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Identifying Universal 2 apps on macOS Mojave and later

November 21, 2020 Leave a comment

As Apple introduces its new Apple Silicon Macs, it’s important that Mac admins be able to identify if their environment’s software will be able to run natively on both Intel and Apple Silicon as Universal 2 apps or if they’ll need Apple’s Rosetta 2 translation service installed first on their Apple Silicon Macs to allow their apps to run.

To assist with this identification effort, Apple has provided two tools:

Both have been around for a while and initially helped identify the original Universal binaries, which were compiled to support both PowerPC and Intel processors. They’ve now been updated for this new processor transition and either will be able to identify if an app’s binary was compiled for the following:

  • x86_64 (Intel)
  • arm64 (Apple Silicon)
  • Both x86_64 and arm64 (Universal 2)

For more details, please see below the jump.

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Categories: Mac administration, macOS

Installing Rosetta 2 on Apple Silicon Macs

November 17, 2020 4 comments

With Apple now officially selling Apple Silicon Macs, there’s a design decision which Apple made with macOS Big Sur that may affect various Mac environments:

At this time, macOS Big Sur does not install Rosetta 2 by default on Apple Silicon Macs.

Rosetta 2 is Apple’s software solution for aiding in the transition from Macs running on Intel processors to Macs running on Apple Silicon processors. It allows most Intel apps to run on Apple Silicon without issues, which provides time for vendors to update their software to a Universal build which can run on both Intel and Apple Silicon.

Without Rosetta 2 installed, Intel apps do not run on Apple Silicon. So for those folks who need Rosetta 2, how to install it? For more details, please see below the jump.

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Preventing the macOS Big Sur upgrade advertisement from appearing in the Software Update preference pane on macOS Catalina

November 12, 2020 10 comments

Not yet ready for macOS Big Sur in your environment, but you’ve trained your folks to look at the Software Update preference pane to see if there’s available updates? One of the ways Apple is advertising the macOS Big Sur upgrade is via the Software Update preference pane:

Screen Shot 2020 11 12 at 2 25 15 PM

You can block it from appearing using the softwareupdate –ignore command, but for macOS Catalina, Mojave and High Sierra, that command now requires one of the following enrollments as a pre-requisite:

  • Apple Business Manager enrollment
  • Apple School Manager enrollment
  • Enrollment in a user-approved MDM

For more information on this, please reference the following KBase article: https://support.apple.com/HT210642 (search for the following: Major new releases of macOS can be hidden when using the softwareupdate(8) command).

For more details, please see below the jump.

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Categories: Mac administration, macOS

Detecting kernel panics using Jamf Pro

November 10, 2020 3 comments

Something that has (mostly) become more rare on the Mac platform are kernel panics, which are computer errors from which the operating system cannot safely recover without risking major data loss. Since a kernel panic means that the system has to halt or automatically reboot, this is a major inconvenience to the user of the computer.

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Kernel panics are always the result of a software bug, either in Apple’s code or in the code of a third party’s kernel extension. Since they are always from bugs and they cause work interruptions, it’s a good idea to get on top of kernel panic issues as quickly as possible. To assist with this, a Jamf Pro Extension Attribute has been written to detect if a kernel panic has taken place. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Extension attributes for Jamf Protect

November 4, 2020 1 comment

I’ve started working with Jamf Protect and, as part of that, I found that I needed to be able to report the following information about Jamf Protect to Jamf Pro:

  1. Is the Jamf Protect agent installed on a particular Mac?
  2. Is the Jamf Protect agent running on a particular Mac?
  3. Which Jamf Protect server is a particular Mac handled by?

To address these needs, I’ve written three Jamf Pro extension attributes which display the requested information as part of a Mac’s inventory record in Jamf Pro. For more details, please see below the jump:

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Remotely gathering sysdiagnose files and uploading them to S3

October 16, 2020 Leave a comment

One of the challenges for helpdesks with folks now working remotely instead of in offices has been that it’s now harder to gather logs from user’s Macs. A particular challenge for those folks working with AppleCare Enterprise Support has been with regards to requests for sysdiagnose logfiles.

The sysdiagnose tool is used for gathering a large amount of diagnostic files and logging, but the resulting output file is often a few hundred megabytes in size. This is usually too large to email, so alternate arrangements have to be made to get it off of the Mac in question and upload it to a location where the person needing the logs can retrieve them.

After needing to gather sysdiagnose files a few times, I’ve developed a scripted solution which does the following:

  • Collects a sysdiagnose file.
  • Creates a read-only compressed disk image containing the sysdiagnose file.
  • Uploads the compressed disk image to a specified S3 bucket in Amazon Web Services.
  • Cleans up the directories and files created by the script.

For more details, please see below the jump.

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“Getting Started with Amazon Web Services” encore presentation at MacSysAdmin 2020

October 7, 2020 Leave a comment

The MacSysAdmin conference, like many conferences in 2020, has moved to an online format for this year. The MacSysAdmin 2020 organizers have also decided to have both sessions that are new for the 2020 conference as well as give an encore performance for sessions given at past MacSysAdmin conferences.

I was pleased to see that my “Getting Started with Amazon Web Services” session from MacSysAdmin 2018 made the cut for MacSysAdmin 2020. For those interested, my session will be available for viewing this Friday, October 9th.

Backing up Jamf Pro Self Service bookmarks

September 27, 2020 Leave a comment

As part of working with Jamf Pro, I prefer to be able to save as much of the existing configuration of it as possible. Normally I can do this via the Jamf Pro Classic API and I have a number of blog posts showing how I use the API to create backups of my Jamf Pro configuration.

However, one set of data which is not accessible via the API are the Self Service bookmarks.

Screen Shot 2020 09 27 at 11 29 48 AM

If I want to back up this information, is there a way outside of the API? It turns out that there is. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Clearing failed MDM commands on Jamf Pro

September 25, 2020 Leave a comment

For a variety of reasons, MDM commands sent out from an MDM server can fail to run correctly on a Mac. Many times, these MDM commands will not be re-sent unless the failure is cleared. With the failure cleared, the MDM server will not have a record of sending the MDM command and should try again.

On Jamf Pro, there’s a couple of ways you can clear failed MDM commands. The first is a manual process which uses the Jamf Pro admin console. The second uses the Jamf Pro Classic API and can be automated. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Uninstalling macOS system extensions

September 1, 2020 4 comments

With the ongoing change from kernel extensions to system extensions, one new thing Mac admins will need to learn is how to uninstall system extensions. Fortunately, Apple has provided a tool as of macOS Catalina that assists with this: systemextensionsctl

If you run the systemextensionsctl command by itself, you should get the following information about usage:

systemextensionsctl: usage:
	systemextensionsctl developer [on|off]
	systemextensionsctl list [category]
	systemextensionsctl reset  - reset all System Extensions state
	systemextensionsctl uninstall  ; can also accept '-' for teamID

The last verb, uninstall, is what allows us to remove system extensions. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Categories: Mac administration, macOS
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