Apple sent out an email to developers today encouraging them to get their Developer ID applications ready in preparation for the release of the Mountain Lion operating system later this year. The Developer ID program will be used with the Gatekeeper functionality built into Mountain Lion that serves as a means of certifying apps.
The Developer ID program applies to apps developed for either the Mac or iOS platforms, and that ID will be tied to apps released by developer in Mountain Lion. It’s an automated process, and a certificate can be requested through tools in Xcode.
This ID serves as a digital signature that is included with the app that verifies that the app isn’t known malware and hasn’t been tampered with. Apps will still be allowed to run, at least for the present time, without such a signature. However, a notice will be displayed which could be disconcerting for some users.
The Developer ID program will apply to apps whether they were purchased through the Mac App Store or downloaded directly. Combined with Gatekeeper, it’s intended to keep malware off Apple machines.