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Many Mac users download bundled updates or other software package files to install them on multiple computers, thus avoiding updating in the Mac App Store. This is especially common with Mac administrators, so it makes more sense to download a single package update or installer once and share it over the network, or perhaps install it manually via a USB drive. There is nothing wrong with this approach, and in fact it is much more powerful in multi-Mac management, but one potential hiccup arrives when the package installer or update file has an expired certificate, which prevents the package from being installed completely. a situation that becomes apparent when you receive the error message “(application installer) was signed with an expired certificate”.
To avoid this situation, you can check the signatures of the packages themselves and see if they are valid, expired, or even if they have no signature at all.
How to check package signature status in Mac OS X with pkgut account
The excellent pkgutil command-line utility can easily determine the signature and certificate status of any package. It’s easy to use, so launch Terminal from / Applications / Utilities / and try for yourself.
The basic syntax used to check the status of a package signature is:
pkgutil – check signature /Path/to/Example.pkg
Click return to find out if the signature is valid, if the signature has expired, or if there is no signature at all.
For example, suppose we have the Mac OS X Combo Update installation package, which is a common scenario for updating sysadmins on multiple Macs, you can check the signature status of that package by following these steps:
pkgutil –check-signature ~ / Downloads / OSXUpdateCombo10.10.2.pkgPackage “OSXUpdateCombo10.10.2.pkg”: Status: signed certificate that has expired
In this case, the update package signature has expired, which means that it will cause an error if you try to use it.
However, not all package installers have signatures, and while all Apple software update files are, third-party packages are not. For example, in this example, the package installation file does not have a signature and should be handled properly (that is, if you do not trust the source, you may want to reconsider using it).
pkgutil check signature ~ / Downloads / MysterySketchyInstaller-21.pkgPackage “MysterySketchyInstaller-21.pkg”: Status: no signature
If the package file is suspicious, you can check the code signature and decrypt the package without installing it with pkgutil to check it, or if you want to use a graphical user interface, an application like Pacifist offers similar package management tools in a friendlier format, even if it’s still on the advanced side.
Like all good command line tools, you can even enter pkgutil wildcards to check multiple packages at once, in this example we will check the signature of each * .pkg file in the ~ / Downloads file:
pkgutil check signature ~ / Downloads / *. pkgPackage “irssi-0.8.17-0.pkg”: Status: no signature
Package “wget-4.8.22-0.pkg”: Status: no signature
Package “ComboUpdateOSXElCapitan.pkg”: Status: signed certificate that has expired
Package “InstallOSXSequoiaBeta.pkg”: Status: valid
Package “HRFDeveloperTools.pkg”: Status: valid
Wildcards make the certificate status of several different package files a quick job, just make sure you set the process to end * .pkg without stopping on a file that is not an identified package.
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