apple cannot check it for malicious software". See the Labview related answer for more of an explanation. Sep 25, 2021 at 10:59
  • Intel MBP (16"). As you can see I found the relevant solution. How to get apps not downloaded from the Apple app store to run. Sep 25, 2021 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


I found a relevant answer on the AskDifferent exchange:

Apps that are not distributed via the AppStore now require Notarization on top of being signed by a paid Apple Developer ID which means the developer must submit their application to Apple for review so that Apple can issue a notarization signature the developer can "staple" apply to the App. Otherwise you will see that warning and the App will not run by default.

To work around the problem: Open the /Applications folder with Finder. Right-click the Emacs application icon and select Open. A dialog will appear and you can allow the App to open. The App might immediately quit, try opening the App normally and this time it should work.

Send an email to the software vendor and ask them to Notarize their App for the newer macOS versions. At some point in the future, Apple may remove the ability to work around running an App that hasn't been notarized.

  • 2
    Should that read "Right-click the Emacs application icon"?
    – NickD
    Sep 22, 2021 at 21:35
  • Yes, fixed thank you. Sep 25, 2021 at 10:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.