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Some Mac apps crashed this weekend because of expired certificates

Why it matters to you

Did some of your Mac apps fail to launch over the weekend? You may need to download an update.

Changes to Mac app certificates over the weekend caused several apps to fail to launch or crash but developers have begun issuing the necessary updates.

Of the affected apps, the developers said that the crashing was caused by the code-signing certificates expiring. The malfunction only affected Mac apps that were not downloaded directly from the App Store as these apps are certified in a different way, according to a report from MacRumors. These certificates are intended to verify an app (that’s not from the Mac App Store) as legitimate and safe to use.

These issues appear to have been caused by a “provisioning profile.” This profile is used by the app to inform MacOS that it is a legit app and has been certified. When an app developer’s code-signing certificate expires, so too does the provisioning profile.

This is a relatively new protocol. Previously apps would not be affected by a certificated expiration if they had already been downloaded and were in use. However, last year, Apple made it a requirement that all apps have provisioning profiles. This means developers need to keep up to speed with their certs.

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Password manager 1Password was one of the many apps that were affected over the weekend. AgileBits, its developer, issued a warning to users that they would need to manually update the app.

“As you might imagine, we have a whole new level of understanding of the importance of expiring provisioning profiles and certificates. Our new certificate expires in 2022 but I can guarantee you we will be renewing it far before then,” said AgileBits CEO Jeff Shiner.

Soulver, another app that crashed because of the issue, sent out an update to users as well. If you were having any problems with other Mac apps over the last few days, check with the developers to see if they have issued an update that you may need to download.