How to Fix Software Install Issues on a Mac

Introduction

Installing applications is generally a worry free process. This guide will assist you when problems arise installing programs.

Install issues can arise if:

  • There isn't enough free space on the hard drive.
  • There is a network connectivity issue.
  • Gatekeeper is blocking the install.
  • Other software conflicts.
Apple logo

1 Restart

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

2 Check Free Space

  1. Find your drive on your desktop
    Drive icon.
  2. Either Control Click or Right Click on your drive and click Get Info.
    Drive context menu with Get info option selected. Screenshot.
  3. Look for Available space and take note of free space.
    Drive properties with available drive space shown. Screenshot.

    As a general rule of thumb, you want to have around 10 GB available space. If you are trying to install an application, this should be sufficient however some apps (like games) can take in excess of this. Be sure to check the system requirements if you need to.

3 Verify Network Connectivity

Let's verify we have an active network connection.

  1. Click on the WiFi Icon.
    Wi-Fi icon.

  2. Click on Open Network Preferences.
    Wi-Fi options with Open Network Preferences selected. Screenshot.

  3. Any connections with a Green Dot indicates an active connection.
    Network Preferences with green dot next to example connection. Screenshot.

4 Check Gatekeeper

If you get an error when trying to install a program saying it's from an unidentified developer, you may bypass this block using the following steps.
Unidentified developer popup. Screenshot.

To exempt an app from Gatekeeper:

  1. In Finder, Control-click or right click the icon of the app.
  2. Select Open from the top of contextual menu that appears.
    Context menu with Open option selected. Screenshot.
  3. Click Open in the dialog box. If prompted, enter an administrator name and password.
    Prompt with Open button selected. Screenshot.

    Running applications from unidentified developers may end up damaging your computer. Make sure you are downloading the software from the app developer's official website.

5 Attempt install in Safe Mode

  1. Choose Apple menu > Restart....
    Apple menu with Restart option selected. Screenshot.
  2. Immediately press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard.
  3. Release the Shift key when you see the login window.
  4. Attempt to install the troublesome program.
  5. If the program installed correctly then reboot normally by going to the Apple Menu and clicking on Restart.
    Apple menu with Restart option selected.

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Installing applications is generally a worry free process. This guide will assist you when problems arise installing programs.

Install issues can arise if:

  • There isn't enough free space on the hard drive.
  • There is a network connectivity issue.
  • Gatekeeper is blocking the install.
  • Other software conflicts.
Apple logo
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Find your drive on your desktop
    Drive icon.
  2. Either Control Click or Right Click on your drive and click Get Info.
    Drive context menu with Get info option selected. Screenshot.
  3. Look for Available space and take note of free space.
    Drive properties with available drive space shown. Screenshot.

    As a general rule of thumb, you want to have around 10 GB available space. If you are trying to install an application, this should be sufficient however some apps (like games) can take in excess of this. Be sure to check the system requirements if you need to.

Let's verify we have an active network connection.

  1. Click on the WiFi Icon.
    Wi-Fi icon.

  2. Click on Open Network Preferences.
    Wi-Fi options with Open Network Preferences selected. Screenshot.

  3. Any connections with a Green Dot indicates an active connection.
    Network Preferences with green dot next to example connection. Screenshot.

If you get an error when trying to install a program saying it's from an unidentified developer, you may bypass this block using the following steps.
Unidentified developer popup. Screenshot.

To exempt an app from Gatekeeper:

  1. In Finder, Control-click or right click the icon of the app.
  2. Select Open from the top of contextual menu that appears.
    Context menu with Open option selected. Screenshot.
  3. Click Open in the dialog box. If prompted, enter an administrator name and password.
    Prompt with Open button selected. Screenshot.

    Running applications from unidentified developers may end up damaging your computer. Make sure you are downloading the software from the app developer's official website.

  1. Choose Apple menu > Restart....
    Apple menu with Restart option selected. Screenshot.
  2. Immediately press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard.
  3. Release the Shift key when you see the login window.
  4. Attempt to install the troublesome program.
  5. If the program installed correctly then reboot normally by going to the Apple Menu and clicking on Restart.
    Apple menu with Restart option selected.
  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences selected. Screenshot.
  2. Click Users & Groups.
    System Preferences with Users and Groups selected. Screenshot.
  3. Click the lock icon to unlock it, then enter an administrator name and password.
    Lock icon. 
  4. Click the Add button below the list of users.
    Add icon.
    New user setup screen. Screenshot.
  5. Click the New Account pop-up menu, then choose Administrator.
  6. Enter a full name for the new user. An account name is generated automatically. To use a different account name, enter it now as you can’t change it later.
  7. Enter a password for the user, then enter it again to verify. Enter a password hint to help the user remember their password.
  8. Click Create User.
  9. Click the user you just created.
  10. Depending on the type of user you create, you can also do any of the following:
    • For an administrator, select “Allow user to administer this computer.
    • For a child or other managed user, select “Enable parental controls.” Click Open Parental Controls, then set up restrictions for the user.
    • Use Sharing preferences to specify whether the user can share your files and share your screen.
  11. The new user is now ready to be used. Log off and then log back in to get started.
  12. Attempt to install the application using the new user profile.
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