Application error message

OSX Daily is reporting that some users are getting a message from some apps and the reason is unclear why this is happening. At least the fix is fairly simple.

An unusual and rare Mac error may come across for some MacOS users when using BBEdit, or perhaps even other apps, that says “The application appears to have been tampered with.” This appears to be some variation of the “app is damaged and can’t be opened” error message that some Mac users may occasionally see.

If you experience this error message, or one like it, you can usually fix the problem relatively easily.

Hmm. The “fix” seems to be to just delete and reinstall the affected application. But there’s no explanation of what is going wrong. I wonder if SSD errors could cause this by corrupting the binaries.

I’m thinking it has more to do with permissions on some of the files that make up the application. By re-installing the app, the files are laid down with the correct permissions again. Apple has been very aggressive in locking down as much as it can to remain a secure operating system.


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So how would the permissions on files become corrupted over time? It would seem unlikely that could happen accidentally in the course of normal system operations.

I wasn’t thinking that the file permissions were corrupted - just more stringent. I believe that the MacOS uses essentially UNIX file / folder permissions which can get complicated sometimes - especially when modifying just one of the permission bits.


Yes, I’m well aware of unix file permissions, and the ones you referenced are the SIMPLE ones! There’s also the added layer of ACLs (access control lists) which can greatly complicate file access. From File System Basics

Access to files and directories is governed by a mixture of access control lists (ACLs) and BSD permissions. Access control lists are a set of fine-grained controls that define exactly what can and cannot be done to a file or directory and by whom. With access control lists, you can grant individual users different levels of access to a given file or directory. By contrast, BSD permissions only allow you to give access to three classes of users: the file’s owner, a single group of users that you specify, and all users. See Security Overview for more information.

Not especially smart, just 30 years of unix experience. Though none with Mac OS. But regardless of how complex MacOS file access permissions are, I still don’t know why they might get corrupted for some Apps.

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