Using Unsigned Max Externals on Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina)

    The release of Mac OS 10.15 (aka Catalina) has brought increased security settings that may prevent the loading of unsigned 3rd party externals. On Mac OS 10.15, when a file like this is downloaded from the web, it is marked with via extended file attributes (xattrs), which then prevents loading in Max. The longer term solution will be for third party developers to sign their externals, however there are many safe-to-use externals that are no longer in active development, but still relied on by many. In the meantime, there are several workarounds that can be used. All of these options involve bypassing Apple’s security infrastructure, so make sure you have downloaded the externals from a trusted source.
    The current best option is to run Terminal’s ‘xattr’ utility using the ‘-d’ option to remove the ‘’ xattr entirely. Open the Terminal utility and type: xattr -d [path/to/extern.mxo]
    If you have a number of externals that you wish to perform this on, you can use the ‘-r’ option to the xattr command, which acts recursively on a directory or bundle. Open the Terminal utility and type: xattr -d -r [path/to/extern/directory]
    In an upcoming version of Max, we hope to add better notification when the xattr is present on a file that Max attempts to load, and will be exploring other options for improvements in this area.
    Please note that the "right-click" to overcome Gatekeeper no longer appears to work on 10.15+.

    • Feb 16 2020 | 7:25 pm
      This is not working I've tried several times and still have program error thtis is the error list, what can I do?
    • Feb 22 2020 | 11:18 pm
      Has anyone had this work on their Catalina machines? It hasn't worked on mine either. Thank you.
    • Feb 24 2020 | 11:45 am
      Open the Terminal utility and type: sudo xattr -rd / Your software can pull the mxo. file into the terminal )
    • Mar 03 2020 | 11:08 am
      xattr: /Users/josemanuelberenguer/Documents/Max 8/Library/iCube_Max-410_macos: No such xattr:
    • Mar 03 2020 | 3:45 pm
      Pulling the .mxo file into the terminal itself did the trick, thank you!
    • Mar 13 2020 | 11:48 pm
      How do I pull the .mxo file into the terminal? Thanks!!
    • Mar 14 2020 | 12:42 pm
      Drag the object into the terminal window. It will show you the right path.
    • Mar 14 2020 | 4:07 pm
      Thanks a lot MP the thingis that I can’t find the object or .mxo file in my Mac anywhere. I had already deactivated the quarantine in my Macbook and the Max 8 app is opening fine, but when I try to open it in Ableton through Preferences->File/Folder->Max app my Ableton closes/crashes instantly. I don’t know if it’s still because of Catalina
    • Mar 15 2020 | 12:00 pm
      Hello... I've sucessfully used the xattr -d and xattr -d -r commands to cancel the quarantine flag of some third party externals or folders. Nevertheless, some of them (as "shell" external, revised some years ago by Jeremy Bernstein) resists this command and max refuses to load them due to security policy. This is because I tried xatter -c. It works when Max is open during the execution on the terminal. If max is closed, when opening it after the execution of the command, max doesn't accept to instantiate shell. The quarantine atribute seems hasn't been completely removed.
      Any Ideas about what to do in such cases? Many thanks!
      All the best
      José Manuel Berenguer
    • Mar 15 2020 | 3:25 pm
      After trying individual to remove the quarantine on individual files I took the nuclear option. This cleared up everything for me:
      sudo xattr -rd /Applications/
    • Mar 15 2020 | 3:41 pm
      Many thanks ... Tried it. Unfortunately it does not apply to "shell" in my system ....
    • Mar 15 2020 | 4:29 pm
      Bummer. I'd experiment with running the command on increasingly higher directories containing those files.
    • Mar 16 2020 | 2:12 pm
      you have to run that command on the directory where your shell external is stored. shell is not a factory external, and therefore won't be in the Max app, but in some other directory in your Max search path.
    • Mar 23 2020 | 12:08 pm
      Max 8.1.2 was working fine. I just updated to 8.1.3 and now I'm getting a bunch of errors (see attached). If this was a catalina issue, shouldn't I have seen this issue with 8.1.2 as well?
      I tried the nuclear option as described above and that worked for me as well.
    • Apr 01 2020 | 6:10 am
      I have tried everything now but it does not work there is someone who can explain to me exactly which commands I have to execute in the terminal of Catalina
    • Apr 01 2020 | 10:53 am
      in terminal type: sudo xattr -rd add space at the end ! drop directory to remove hit enter, type admin password, enter. or type : sudo xattr -rd ~/ hit enter, type admin password, enter. that would wipe all xattributes in the current user directory. ---------- there is nothing wrong removing ALL xattributes from the user directory sudo xattr -cr ~/ ---- Permanent freedom from apple restrictions would be to deactivate SIP and disable gatekeeper all together and finally stop updating system if it's not really necessary.
    • Apr 01 2020 | 3:58 pm
      My experience is similar to Source Audio's. But I don't clear all xattr for the home directory, only the files/folders that I need... For instance, an AU or VST plugin that hasn't been updated residing in /Library/Audio/Plugins... sudo xattr -cr "and drop the offending folder/file" It clears all xattributes recursively and usually works. I also disable SIP (System Integrity Protection). I'm still on Mojave (and for the foreseeable future). I understand the need for security but Apple's tendency lately in this regard has been too much...
    • Apr 01 2020 | 6:54 pm
      I would advise against running the command on everything in your user (~/) directory. These security measures are in place for a reason. I agree with Pedro to only perform this action against files and directories that need it.
      Dietmar, can you share screenshots or log messages so we can help?
    • Apr 01 2020 | 7:16 pm
      Thank you for your answer, yes I cannot work with the patch because Catalina's security settings do not allow it. I have MacOS Catalina version 10.15.3
      Thank´s for support
    • Apr 03 2020 | 4:04 pm
      One of these two commands should work for you depending on where you installed Max:
      sudo xattr -rd /Applications/
      sudo xattr -rd ~/Applications/
      Can you run both of them in the terminal and share the output?
    • Apr 03 2020 | 5:24 pm
      there should be absolutely no need to run xattr on the Max app itself. instead you should run xattr on the folder that contains the 3rd party externals that you are trying to load. if it's a package, especially one that contains support libraries, run it on the entire package folder.
    • Apr 03 2020 | 10:12 pm
      If you've put the orchidea in the Packages folder, it should be something like this: sudo xattr -cr /Users/"You"/Documents/Max\ 8/Packages/orchidea
    • Apr 04 2020 | 6:55 am
      Thank you for your support but I solved the problem. I had an apple antivirus scanner that I deleted, everything works fine now. Maybe this is also a possible solution for all who have similar problems)
    • Apr 08 2020 | 3:20 pm
      I'm getting the same issues and nothing here is working for me. Any other ideas?
    • Apr 08 2020 | 3:35 pm
      After running the various fixes this is the error message I get
    • Apr 08 2020 | 3:44 pm
      where did you get that sigmund~ object ? 64 bit ?
    • Apr 08 2020 | 3:50 pm
      It seems to me that your sigmund~object does not match your Max version. I Belice this has nothing to do with Catalina Security policies.
    • Apr 08 2020 | 4:40 pm
      That might be the issue, it worked for my professor who is still on 8.1.0, and I'm on 8.1.3. Is there a way to "revert" back to an earlier version of Max to see if that would work?
    • Apr 09 2020 | 7:02 am
      You can have all max versions , just download older one and rename it like But I don't think there is difference between max 8.1.3 and 8.1.0 ... Anyway make sure to download 64 bit version
    • Apr 13 2020 | 3:51 pm
      Hi. I am having the same problem with the latest version of fiddle from here ( It was working all fine on Catalina until I upgraded to Max 8.1.3. I have tried everything including going back to 8.1.2 but no luck. It seems to be a real issue for many Max users using "unsigned" externals. Any help appreciated.
    • Apr 13 2020 | 4:27 pm
      Hi there,
      I still cannot run a basic external (RTC library)... I've tryied everything you've mentioned without results... can anyone give me a help? :)
    • Apr 13 2020 | 5:02 pm
      OK I think Cycling needs to do something about this as a lot of us are basically stuck. Cycling 74 please help.
    • Apr 23 2020 | 7:22 pm
      I have tried the different solutions but none work yet I anyone can help me ? Thanks laurent
    • Apr 23 2020 | 8:04 pm
      FWIW, I'm getting this error on after a fresh update in the Package Manager and I'm NOT running Catalina, but 10.14.6 Mojave. Max 8.1.3.
    • Apr 23 2020 | 8:12 pm
      Quick followup: turned out Max didn't yet have access to the camera in the Security: Privacy settings. Once I instantiated a jit.grab and gave it permission, was also able to instantiate.
    • May 02 2020 | 2:17 pm
      With Max 8.1.3 it's helpful that the name of the external causing the error is printed in the console. I do wish it showed the full path to the external though. That would be similar to the "you have multiple files in your search path" conflict messages that include full path names.
      (I had installed some externals for both Max 7 and Max 8 and initially removed the xattr from the ones being read in the Max 7 path, which, as you might suppose, did not improve life when using Max 8.)
    • May 05 2020 | 2:19 am
      Thank you!!!! A space!!
    • May 10 2020 | 3:45 pm
      Hey All, I encountered the same problem as JOSÉ MANUEL BERENGUER with the Shell object in max8.1.3 after the Catalina update.
      JOSÉ MANUEL BERENGUER: did you find a solution to the problem?
    • May 10 2020 | 7:35 pm
      Dear Fabrizio Saiu : No. I didn't. I was considering try with Node.js. The problem is that with Node.js any code will only work in Max 8...
    • May 17 2020 | 4:59 pm
      Thanks José! I downgraded to high Sierra... But, be careful! You must absolutely avoid installing this update because the external ones will be blocked again.
    • May 23 2020 | 12:38 pm
      This is really annoying. None of the above mentioned workarounds functions ....
    • Jul 01 2020 | 11:27 pm
      I was having this issue when I was using my Documents directory which I have syncing to iCloud. When I made a new directory outside of Documents and pointed my File Preferences to the new directory, everything worked just fine.
      Be careful if you directly copy projects or mxo builds over from the Documents folder though because it may still not work then.
    • Aug 26 2020 | 4:30 pm
      hey guys,
      im having issues installing this object have tried all the above but doesnt work ,
      please help
    • Aug 27 2020 | 6:42 am
      that external is 32 bit only. You can read that from the error: wrong architecture there seem to be 64 bit version of it here :
    • Aug 27 2020 | 1:30 pm
      Thanks, Source Audio, I am new to MAX, and could anyone help me with theinstallation of this external object into max 8 ? I am not sure should I download all 3 or just the top one ? and which folder they need to be placed?
    • Aug 27 2020 | 2:01 pm
      if you download that top one and extract it, you'll get external. You can place it anywhere in Max search path, but maybe best place would be to replace 32 bit external at it's location. From the screenshot it is in your Documents/Max 8/Library.
    • Aug 27 2020 | 2:51 pm
      thank you Source Audio , do i still have to use sudo xattr ?? and which version of it is useful ?
    • Aug 27 2020 | 3:31 pm
      It will not harm to remove any xattr from that external. type xattr -cr (add space at the end) into terminal and drop it, hit enter.
    • Aug 28 2020 | 4:01 am
      Thank you so much for your amazing help Source Audio , I got it installed but the kinect is not showing , I think I need to use Kinect 360 rather than Kinect V2 ( Xbox One ) , Do you think is this the problem ?