Vstar not working

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Wed, 10/04/2023 - 06:43

Hello, I'm new to this program. I tried to download it on my Mac, but it's saying that the app is damaged and it can't be opened.

Can anyone help?


Astronomical Society of South Australia (ASSAU)
I assume you are referring…

I assume you are referring to the release here:


This is very odd and is the first time I have seen this problem.

The method of creating the VStar app for the Mac changed this release which may account for it, but that's not known yet.

I have a workaround.

Before upload to GitHub, vstar-mac-2.23.0.dmg opens and runs perfectly.

Upon upload to GitHub then download from GitHub, for some reason this VStar app problem arises.

It’s not just GitHub. For example, I see the same problem if I upload to DropBox and then download from there.

Can I please ask you to try these steps:

  • download vstar-mac-2.23.0.dmg from GitHub
  • open vstar-mac-2.23.0.dmg (in Downloads folder)
  • drag the VStar app to your location of choice, e.g. Desktop or Downloads (I’ll assume Downloads for what follows)
  • open a Terminal window (in Applications/Utilities)
  • run: xattr -c ~/Downloads/VStar.app
  • open VStar app in Downloads folder now to see if the problem is resolved

I need to determine how to resolve this properly, but this should for now.

Let me know how it goes.


Astronomical Society of South Australia (ASSAU)

The issue arises from the addition of attributes by Mac OS X to the application after download and copy from the opened .dmg file according to the MacOS X Gatekeeper settings.

Such settings can be changed/disabled, which may be undesirable in the general case, or application attributes can be removed, as per the instructions given in my first post. I'm continuing to look at the most appropriate approach.

If you are not seeing the error, please post here re: MacOS X version and Gatekeeper (see Mac Security preferences).

I have MacOS X, Ventura 13.4 with Security: Allow applications downloaded from: App Store and identified developers. 



Astronomical Society of South Australia (ASSAU)
VStar on Mac OS X: please try again as follows...

Hi all

Further to my comment above, if you have had trouble with vstar-mac-2.23.0.dmg, please try again now.

As before, download it from https://github.com/AAVSO/VStar/releases/tag/2.23.0 and open the vstar-mac-2.23.0.dmg file.

On the first run after download (despite having signed the application with my Apple Developer ID) you may need to open VStar with ctrl-click (hold the control key down then click the trackpad/mouse). You will be presented with a dialog that says:

“VStar” can’t be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.

Select the Open button in this dialog and VStar will start. The next time you start VStar, simply double-clicking to open should be all that's needed.

I've updated the wiki Mac installation section accordingly.

I will work on making this a smoother experience in the future.

Please let me know if you have any further problems with this!