Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-09-18

Update season has started. After the event on Tuesday, where Apple announced new Watches and iPads, iOS 14 shipped on Wednesday, giving developers and admins less than 24 hours advance warning and probably the shortest lived GM ever.

We also got macOS Big Sur beta 7 and new betas for iOS 14.2 and siblings.

The future releases of hardware and software this year should remain interesting. I expect at least two more events like this, one focussing on the new iPhones and the other for a new Apple Silicon Mac (or more). I would also guess that we will get the “missing” iOS 14.1 with the new iPhones, and 14.2 shortly after.

The reason this newsletter is a bit later than usual, is that I was finishing recording and editing my presentation for MacSysAdmin Online to submit it today, just in time for the deadline. This is the second presentation for a major MacAdmin conference that I recorded and finished this month. It feels strange that neither of these presentations will be streamed until October, but I am very much looking forward to when you get to see them and all the other presentations from both conferences.

Virtual JNUC 2020 is happening September 29 through October 1. My session will be on “Scripting Jamf Pro: Best Practices” on Oct 1 at 11am CDT (18:00 Central European). There will be a live Q&A during and after the session. You can still register for free.

The MacSysAdmin Online will be later in October. Participation will be free, but you can support the team by buying the MacSysAdmin Online T-Shirt, which will also enroll you in an exclusive giveaway raffle.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

Apple Event: Time Flies

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Mr. Macintosh: “I’m hearing that the Jamf Pro 10.24 beta Big Sur fixes are in 10.24.1. Official support will be listed in the patch notes of 10.25 (not sure on 10.25 version numbering). 10.24.1 = Big Sur compatible. 10.25 = Big Sur official supported version.”
  • Andreas Schenk: “Using an iPad as an additional screen for macOS with sidecar seems to still deliver notifications from iPadOS, even if macOS is in DND mode. So if you happen to run a presentation using sidecar, first set the iPad to do not disturb, then use sidecar.”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

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Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-09-11

Apple has announced an event next week September 15, 10am PDT. They have seeded many people in the press and on social media with the information that there will be no iPhones at this event. Expectations are for a new watch and iPad Air.

A new watch will likely require watchOS 7, which will require iOS 14, so the Apple systems upgrade season will start soon after this event. If previous years can be used to extrapolate (not at all certain this year) the iOS system upgrades could be available Friday, September 18 or September 25.

I am not concerned at all about no iPhones or Macs at this event. These will probably be remote, pre-recorded events like they did at WWDC. Apple can easily do multiple of these events until well into October, giving every product full attention.

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Headlines

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

macOS Catalina 10.15 and iOS 13 Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Arek Dreyer: “On your Mac, you can Option-Click the Notification Center icon to toggle Do Not Disturb.”
  • Arek Dreyer: “A bunch of Apple Reference and User Guide pages now have a ”Search the user guide” field, nice!”
  • Nathaniel Strauss: “Still true in Big Sur beta 6. Apple privacy/security team won a stupid fight… and everyone else lost. PPPC is needlessly confusing for most people. Schools won’t use Big Sur for at least 4–6 months after release. What a mess.” (More info from Michael Tsai)
  • Corey Quinn: “Myth: Companies are accelerating their cloud migrations due to COVID19. Fact: Companies are suddenly making better decisions since their executives aren’t being exposed to enterprise software ads in airports.”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-09-04

How can it be September already!? Where did the summer go?

Apple’s beta phase is heating up with a new beta release for iOS and macOS. We also got iOS and iPadOS 13.7.

Since Fall is here, so are some more virtual conferences. I will have sessions prepared for Virtual JNUC and MacSysAdmin Online.

Virtual JNUC 2020 is happening September 29 through October 1. You can still register for free.

The MacSysAdmin Online will be later in October. Participation will be free, but you can support the team by buying the MacSysAdmin Online T-Shirt, which will also enroll you in an exclusive giveaway raffle.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

macOS Catalina 10.15 and iOS 13 Updates

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-08-28

Some great posts from fellow MacAdmins this week. New betas for iOS 14 and iOS 13.7(!) dropped, but none for macOS so far.

Remember that you can still register for Virtual JNUC 2020 for free. you won’t just get to see my great talk, but there are many other amazing talks from amazing MacAdmins.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • William Smith: “Outlook for Mac 16.38 can let users try New Outlook. MacAdmins can manage this preference: Domain: com.microsoft.Outlook Key: EnableNewOutlook Values (integer): 0 = Switch hidden (default) 1 = Switch displayed, off 2 = Switch displayed, on 3 = Enabled, switch hidden”
  • mikeymikey: “If you’re not a full Screen aficionado – you may have seen that hovering over the zoom control gives you options you don’t care for – but did you know those options change to non-full screen windowed choices if you hold down Option?”
  • tlark: “The thing that kills me the most about TCC/PPPC is there is no real clear documentation on how to properly implement it. You stream logs, run things and play a game of whack-a-mole. I am all about increased security posture, but come on Apple, help us configure it.”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-08-21

Welcome back! I get the impression I was the only one to take a while off this summer. So many post to sort through and link to…

I will be presenting at Virtual JNUC2020 this year. My session is “Scripting Jamf: Best Practices” (JNUC307) and is scheduled for Oct 1 at 11am CT (18:00 Central European time). The entire session schedule can be reviewed on their site and you can still register for free!

I am also preparing something for the MacSysAdmin Online. This will be a free online event this year where they will publish some of the best presentations from previous years and new content as well. You can support the team by buying the MacSysAdmin Online T-Shirt, which will also enroll you in an exclusive giveaway raffle.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

macOS Catalina 10.15 and iOS 13 Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • William Smith: “Small undocumented change with Policies in Jamf Pro 10.22 that I didn’t learn about until today: New policies no longer automatically include the Restart payload.”
  • Victor (groob): “Instead of asking ”experts“ for how you’d go about doing something, tell them what you tried, and ask why it’s not working.”
  • Anthony Reimer: “Intriguing. On the new 27-inch iMac, you can not customize the 256 GB of storage on the base model. You must move up to the middle model to get 512GB or more of storage.”
  • Victor (groob): “Four betas. Four subtle ways Apple broke a core workflow in MDM zero touch provisioning. All undocumented.”
  • Graham Pugh: “Jamf Self Service policies will not run on macOS 10.12 Sierra on Jamf Pro versions 10.22 and above. Jamf will not fix this as they drop support for Sierra in the next release.”
  • Anthony Reimer: “I’ve updated my Mac Obsolescence chart with the new iMac (hopefully making an appearance in a home near me). obsolescence.jazzace.ca
  • Per Olofsson: “Companion niche tip: creating a sparsebundle from a folder and then converting it to a compressed read only dmg is multithreaded and faster than creating the dmg directly. In my testing the resulting dmg will also be smaller.”
  • Neil Martin: “TIL in profilecreator if you long-click the export button, you can export your payloads as MCX-style plists – handy!”
  • Erik Schwiebert: “Two month alert! Microsoft support for Office 2016 for the Mac ends on October 13, 2020

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Updates and Releases

To Watch

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-07-24

You can’t really tell it from the weather here in the Netherlands, but summer is here!

Summer brings more beta testing: the third beta of the new Apple systems dropped this week. It also brings vacation. This newsletter will be on vacation until late August. As usual, I will keep gathering interesting posts and links and return with a big August summary.

Hope you get to enjoy your summer and vacation. Stay safe!

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

Coronavirus and Remote Work

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Rich Trouton: “I’ve bought a share of Jamf stock. Now I can show up at both JNUC and shareholder meetings with my gripes.”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Updates and Releases

To Watch

To Listen

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-07-17

No summer break yet for MacAdmins. As expected, the updates for macOS Catalina 10.15.6 and iOS 13.6 and siblings were published.

As a big reprieve for MacAdmins, the functionality of softwareupdate --ignore has been re-instated for system software updates, but only when the Mac is supervised (i.e. enrolled in MDM with Automated Deployment or user-approved MDM). This allows MacAdmins to block major updates from being installed or even notified about. This is likely a direct result of all the feedback MacAdmins have passed on to Apple.

However, this reprieve is only temporary because it is not implemented in the macOS Big Sur beta. So, keep providing feedback through all your channels to Apple, that macOS requires a managed means to block software updates for longer than 90 days, preferable indefinitely.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

macOS Catalina 10.15 and iOS 13 Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Rosyna Keller: “Please, please don’t normalize right-clicking on your app to get it to run. This is a tactic malware uses to get past Gatekeeper. Screenshot from actual malware. Even after Flash died at the end of this year, this type of social engineering will continue. I hope Adobe runs PSAs.” (Image, thread)

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Documentation

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-07-10

This week brought more reactions to WWDC news regarding macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14, and the Apple Silicon transition. Apple released beta 2 for all the above (excluding the DTK), which were later released as the first public beta. We also got GM betas for macOS Catalina 10.15.6 and iOS 13.6. And a new ransomware named EvilQuest, later changed to ThiefQuest.

Busy week.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

WWDC Reactions

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

Coronavirus and Remote Work

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Victor (groob): “Erasing macOS beta 1 in recovery and selecting ”Install macOS“ installs beta2. Neat!”
  • Mr. Macintosh: “Mobile Accounts are treated as Network Accounts in Big Sur Beta 1 & 2. FB7870925 Not that you needed another reason to move to Local Accounts”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-07-03

The week after WWDC: time for opinion and reaction pieces. And time to dig into the betas and find the first bugs and annoying changes.

But Apple hasn’t forgotten the Catalina/iOS 13 updates either. We got new betas for 10.15.6 and iOS 13.6.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

👩🏽‍💻WWDC Reactions

📰News and Opinion

🌅 macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

⚙️macOS Catalina 10.15 and iOS 13 Updates

🐦MacAdmins on Twitter

  • robb: “Because SF Symbols are characters in the Private Use Area, they render just fine in your Terminal”
  • Steve Troughton-Smith: “Now that in-app purchase is available to Family Sharing, there aren’t many reasons at all to use a paid-up-front model (asides enterprise & education distribution). You can also effectively do free trials & paid upgrades w/ IAP. Definitely going to transition all my apps to it”
  • Victor (groob): “I see a lot of macadmins asking Apple to allow enabling screen recording via MDM. I get it, it’s a burden for helpdesk to explain approving Zoom to all your users. But when your manager asks you to spy on your WFH co-workers, how will you respond?” (thread, link)
  • Rico Becker: “Apple has restricted access to ~/Library/Containers/ in Finder on macOS Big Sur. It’s only showing one folder in my case. In Terminal I can see that everything is still there. Any way to reactive the normal behavior?”
  • Carl Ashley: “Munki life hack: Use admin notes in your pkginfo to store either human or machine readable comments indicating if a package has passed OS compatibility testing coughBig Surcough.”

🐞Bugs and Security

🔨Support and HowTos

🤖Scripting and Automation

🎧To Listen

📚 Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-06-26

Phew, it’s really summer here in NL, hot and humid. And it’s been a ‘hot’ week for many other reasons, too.

This news summary took a while and is a bit later than usual… you will see why…

If I missed anything, let me know and I will catch up next week.

macOS 11 Big Sur

The WWDC Keynote didn’t disappoint. iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, the new tvOS, and Xcode 12 are going to be exciting updates.

Unsurprisingly, the transition of the Mac platform to ’Apple Silicon’—an as of yet unspecified custom chipset—was announced. The parallels to the Intel transition announcement in 2005 were obvious and likely entirely intentional. Apple is conveying the message: “we’ve done this before, we know what we are doing.” The Developer Kit contains a the same A12z chip that is used in the iPad Pro, but Apple was adamant that the final production Macs with Apple Silicon will have chips customized for the Mac platform and requirements and not use iPad Pro chips.

The first Apple Silicon Macs are supposed to ship before the end of this year and the transition is supposed tos take two years. Existing Macs with Intel processors will be supported with new versions of macOS for “years to come.”

What was surprising is that Apple finally moved on from the ‘10’ (or ‘X’) version number. After nearly twenty years of ‘ten-dot’ versions (more when you consider Mac OS X Server and the Mac OS X public beta) macOS ‘Big Sur’ is labelled as version 11.0. At least in the marketing material and user facing UI. Internal documentation, APIs and sw_vers use 10.16, but that may still change during the beta phase. macOS 11 Big Sur also has a new user interface design, very similar to iPadOS and iOS.

The new version number and the unified interface language is Apple’s way of telling us, that the time where macOS (Mac OS X) stands somewhat apart from the iOS based platforms is over. macOS will be unified with the other platforms in hardware (Apple Silicon), APIs (Catalyst and SwiftUI), software, and user interface.

Apple is also declaring what they consider the strengths and differences of macOS. “You can continue to install out side of the App Store.” “The Unix tools are important.” “Yes, Terminal is still there.” “Peripherals and external boot.” These and similar phrases have been frequently stated in WWDC sessions this week, including the State of the Union. We are getting assurances that the Mac will remain the Mac, while also being more like its iOS-based siblings. And the information we did get from the in-depth sessions has been supportive of those assurances.

We will have to see how this will actually play out over the “years to come.” But it is encouraging that Apple is addressing and assuaging these concerns.

Fleetsmith acquired by Apple

If all of this weren’t enough, there was another surprise announcement this week. Fleetsmith, developer and vendor of the Mac management system of the same name, was acquired by Apple.

Fleetsmith is well-known for having awesome swag at conferences. They have also been popular with MacAdmins for having a large catalog of third-party applications with up-to-date installers and configuration sets as part of their solution. This meant that admins would not have to manually download, re-package, upload and configure an update for some third-party software, but instead could rely on Fleetsmith to do that work.

Soon after the announcement of the acquisition, all these third-party application disappeared from Fleetsmith. Since the support contains such things as extensions approval and privacy preferences control, which were also removed from the catalog and hence the managed Mac clients, this would break many installations. Remote Access software might have deployed and managed this way, and was now defunct on the client machines, effectively locking out the admins and preventing remote access as a fix. The affected admins now have to re-build the third-party support and configurations manually as custom packages, to make the clients work again.

Third-party support was yanked so unceremoniously probably because hosting and redistributing third-party installers is very complicated, if not outright impossible from a legal standpoint. It has been speculated that this is the reason that Jamf’s Patch Management feature has never lived up to the initial expectations and promises. A small company like Fleetsmith might be able to ‘fly under the radar’ and get away with it, but a larger, rich company like Apple, would not want to take this risk.

Either way, the abrupt way this change was pushed, without any previous warning about the changes of support and features, was handled extremely poorly and rightfully enraged many affected customers. This immediately cast a shadow on a deal that might otherwise have been celebrated or at least been followed with interest.

Apple has been standing on the sidelines of the MDM business. While they do create and sell Profile Manager as part of macOS Server, Profile Manager is usually considered a reference implementation of the MDM protocol only and it is not recommend for production use at scale (any scale, really). Now they are preparing to get more involved by providing their own, professional level MDM based on Fleetsmith’s solution. (One can imagine that there is an AirPower sized, failed ‘Profile Manager 2’ project on some servers at Apple somewhere.)

Apple has started putting some management functionality in Apple Business/School Manager. It is conceivable Apple would want to extend that to a full blown cloud-based MDM solution. But where would such a first-party management solution leave the existing MDM solutions?

There are many features the MDM protocol does not and cannot (yet) provide for Mac management. But a setup like this would relegate the current management system vendors back to local management agents, much like what Munki provides.

This is all speculation at this point of course. This could also be an ‘acquihire’ or Apple could continue Fleetsmith as a semi-independent subsidiary, much like Claris FileMaker, or follow some path in between these extremes.

There were also other MDMs that had news to share this week:
Five years behind, Five years ahead – Victor Vrantchan, MicroMDM
Kolide MDM — For Those That Don’t Need To Be “Managed”

These “years to come” will surely be interesting, as a Mac user and as a MacAdmin.


If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

Apple Newsroom

News and Opinion

WWDC 2020, macOS 11 Big Sur and iOS 14

WWDC Sessions for MacAdmins

Some of these will be released later today. Many of these, thanks to Balmes Pavlov

Apple Developer Documentation

MacAdmins 2020 Campfire Sessions

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Erik Gomez: “Exciting update for the macadmins/python project: This is the first automated package, driven by GitHub Actions. Thanks to @natewalck we have a signing certificate too! Unsigned, Signed and Raw framework can be downloaded here. ”
  • Damien Sorresso: “If you’re trying to mount the root volume as writeable on macOS Big Sur, here’s some stuff to know.” (thread)
  • Mark Villacampa: “Apple will be contributing patches to widely used open source projects to add support for Apple Silicon”
  • Thomas Reed: “I wonder how many workflows are going to break because macOS is now numbered 11.x instead of 10.x…”
  • Daniel Jalkut: “This caveat is buried deeply enough in the macOS Big Sur release notes that a lot of people are going to be bit by it. Creating a new volume in an existing APFS container had become the de facto best way to install a second OS.”
  • Federico Viticci: “Shortcuts got some very cool updates in iOS/iPadOS 14” (follow link for details and images)
  • Gio: “Xcode 12 creates new repos with main instead of master. Well done Apple”
  • James Thomson: “Looks like you might not be able to access a Big Sur disk under Catalina. Not ideal if you’re dual booting between the two.”
  • Rich Trouton: “For folks wanting to build macOS Big Sur VMs, I’ve updated my script for creating macOS installer disk images for virtualization software. It now will create installer disk images for Sierra through Big Sur beta 1”
  • Mr. Macintosh: “What’s new in managing Apple Devices on Big Sur!” (Thread)
  • Victor (groob): “With macOS 11 MDM can – configure a new User Account – choose to set that account as MDM managed – have flexible securetoken workflows. These changes means that’s it’s finally possible to have 1:1 managed user workflows which are purely MDM/ no network accounts.”
  • Not a Kitteh: “So what differentiates the Mac from the iPad in the future? From the SOTU, Apple says: – flexibility – configurability – external, bootable storage – drivers for peripherals – run any software”
  • Mr. Macintosh: “Big Sur Cryptographically signed system volume: ’”‘Signed system volume that protects against malicious tampering. It also means that your Mac knows the exact layout of your system volume, allowing it to begin software updates in the background’”

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Updates and Releases

To Watch

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!