SPCTL(8) System Manager's Manual SPCTL(8)

spctlSecAssessment system policy security

spctl --assess [-t type] [-] file ...

spctl --status

spctl --allow-disable | --disable-status

spctl manages the security assessment policy subsystem.

This subsystem maintains and evaluates rules that determine whether the system allows the installation, execution, and other operations on files on the system.

spctl requires one command option that determines its principal operation:

--assess
Requests that spctl perform an assessment on the files given.
Reveal the option to allow applications downloaded from anywhere in the Privacy & Security settings pane.
Query whether the option to allow applications downloaded from anywhere in the Privacy & Security settings pane is available.
Query whether the assessment subsystem is enabled or disabled.

In addition, the following options are recognized:

If the assessment of a file fails, continue assessing additional file arguments. Without this option, the first failed assessment terminates operation.
Do not query or use the assessment object cache. This may significantly slow down operation. Newly generated assessments may still be stored in the cache.
Do not place the outcome of any assessments into the assessment object cache. No other assessment may reuse this outcome. This option not prohibit the use of existing cache entries.
When displaying the outcome of an assessment, write it as a "raw" XML plist instead of parsing it in somewhat more friendly form. This is useful when used in scripts, or to access newly invented assessment aspects that spctl does not yet know about.
--type
Specify which type of assessment is desired: execute to assess code execution, install to assess installation of an installer package, and open to assess the opening of documents. The default is to assess execution.
--verbose
Requests more verbose output. Repeat the option or give it a higher numeric value to increase verbosity.

As of MacOS 15.0, operations that modify the rule database or the global state of the assessment subsystem will no longer be supported.

To add rules with configuration profiles, please see https://developer.apple.com/documentation/devicemanagement/systempolicyrule

To modify the global state with configuration profiles, please see https://developer.apple.com/documentation/devicemanagement/systempolicycontrol

Add rule(s) to the system-wide assessment rule database.
Disable one or more rules in the assessment rule database. Disabled rules are not considered when performing assessment, but remain in the database and can be re-enabled later.
Enable rule(s) in the assessment rule database, counteracting earlier disabling.
Disable the assessment subsystem altogether. Operations that would be denied by system policy will be allowed to proceed; assessment APIs always report success. Requires root access.
Enable the assessment subsystem. Operations that are denied by system policy will fail; assessment APIs report the truth. Requires root access.
Remove rule(s) from the assessment rule database.
Unconditionally reset the system policy database to its default value. This discards all changes made by administrators. It also heals any corruption to the database. It does not implicitly either enable or disable the facility. This must be done as the super user. Reboot after use.
In rule update operations, indicates that the arguments are hashes of anchor certificates.
In rule update operations, indicates that the arguments are code directory hashes.
label
Specifies a string label to attach to new rules, or find in existing rules. Labels are arbitrary strings that are assigned by convention. Rule labels are optional.
In rule update operations, indicates that the argument(s) denote paths to files on disk.
priority
In rule update operations, specifies the priority of the rule(s) created or changed. Priorities are floating-point numbers. Higher numeric values indicate higher priority.
In rule update operations, indicates that the argument(s) are code requirement source.
In rule update operations, indicates that the argument(s) are the index numbers of existing rules.

The system assessement rule database contains entries that match candidates based on Code Requirements. spctl allows you to specify these requirements directly using the --requirement option. In addition, individual programs on disk can be addressed with the --path option (which uses their Designated Requirement). The --anchor option takes the hash of a (full) certificate and turns it into a requirement matching any signature based on that anchor certificate. Alternatively, it can take the absolute path of a certificate file on disk, containing the DER form of an anchor certificate. Finally, the --hash option generates a code requirement that denotes only and exactly one program whose CodeDirectory hash is given. The means of specifying subjects does not affect the remaining processing.

/var/db/SystemPolicyConfiguration/SystemPolicy
The system policy database.
/var/db/SystemPolicyConfiguration/.SystemPolicy-default
A copy of the initial distribution version of the system policy database. Useful for starting over if the database gets messed up beyond recognition.

To check whether Mail.app is allowed to run on the local system:

spctl -a /Applications/Mail.app
To check whether the assessment subsystem is enabled:
spctl --status

spctl exits zero on success, or one if an operation has failed. Exit code two indicates unrecognized or unsuitable arguments. If an assessment operation results in denial but no other problem has occurred, the exit code is three. Exit code four indicates the operation is now deprecated.

codesign(1), syspolicyd(1)

The system policy facility and spctl command first appeared in Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3 as a limited developer preview.

January 19, 2012 Mac OS X 12