Mac users who rely on encrypted email communication with OpenPGP should not update to macOS 14 Sonoma for the time being. The tried and tested GPG Mail plug-in no longer works after upgrading the operating system, as the GPGTools team warns. Accordingly, emails can no longer be encrypted and decrypted after an upgrade. The reason for this is that Apple’s pre-installed email client generally no longer supports plug-ins as of macOS 14. The new macOS version will be released to the general public on Tuesday evening.
Mail extensions instead of “unofficial” plug-ins
There has not yet been an official interface for extending Apple Mail, but plug-ins have been a proven option for adding additional functions to the email client for over 20 years. With macOS 14 Sonoma, Apple is introducing an official interface in the form of “Mail Extensions” as a replacement, although its functionality still seems to be limited. Providers of existing mail plug-ins are therefore only partially able to deliver their software with the same features as a mail extension for macOS 14.
GPGTools is also working on a mail extension, but does not want to provide it for the time being because certain central functions are not possible in conjunction with the first version of macOS 14. This includes the fact that the interface currently does not reliably pass on the entire content of emails to the extension, the developers explain. Encrypting drafts has not yet worked reliably. Apple was asked until the very end to ensure missing functionalities, but that didn’t work.
New version of GPG Mail in a few weeks
With the first Apple update for macOS 14 Sonoma, which usually follows within a few weeks, PGP Mail will also be available for download as a new extension, GPG Tools promises. This should then make it possible to communicate with encrypted emails again with Apple Mail in macOS 14.
Ultimately, the developers welcome the fact that Apple is offering an official interface for Apple Mail, which will ensure more stability. At the same time, the new interface severely limits the options for email extensions, and future improvements will first have to be discussed with Apple.
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