Re-signing Code

Given the implied urgency of Apple’s demand that developers provide updated versions of apps with “version 2” code signatures, many people are scrambling to get their build processes updated so that e.g. the apps are built on 10.9 or higher. This is the most natural and attractive technique for ensuring that your Mac apps are signed properly.

However, for a variety of reasons many of us either need to build with older versions of Mac OS X or Xcode. We face a conundrum that can be solved by signing (or more accurately, re-signing) the apps on 10.9, ensuring that the signature is up to snuff even if the code was compiled and the app was assembled with earlier tools.

This is a fairly straight-forward process, but there are some gotchas and you should be aware of what effect running codesign with various flags will have on your finished product. In a nutshell, you want to establish new code signatures on all the binaries in your bundle, but you don’t necessarily want to reset specific entitlements or other metadata that was set on the code by your old-and-busted code signatures.

Felix Schwarz offers a bash script suited to re-signing and further packaging the resulting app into a .pkg file suitable for submission to the Mac App Store. If you’re looking at automating this process, his script may serve as a good starting point!

In my tests I ran into some issues having to do with the fact that some of my apps have custom “designated requirements.” I have ironed out all the kinks yet but it seems to help in this scenario to re-establish all the code signing for the bundle first and then as a final icing on the cake, re-sign the app package with the custom designated requirement.