Firewall For Mac Computers


So right off the bat, firewalls sound a lot like antivirus software designed to protect your computer from threats, but there are differences. Having a firewall does not negate the need for antivirus software, even though it does protect your computer to a certain degree. In the case of antivirus, you can think of it like a metal detector of sorts.

A firewall can help keep other computers from connecting to it when you don't want them to, such as when you're on the Internet or a network. However, it will still allow you to browse the web using Safari, for example. Catalina’s built-in software firewall acts as the wall surrounding your MacBook castle by allowing in the communications you want while preventing unknown communications from potential threats. The Catalina firewall works with your Internet connection and with any networks you may have joined.

As we grow increasingly connected to the internet, security is becoming more important than ever. Firewalls on our computers have existed for a long time, but sometimes, it can actually be more problematic than useful, which is why turning it off can actually be a good thing. But before we decide to turn it off, what exactly is a firewall and what does it do?

Apr 03, 2020 OS X includes an application firewall you can use to control connections made to your computer from other computers on your network. OS X v10.5.1 and later include an application firewall you can use to control connections on a per-application basis (rather than a per-port basis). Choose Apple menu System Preferences. Click Security & Privacy. Click Firewall at the top, then click the Lock icon in the bottom-left. Enter your administrator password to continue. Click on Turn On Firewall. Click on Firewall.


What Is A Firewall?

A firewall can be thought off as a wall of bricks surrounding our home. This wall helps to keep unwanted visitors out while protecting the residents of the home. In tech terms, it helps to protect your computer from unwanted intrusions from the likes of hackers or malware which might be trying to compromise your system and gain access to your personal information.

It will scan incoming internet data for things that are known to cause problems, and thus prevents it from infecting your computer system and causing havoc.

Firewall VS Antivirus

So right off the bat, firewalls sound a lot like antivirus software designed to protect your computer from threats, but there are differences. Having a firewall does not negate the need for antivirus software, even though it does protect your computer to a certain degree.

In the case of antivirus, you can think of it like a metal detector of sorts. Imagine a bad person was at the airport and they were looking to fly somewhere, so they use a fake passport and somehow get past immigration (firewall). Now that they’re inside the airport, they will need to go through a metal detector (antivirus) that will pick up any illegal objects like knives or guns they might be trying to smuggle on board.

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Antivirus also works great for computers or devices that aren’t connected to the internet, where if you try to load a program from a disk or a USB drive that has malware, it will pick up on that.

Why Would You Want To Turn Off Your Firewall?

With that being said, it sounds like having a firewall is a great thing, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t run into issues every now and then.

This is because computers pretty much just do what they’re told to do, they’re generally not smart enough to think on their own.

This means that as long as an action, connection, or program has been deemed as “bad” (or even “risky”), it will block it, even though it might not necessarily be the case.

For example, system administrators might need to do some work like applying software updates or installing new applications, and sometimes a firewall might prevent them from doing that.


As an end-user, you might also run into similar issues where programs or applications may run incorrectly or not at all due to their connection being blocked, and this is why you might want to turn off the firewall.

IMPORTANT: Most app developers will have a guide for users that bump into a Firewall issue. We recommend trying that first, as disabling the Firewall greatly increases your security risk. But if you’re set on disabling the Firewall, please continue reading…

How To Turn Off Firewall In Windows 10

  1. Launch the Start Menu and look for “Windows Defender Firewall”
  2. Click “Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off” to the navigation panel to the left
  3. Select “Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended)” and click OK
  4. Repeat the steps above to turn it back on
  5. If you’d rather not turn off your firewall completely, you can go to “Advanced settings” and then manually enter the connections/apps that you want the firewall to allow through

How To Turn Off Firewall In macOS

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences
  2. Click Security & Privacy
  3. Select the Firewall tab
  4. Unlock access to the settings by entering your computer’s admin username and password
  5. Click Turn On/Off Firewall
  6. Repeat the steps above to turn the firewall back on/off again
  7. You can also click on “Firewall Options” for more advanced configurations on choosing which apps/connections you want to allow
  8. Click the lock icon once you’re done

Filed in . Read more about Macos, Microsoft, Security, Windows and Windows 10.

Firewall is software that’s there to protect you so it’s best to keep it turned on. With Firewall running, your Mac takes care of everything — automatically determining whether or not an application is allowed to send or receive traffic from the network. It does this using Code Signing Certificates that are issued to trusted applications. Without the proper certification, an app isn’t allowed through. Think of it like a bouncer on the door of a club — if an app doesn’t have the proper ID it ain’t coming in.

There may be times where Firewall isn't needed, though. Say, for example, you’re playing a video game and don’t want to access the online multiplayer modes. Or antivirus software that you’ve installed is conflicting with Mac’s Firewall application.

Turning off Firewall solves these problems. But you should be aware that, while switching off Firewall can stop apps on your computer from sending traffic to the network, it provides free reign for incoming connections, leaving you vulnerable to malware and hackers.

Clean your Mac before changing settings

Before we show you how to turn Firewall on and off, it’s recommended that you have a cleanup of apps on your system, particularly those that you’ve previously deleted. If you’ve ever downloaded an app by mistake and uninstalled it or found an app to be malicious and sent it to the Trash, there’s every chance that their remnants still exist on your system.

If that’s the case and you have Firewall switched off, these apps will be able to send and receive traffic, putting your Mac at serious risk.

So, if you plan on playing around with the Firewall settings, use a tool like CleanMyMac X to find and remove any unwanted files that exist on your system. CleanMyMac scans all of your disks and compiles installed apps. It also identifies broken and outdated apps so that you can easily remove them.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Download and launch CleanMyMac X. (Free download)
  2. Click on the Uninstaller tab.
  3. Click on View All Applications and select any apps that you wish to remove from the list. Apps can be sorted by Name, Size, Selection, and Last Launch Date to help your search.
  4. Click on Complete Uninstallation from the dropdown menu.
  5. Click on the Uninstall button and enter your admin password when prompted.

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Firewall For Mac Computers

Selected apps will now be completely removed from your system.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get into enabling and disabling Firewall.

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How to turn on Firewall on Mac

Mac’s Firewall settings can be found in the Security and Privacy preference in System Preferences.

To enable Firewall in macOS and OS X v10.6 or later:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy.
  2. Click on the Firewall tab.
  3. Click on the lock icon in the bottom left corner of the window and enter your administrator password.
  4. Click Turn On Firewall (or Start in OS X).

In v10.5 of OS X, Firewall is enabled slightly differently:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Security.
  2. Click on the Firewall tab.
  3. Click on the lock icon in the bottom left corner of the window and enter your administrator password.
  4. Click Start.

How to disable Firewall for Mac

Turning off the Firewall is simply a case of following the same instructions as above and clicking on the Turn Off Firewall button.

Mac Security

To do this, you may need to enter your administrator password.

Firewall advanced settings

By clicking on the Firewall Options button (or Advanced for OS X) you’ll find additional settings that give you more control over how the Firewall performs.

In the list, you’ll see all of the apps that are currently allowed to send and receive network traffic. By clicking on the application to highlight it and hitting the '-' button, you can remove an app from the list. Alternatively, clicking on the '+' button lets you add a new app to the list.

You’ll also be presented with three options:

  • Block all incoming connections — this blocks all connections other than those required for basic internet services.

  • Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections — this automatically allows software signed with a valid certificate to gain access to the network for sending and receiving traffic.

  • Enable stealth mode — this prevents Mac from responding to probing requests.

Check the boxes for any settings you'd like to enable and hit OK to confirm.

The great thing about Firewall for Mac is that it takes care of everything for you, regulating the access of apps to the network to keep your system safe from malicious activity. As said, it’s best to keep Firewall turned on and let it does its thing. But if you do plan on turning it off, even just for a short time, run CleanMyMac X prior to doing so to rid your Mac of old apps lurking in the depths of your system.

Firewall For Mac Computers

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