AAX Notarization on Mac - silent failures, workarounds, answers and questions

I have had quite an experience getting an AAX correctly notarized, and have traced it to the AAX Info.plist. According to the specification here, the CFBundlePackageType should be BNDL, but instead it is is TDMw.

I wrapped, signed, notarized and stapled the AAX without receiving any error/warning messages but the AAX still wouldn’t load on Catalina. Using Apple’s codesign, stapler, altool and spctl tools, everything looked correct but the wonderful little program, Taccy was able to show me otherwise.

I have read the other posts on the JUCE forum as well as Apple’s documentation, but only saw this problem mentioned on the Apple Developer Forums, here. In the end, the fix at that page appears to have worked - I had to change the file extension before notarization.

I wanted to mention on the forum here to let other people know about the workaround if they are having the same experience as me but I also want answers!

  • Is it safe to change the CFBundlePackageType?
  • Why would Avid use TDMw?
  • Are they allowed to?
  • Is this something that should/can be fixed by JUCE, Avid or Apple?

I will write to Apple as well, to ask them to at least improve the feedback/documentation of the notarization process (since at every step, I was informed that the notarization was successful), so if anyone here has some information that can help with that communication, please let me know.

Thanks to you all for the valuable information and effort on this forum.

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As a side note, I would also point out that PACE, who provides the AAX wrapper, includes command line options to automate the notarization process for you. This also reported success, but the plugin still did not load and Taccy showed the notarization to have failed.

Consider letting pace sign your aax, then you sign the installer, then let apple notarize the installer.