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MacOS Sierra – no need to pay US$50 to run any app

Microsoft's Windows 10 S is meant to be a safer version of Windows, given to OEMs to make lower-cost Windows devices, but if you want to run all Windows apps, prepare to pay.

Initial reactions that Windows 10 S is an OS designed to force safety from dangerous malware, rootkits and apps developers haven't bothered submitting into the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 are correct.

It's an attempt to re-create Apple's walled garden approach so successful on its iOS, tvOS and watchOS devices – iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, Apple TV and Apple Watch.

In that environment, there are no options – unless you jailbreak, in which case there's a world of unauthorised software and options available to you. No-one has ever bothered to jailbreak a Windows device because there's simply no point, and no advantage in doing so.

That said, I think someone did jailbreak Windows RT at some point, but that OS was such a disaster that even Microsoft disowned itself from Windows RT by ceasing to support it.

Second, while Microsoft has the chutzpah to charge a ridiculous US$50 fee – which will probably be close to a highway robbery fee of $100 for Australians, Apple has no fee to allow people to download macOS apps from the Internet and run them on their MacOS computers.

Yes, that's right – there is a walled garden on macOS, but you can jump over it without charge, by flicking a switch.

Yet, when Microsoft copies Apple, it always does so poorly, and always requires shills to say how wonderful Windows is.

All you need to do to run any macOS app from an identified developer that isn’t in the Mac App Store on any MacOS computer is to go into the Apple System Preferences, where you can elect to have the innovative Mac Gatekeeper function turned on – or just as easily off.

If you want if off so you can run any macOS app that you please, simply Launch System Preferences from the Apple menu. Choose “Security & Privacy” and then click the “General” tab, followed by clicking the lock icon in the corner to unlock the settings. You’ll need to type in your macOS password. Then Look for “Allow applications downloaded from” and choose “App Store and indentified developers“.

Want to run macOS apps from unidentified developers?

Also easy.

macOS Sierra has additional protections, but to run apps from any developer, simply:

  1. Open a Finder window and head to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  2. Run the following command in the Terminal window and provide your password:
    sudo spctl --master-disable

Now have you activated the option of "Anywhere" in System Preferences as described above.

The instructions again:

  1. Open the System Preferences. This can be done by either clicking on the System Preferences icon in the Dock or by going to Apple Menu > System Preferences.

  2. Open the Security & Privacy pane by clicking Security & Privacy.

  3. Make sure that the General tab is selected. Click the icon labeled Click the lock to make changes.

  4. Enter your username and password into the prompt that appears and click Unlock.

  5. Under the section labeled Allow applications downloaded from:, select Anywhere. On the prompt that appears, click Allow From Anywhere.


That’s it!

No US$50 payments required, and if you want to swap between the two ways of running macOS, you can.

Sadly, with Windows 10 S, once you pay the US$50 to transform it into Windows 10 Pro, that's it. You're stuck. You can't go back. You're locked out of Microsoft's flimsy, walled garden forever.

Talk about a sick joke on users! Windows 10 users wish that Windows 10 Home/Pro had an option switch like that, but sadly, it doesn't.

Maybe Microsoft will come to its senses and allow this in Windows 10 S 2. Or Windows 11 S.

Naturally, there is no hidden agenda to make Apple even richer – Apple's mission has been to provide a safe and secure environment from day one, long having dominated the education market from its Apple II days, and being the computer of choice for many parents and children.

No need to worry about nasty malware or ransomware on a Mac. Of course, if you venture into pirate software territory, and provide your password to any app you try to install that asks for it, sure – you can get malware on a Mac.

But stick to Gatekeeper macOS App Store approved apps, or apps from identified developers, which is the vast majority of them, and you'll never need to worry.

Then we get to Microsoft's Windows 10 menu. Why couldn't Microsoft provide a true blend of Windows 7 Start Menu, and Windows 10 Start Menu? You need a great, free piece of software called the Classic Shell to do that. Sadly you won't be able to run in on Windows 10 S anytime soon, I suspect – will Microsoft ever permit this invaluable app into its store?

You can configure the menu to look like that from Windows 95, XP or WIndows 7. It is ultimately customisable in a way that puts Microsoft to shame. There is even a button to go straight to the Windows 10 Menu, giving end users — the customer who is always right — the best of both worlds.

Even though Microsoft knew that "Changing the menu is suicide", the damn fools did it, and then provided no option to change it short of running third party software.

When it comes to WIndows 10 S, my colleague Ray Shaw asks "how comprehensive is the Windows Store?"

That is, indeed, a key question. He answers it himself in his article "Windows 10 S – for Store" – and I urge you to read it

The reality is that developers will now be forced to quickly convert their apps to run in the Windows Store, and guess what? This is a great thing.

It's probably the best thing Microsoft has done to ensure that its Windows Store is stocked with as many apps as possible, both from the Metro Tablet side of the fence, and from the traditional x86 desktop app side of the fence.

No doubt Microsoft will charge its Windows Store cut, too. Why not, it has been so successful for Apple and Apple developers, with billions upon billions of dollars shared with Apple developers.

As Shaw states, "The real test will be if Microsoft is up to running a store as well as Apple."

Well, if you're just trying to copy Apple, why bother with the forgers?

Go with the real thing.

That said, Apple has had complaints about the macOS App Store.

An article from Jan 2016 in CIO magazine asks "When will Apple fix the Mac App Store?"

There are even developers who have left that macOS App Store, as you can read here from Sketchapp.

But developers who leave the macOS App Store aren't punished - they just make their apps available to download by any Mac owner who understands how to allow their Mac to run any app, as described above.

There is no US$50 unlock fee required.

Apple also made major positive changes to its App Stores at last year's WWDC, which you can read about in DaringFireball here.

No doubt even more positive changes will be made at this year's 2017 Apple WWDC (worldwide developers conference), which is always sold out.

And, as seen with the revelations about the upcoming new MacPro – Apple listens. Sure, sometimes it takes its time. But the company does listen to its customers, and makes changes, removes limitations, and is the world's most popular consumer electronics company as a result, with a massive US$250 billion war chest to advance everything Apple to the next level. 

Microsoft just hopes more people don't hate it on a daily basis. 

So where you have Microsoft making artificial limitations and having the audacity to charge you money so you can do away with these limitations, macOS Sierra and previous versions have not hobbled its users in this way.

Go on defending Microsoft, or get a Mac and be free to legally run any operating system you want, whether virtually or natively.

It's something a Windows PC just cannot legally do – you cannot run macOS legally on a PC, even though this is due to Apple having some standards and not lowering itself to Microsoft's gutter. 

Macs give you freedom.

Windows gives you limitations, and if you bust through them and pay to be unlimited, you get unlimited amounts of malware ready to menace you at a moment’s notice.

It's your choice!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.