Home > Jamf Pro, Mac administration, macOS > Providing access to macOS software updates via Jamf Pro’s Self Service

Providing access to macOS software updates via Jamf Pro’s Self Service

For a number of OS releases, Apple made both macOS software updates and Mac App Store (MAS) updates available via the MAS Updates page. I was able to use this to provide an easy way for customers to check for available software updates using Jamf Pro’s Self Service

As of macOS Mojave though, Apple moved macOS software updates to the Software Update preference pane in System Preferences.

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 10 56 41 AM

Opening the Software Update preference pane will automatically trigger a check for available macOS updates, so it’s possible to approximate the previous behavior by running the following command without root privileges:

open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/SoftwareUpdate.prefPane

When this command is run via the command line, the following actions take place:

  1. System Preferences launches
  2. The Software Update preference pane automatically loads
  3. The Mac automatically checks for macOS updates.

For folks using Jamf Pro, this command can be leveraged to provide a way for customers to easily check for macOS software updates on their own schedule. For more details, see below the jump.

As an example of how this can be used, a Self Service policy can be built which uses the command referenced above.

  • Frequency: Ongoing
  • Trigger: None
  • Make Policy Available In Self Service
  • Actions:
    • Execute command:
open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/SoftwareUpdate.prefPane

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 11 39 33 AM

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 10 49 30 AM

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 10 49 55 AM


Note: For those looking for the Software Update icon on macOS Mojave, it is attached to the following application:

/System/Library/CoreServices/Software Update.app

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 11 35 45 AM


Once built, the policy should be available in Self Service for your customers to access.

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 10 55 40 AM

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 10 56 27 AM


Please see below for what the process looks like from the customer’s perspective.

  1. February 5, 2019 at 5:15 pm
  2. February 5, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    (or more specifically: open x-apple.systempreferences:com.apple.preferences.softwareupdate)
    There’s nothing specifically better about this approach if you are using the “open” command, but it might allow you to include these as links in other contexts.

  3. February 5, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for this tip! Just did the same thing in our Mosyle portal.

  4. February 6, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    My challenge isn’t so much getting the workflow to Self Service. What has worked to get users to actaully go into Self Service and do it on a consistent basis?

    • Donald Podgorski
      February 6, 2019 at 7:01 pm

      We have a smart group setup “Needs Updating”, where we set the criteria “Number of Available Updates” to greater than 0. From there you can either force the update or pop up JAMFHelper to tell them. Hint: we have had to resort to force w/defer of one day.

  5. echave
    February 11, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    If the user is expected to initiate via Self Service, why not just call a script that contains “softwareupdate -i -a -r”? It works in 10.14 & below and the user can be presented with a message that a restart might occur if needed, with an option to decline checking for updates.

    • djc
      September 6, 2019 at 9:13 pm

      In my experience, softwareupdate -I -a -R does reboot, but there’s no notification to the user. The screen just goes black and whatever is open is lost.

  6. February 11, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    And what benefit does this have over configuring the Software Updates policy payload and making that available via Self Service?

    • May 8, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      The software updates policy payload doesn’t do anything other than name a custom ASUS. You could use the softwareupdate command (or sudo jamf software update) but that doesn’t have the same GUI interaction that users are used to.

  7. March 22, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Yeah I had a similar question as echave/wildfrog regarding why not use the software update command; is that no longer working in Majave?

  8. Harsha
    September 16, 2021 at 5:11 am

    I have a doubt about how JAMF provides the macOS patches, so the user can identify them?

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