iOS apps don't work with SIP

A while ago, I got an in-app announcement that Authy Desktop was being discontinued.

screenshot of Authy Desktop popup, "Desktop app sunset notice: On March 19, 2024, we will no longer support the Twilio Authy Desktop apps. Here's what you need to know. To continue using Authy, please install the Authy Android or iOS mobile app."

Well that's fine with me. My Mac supports iOS apps, so it should be pretty easy to download the mobile version from the App Store and sign in, right?


Seems promising enough...

screenshot of App Store, search box says "authy", one result visible, "Twilio Authy" with note "Designed for iPad. Not verified for macOS". Available for re-download.

It installs just fine, too.

screenshot of download button for Authy, currently says "Open"

But if I click "open", nothing happens.

Turns out, no matter what settings I pick and no matter how long I wait, it will never open. No errors will ever show up. The issue is SIP.

System Integrity Protection, aka "helicopter mom", is a setting that prevents even root users from modifying certain parts of the system:

  • /System
  • /usr
  • /bin
  • /sbin
  • /var
  • Apps that are pre-installed with the Mac operating system

These parts are also known as "the fun parts where all the cool shit happens".

Luckily, Apple allows users to disable System Integrity Protection by booting into Recovery Mode, opening the Terminal, and executing csrutil disable. Easy enough, I did it years ago. It's just hard enough that people can't get phished into doing it, but not so hard as to make it difficult for developers. Excellent.

The problem is that there's a bit of an undocumented drawback - you can't launch iOS apps.

Well, sort of... 😇

You can't launch iOS apps downloaded from the App Store. That might not seem like a big distinction, but it's substantial. All I need to do to run iOS apps is to get them directly from my iPhone, which I can do because it's jailbroken. One Playcover later and I'm back in business.

screenshot of Authy Mobile running on iOS, showing signup screen.

Which leads me to a drawback... no easy updates. Every time I want to update, I have to redump the app from my phone.

screenshot of Authy Mobile on Mac, "It's time for an update! To keep your account secure and enjoy the best features of your Authy, Please download the latest version.To keep your account secure and enjoy the best features of your Authy, Please download the latest version.", blue update button on bottom, rocket icon on top.
Why is that rocket so low-resolution??

Well in the end, I don't really care that much. It's a little annoying occasionally, but there's nothing stopping me from downloading the app on my phone and sending it to my computer.