How can I make unbound's accepting of incoming network connections in application firewall in Catalina 'stick'?

Gerben Wierda gerben.wierda at
Mon Mar 15 00:55:18 UTC 2021

I am running an extensive MacPorts (with postfix, dovecot, nginx, minion, etc.) on my macOS Server, which is still running macOS Mojave.

On one of the other Macs, running macOS Catalina, I run a backup unbound caching nameserver. This also offers me a way to do some minimal testing of the MacPorts setup on a more recent version of macOS (as a preparation for upgrading the Mojave system when Apple stops supporting it)

The unbound on macOS Catalina runs fine, except for one thing. After a reboot, unbound will not accept incoming connections until I have logged in an answer the application firewalls’ question:

Do you want the application “unbound” to accept incoming network connections?
Clicking Deny may limit the application’s behaviour. This setting can be changed in the Firewall pane of Security & Privacy preferences.

I can answer yes, check the entry in the application firewall (set to yes, accept, even before I allow it through the panel). But even if it is set to accept incoming connections, after a reboot I need to log in and answer again via the GUI before it accepts. Setting this in the Application firewall doesn’t ’stick’ for some reason.

This is not acceptable behaviour if I ever upgrade my Mojave Server, as that one must be able to do unsupervised reboots/running without any login.

Is there something special in Catalina I must do? Or is this expected behaviour?


Gerben Wierda (LinkedIn <>)
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