Notarizing Automator applications

April 10, 2019 4 comments

Apple recently updated their notarization documentation to include this note:

Beginning in macOS 10.14.5, all new or updated kernel extensions and all software from developers new to distributing with Developer ID must be notarized in order to run. In a future version of macOS, notarization will be required by default for all software.

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The part about “notarization will be required by default for all software” made me think, because there are a few apps that I’ve written over the years that are still useful (at least to me). All of them were built using Automator, which meant that the usual Xcode-based ways of notarizing applications wasn’t going to work for me.

With assistance by folks in the MacAdmins Slack though, I was able to develop a process that allowed me to do the following:

  1. Codesign an Automator application
  2. Upload the application to Apple for notarization
  3. Attach the notarization to the application
  4. Verify that the notarization was attached and valid.

The documentation linked below was also very helpful in figuring out how to notarize using command line tools:

For more details, please see below the jump.

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Updated MigrateADMobileAccounttoLocalAccount script now available to fix password issue in macOS 10.14.4

April 5, 2019 Leave a comment

A couple of years back, I wrote a script to assist with migrating AD mobile users to local users. I had to update it in 2018 to fix a bug, but once that issue was fixed, the script has chugged along without changes between macOS 10.13.5 and macOS 10.14.3.

However, starting with macOS 10.14.4, I was alerted to an issue with how the script worked in combination with a change on Apple’s end.

As part of the script, the following actions take place:

  1. The password hash value of the account from the AuthenticationAuthority attribute of the relevant account is backed up.
  2. The AuthenticationAuthority attribute is deleted from the relevant account.
  3. The AuthenticationAuthority attribute is re-created and the password hash of the account is restored from the backup.

As of macOS 10.14.4, once the reference to the password hash is removed from the AuthenticationAuthority attribute, the actual password hash is now automatically deleted by the OS. That means that step 2 in the process described above actually causes the password for the account to be removed, so that the account’s password must be re-set.

How to fix this? For more details, please see below the jump.

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Building an installer package for

March 20, 2019 8 comments

One of the open-source contributions by the Apple@SAP team has been, a tool designed to grant or take away administrator rights from accounts on macOS. The general idea behind Privileges is that it allows people to work with the account privileges of a standard user for day-to-day use, but allows them to get administrator rights when needed.

Documentation for can be found at the GitHub repo which hosts it, which is available via the link below:

However, one item not included in that documentation is how to package it for deployment. Instead, AutoPkg recipes were written and made available to automate the packaging process:

However, not everyone is able to use AutoPkg in their environment, so manual packaging instructions are now available here. For more details, please see below the jump:

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Checking the SSL certificate used by an Active Directory domain controller

March 19, 2019 2 comments

Yesterday, Jamf sent out the following notification in advance of the release of Jamf Pro 10.11.0:

One part of the message which caused some concern is this section:

Additionally, any LDAP server connections using LDAPS will require that the hostname of the LDAP server match the Common Name (CN) on the certificate that is uploaded to the Jamf Pro Server. A mismatch will prevent communication between the LDAP server and Jamf Pro Server.

What’s being referred to here is what’s known as an SSL hostname mismatch error, which is a sign that the SSL certificate being used to secure the connection isn’t configured correctly. But how can you tell with the SSL certificate used on an Active Directory domain controller? For more details, please see below the jump.

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Mounting Time Machine local snapshots as read-only volumes

February 23, 2019 Leave a comment

Starting with macOS High Sierra, Time Machine on Apple File System-formatted (APFS) boot drives gained the ability to create APFS snapshots. These snapshots are stored on the boot volume, but are not the same as the local backups that Time Machine uses on HFS+-formatted drives.

On HFS+ formatted drives, Time Machine local backups are stored in an invisible directory named .MobileBackups on the root level of the boot drive.

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In turn, this .MobileBackups directory is mountable as /Volumes/MobileBackups and you can access the backed-up files stored inside by navigating via the command line or Finder window.

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On APFS-formatted drives, the /.MobileBackups directory and /Volumes/MobileBackups are no longer available. Instead, Time Machine is now using APFS snapshots to store a read-only copy of the state of your Mac at the time when that snapshot was taken. These snapshots are invisible to the file system, so unlike HFS+, there isn’t a directory or file you can access. Instead, you now need to use the mount_apfs command’s -s option to mount APFS snapshots as read-only volumes.

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For more details, please see below the jump.

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Mouse doesn’t move at FileVault login screen in VMware Fusion macOS Mojave VMs

February 15, 2019 1 comment

As part of working with FileVault on macOS Mojave, I’ve been using VMs running in VMware Fusion 11.x for testing. As part of that, I’ve seen a problem where the mouse doesn’t move when the VM has booted to the FileVault login screen. The keyboard responds and arrow keys can be used to select users, but the mouse itself is immovable and does not respond.

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After some research, I ran across someone who had the same issue and found a workaround. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Re-syncing local account passwords and Secure Token on FileVault-encrypted Macs running macOS Mojave

February 10, 2019 5 comments

As part of FileVault on Apple File System, Apple introduced a new account attribute called Secure Token. As mentioned in a previous post, Secure Token can present some interesting problems for Mac admins who work with FileVault-encrypted laptops. Among the potential complications are these scenarios:

  • “I changed the password for my local account, but only the old password is being taken at the FileVault login screen.”
  • “We’ve lost the password to the only local user account with a Secure Token, so now we can’t enable any other accounts on this Mac for FileVault.”

Usually, this happens because the local account password in question was changed outside of the Users & Groups preference pane in System Preferences and now Secure Token and the account password are out of sync with each other.

Up until the past few days, the only fix I knew of for that situation was to back up the data and wipe the drive. However, it looks like there is a workaround for encrypted Macs which fixes the password problem and sorts out Secure Token in these scenarios. In both cases, a personal recovery key will be needed as the way to authorize the needed changes. For more details, please see below the jump.

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