How can you tell the difference once you get apps installed on your Mac? There are a few ways, including Apple’s About This Mac option in the Menubar, but this one is much more fun and more detailed.
Sands Of Time
Mac App Store applications are different than other third party apps because they are required to be sandboxed. What does that mean? It’s a bit geeky but can be beneficial for Mac users as it provides more security.
App Sandbox is an access control technology provided in macOS, enforced at the kernel level. It is designed to contain damage to the system and the user’s data if an app becomes compromised. Apps distributed through the Mac App Store must adopt App Sandbox. Apps signed and distributed outside of the Mac App Store with Developer ID can (and in most cases should) use App Sandbox as well.
How can you tell which apps on your Mac use sandbox technology? The most fun way is with the inexpensive Mac utility Sandkorn.
Many apps are restricted in a sandbox – all new Mac App Store apps are – but it is hard to know what those restrictions are for each app. And it is even harder to get an overview of all your apps.
Sandkorn lets you know and helps to massage your geek gene at the same time.
Sandkorn checks apps on your Mac for executables, including Applications and Utilities folders, but not subfolders.
Each app in the list has a checkbox next to it. In Application mode the checkbox shows if an app is sandboxed or not and in Entitlement mode it shows if the app has the entitlement or not. Gray text means that it is not sandboxed or does not have the entitlement.
That way you can check all the apps on your Mac to see which ones are Sandboxed, whether from the Mac App Store or not.
Sandkorn options include the simple Show for which apps are sandboxed, Filter specific apps, view Entitlements (geek term), and even Reveal In Finder so you can see where the app is located. What you cannot do with Sandkorn is change the entitlements to make an app behave differently.
In my experience Sandkorn works great at divulging interesting information for the curious and it takes awhile to load all apps the first time; after that, it caches information and updates only require incremental changes.
If you want to get your Mac geek on then this is a good way to do it.