Instructions for:
Information on Apple Silicon-based Macs and the ACE component

When running Audio Hijack on an Apple Silicon-based Mac, a small amount of one-time setup work is necessary to install the Audio Capture Engine (ACE) component, which enables the capture of audio. To install ACE, Apple requires that the machine’s Startup Security Policy to be changed from the default “Full Security” setting to “Reduced Security”.

This “Reduced Security” setting is still extraordinarily secure (Apple wouldn’t provide it if it weren’t). Your Mac still won’t be able to run an unsigned operating system or unsafe software. The adjustment simply makes it possible for you to allow third party extensions, like ACE, on a case-by-case basis.

This screenshot comes from our walk-through article for installing ACE. It shows the Mac’s Startup Security Utility in the Recovery system, with the necessary changes.

As noted above, these settings are still secure. Any extension still requires approval and authorization by you, the user. Nothing can be installed on your Mac without your permission.

It’s worth noting that the ACE component is not a kernel extension. Instead, Apple refers to it as a “system extension”. The distinction is important, because ACE has no ability to interact with the kernel directly, and thus no ability to cause your Mac to crash.

While Apple’s more recent systems require additional authorization to install ACE, the component still works via the same trusted (and well-tested) method it has for many years. The initial installation now requires a few extra minutes, but once ACE is installed, you’ll be able to use our tools and your Mac will remain secure. Better still, this is a one-time process. Further ACE updates can be installed with just your administrator password.

Accessing Apple Pay after installing ACE

In rare cases, we’ve heard that changing the Mac’s Security Policy may interfere with the use of Apple Pay. While this is ultimately an issue for Apple to resolve, customers have reported success with the following steps:

  1. After installing the ACE component, restart into Recovery again.

  2. Adjust the System Security Policy to “Full Security”.

  3. Restart your Mac, log into your user account, then shut down your Mac.

  4. Restart into Recovery once more.

  5. Toggle the System Security Policy to “Reduced Security” again, and restart normally.

In our experience, this toggle back and forth will allow Apple Pay to work as expected.

Additional resources

Apple provides more details on the System Security Policy here.