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Geeks Union | December 16, 2017

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Mac App Store Sandboxing – Protect You by Isolating The Risky Apps

Mac App Store Sandboxing – Protect You by Isolating The Risky Apps

If you are not a developer, chances are that you wouldn’t even know about Sandboxing. At the same time, if you happen to be a developer, even you could be unaware of how to deal with the issue of sandboxing. For those who don’t have any idea about what I’m talking, and then let me share a piece of news with you. Apple has enforced sandboxing requirements on all the new apps that would be submitted to the Mac app store, starting from June 1, 2012.

For a start, I want to make it clear that it has nothing to do with the cost of apps or use of any third party apps etc; in fact, Apple has taken this step to help its customers. Sandboxing is a technique in which each application runs separately inside an operating system. These running applications neither interfere each other functionality not they affect the operating system functionality in any way. Each application would be allowed resources at the time of start, or you can say that Apple allows them to use the resources. Once allocated; the apps can only access these resources. We can say that these sandboxed apps will be confined to a box with their allocated share of resources and they cannot come out of that box, in any condition. To help the developers about which resources to be allocated to the apps; the apple has supplied a list of entitlements and apps must work under these entitlements.

One of the most important reasons why apple has made sandboxing mandatory for Mac apps is; security. The Mac operating system is really unbreakable; however, apple doesn’t want to leave no stone unturned to make its operating system as the most secure operating system on the planet. These applications that will run in the sandbox would not be able to affect the rest of the system because these apps simply won’t be allowed to access the rest of the system. It can effectively prevent any malware and viruses from entering into the operating system and cause any damage. Also, Mac app store would become one of the safest places to get the apps. Secondly it also prohibits the apps from using any unnecessary system resources thus speeding up the system. However, the sandboxing is applicable to only those apps that are available on Mac app store.

As of now, apple has not put any restrictions on the download of apps outside from its app store. Apple could have taken this extreme step to ban the outside third party apps, but they cannot do that considering the number of users that use the outside apps. However, it leaves a choice to the user; he can choose a safer way and opt for only Mac store apps, or he can choose any other riskier way of outside apps. Apple can make this decision making process easier for people, by making available all the apps that are available elsewhere on the internet.

To sum it up; Sandboxing is really looking a promising development; however, it’s still in the beginning stages, and it seems that Apple is going to make a lot of enhancements and modifications for sandboxing its apps in the near future. Let’s wait and see what’s up their sleeves.


I am not a developer, so the contents of this post were totally new for me. I had only heard about the term 'sandbox' in the context of open world sandbox games. I didn't know that it had a deeper significance.