2 min read

Ever increasing security noise in macOS

Apple’s mission to make the Mac safer is slowly destroying it
Overzealous security measures are ruining the simplicity of the macOS experience.

One of the best things Apple did with iOS was tightly controlling permissions and capabilities of apps at a system level and granting the user the ability to control them in a consistent and understandable way.

They've gradually increased this over the years and it has become a bit more annoying, but overall - I don't think it's too bad even for the average user.

However, Apple have been on a mission over the last decade to bring this model over to macOS. Not a bad idea in principle, in fact it's a great idea, but the problem is this is a system being retrofit to a decades old desktop operating system in a way that feels disproportionately hostile to the user experience.

Every time I opened an app on my Mac after starting from scratch or migrating or installing a major OS update, I was barraged with security warnings. This is because Mac apps can’t do much of anything (outside a very constrained sandbox) unless they ask the user for permission. So, if an app wants to read files on my Desktop, there’s a permission request. Documents folder? Another permission request? Use my microphone or video camera? Permission request. Reading random files and folders? Reading the disk? Using accessibility features? Using automation? Yep, yep, yep.

So this is what we are seeing increasingly, it's just noise. You know what average users do with these prompts when they get too noisy? They just approve them without stopping to consider what it means. You're training users to just click approve to any annoying pop-up that appear.

I'm in agreement with Jason's assessment here, it's incredibly annoying and even as someone that considers themselves reasonably conscious of what my apps want to do, what they should do, and what I want them to do - it's getting too much for me. I'm sure I've just clicked past the noise on a fair few occasions despite knowing the potential ramifications.