Author Archive

Uninstalling macOS system extensions

September 1, 2020 3 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

Speaking at Jamf Nation User Conference 2020

August 27, 2020 Leave a comment

I’ll be speaking about how SAP transitioned to an at-home workforce this year at Jamf Nation User Conference 2020, which is being held online from September 29th – October 1st, 2020. For those interested, my talk will be on Tuesday, September 29th from 12:30pm – 1:00pm CDT.

For a description of what I’ll be talking about, please see the SAP in the Haus – How SAP transitioned its global workforce to working from home session description. You can see the whole list of JNUC sessions here on the Sessions page.

If you haven’t already signed up, the conference is free and there’s still time to register. You can do that via the link below:

Running recoverydiagnose in macOS Recovery

August 6, 2020 1 comment

Most Mac admins, especially those who file bug reports or who work with AppleCare Enterprise, are familiar with running the sysdiagnose tool to gather diagnostic information about a Mac they’re working on. Running sysdiagnose will trigger a large number of macOS’s performance and problem tracing tools and use their reports to assemble what amounts to a snapshot of your Mac’s complete state at the time you ran the sysdiagnose tool, which can be very useful to developers trying to trace down why a particular problem is occurring.

However, this tool only applies to a Mac’s regular OS. What if the problem you’re seeing is in the macOS Recovery environment? In that case, you can run the recoverydiagnose tool in macOS Recovery to gather similar data specifically for macOS Recovery-related problems. For more details, please see below the jump.

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PkgSigner AutoPkg processor updated for Python 3

July 31, 2020 Leave a comment

A while back, I discussed how to incorporate installer package signing into AutoPkg workflows. The PkgSigner processor used in this workflow was originally written by Paul Suh and it uses Apple’s productsign tool to access a Developer ID Installer certificate stored in the login keychain.

Like other processors and AutoPkg itself, PkgSigner needed updating to Python 3 when Python 2 reached end-of-life in April 2020. This updating process has been completed, thanks to Nick McDonald. To make sure PkgSigner is consistently using the same Python environment across machines, PkgSigner has also been set to use the Python 3 install bundled with AutoPkg.

For those who need it, I have a copy of the PkgSigner processor available via the link below:

Categories: AutoPkg, Packaging

Enabling diagnostic logging for Microsoft Outlook 2019

July 20, 2020 Leave a comment

I was recently asked for assistance with a way to enable diagnostic logging for Microsoft Outlook 2019 for macOS:

I had seen Microsoft’s KBase article on how to do it, where it references enabling logging via the Outlook preferences:

However, the KBase article only references how to enable this logging via the GUI and does not show how to do this via the command line. Fortunately my colleague @golby knew which settings could enabled from the command line to produce the requested logging. For more details, please see below the jump:

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create_macos_vm_install_dmg updated for macOS Big Sur installer disk images

June 28, 2020 3 comments

As part of testing macOS Big Sur 11.0.0, I’ve updated my create_macos_vm_install_dmg script. For more details, please see below the jump.

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WWDC 2020 notes

June 23, 2020 Leave a comment

This week, I’m attending Apple’s WWDC 2020 conference from the comforts of home. As part of this, I’m taking notes during the labs and session videos. Due to wanting to stay on the right side of Apple’s NDA, I’ve been posting my notes to Apple’s developer forums rather than to here.

To make it easier for Mac admins to access them, I’ve set up a post in the forums where I’ve linking the various forum posts with my notes. It’s available via the link below:

Categories: Documentation, WWDC 2020

Using an Activation Lock bypass code from Jamf Pro to clear Activation Lock on a Mac

June 19, 2020 2 comments

As part of macOS Catalina, Apple introduced Activation Lock for Macs. As on iOS, Activation Lock is an anti-theft feature designed to prevent activation of a Mac if it’s lost or stolen.

Activation Lock on Macs does have some requirements in order for it to work. The Mac must:

  • Run macOS Catalina or later
  • Use the Apple T2 Security chip
  • Two-factor authentication must be enabled on the Apple ID used for enable Activation Lock.
  • Secure Boot must be enabled with Full Security settings and Disallow booting from external media selected.

Screen Shot 2020 06 18 at 3 40 31 PM


Once these requirements are satisfied, Activation Lock is automatically enabled when Apple’s Find My service is enabled.

However, having Activation Lock turn on when Find My is enabled can lead to situations where it’s enabled by an employee on company-owned equipment. When this happens, companies, schools or institutions need a way to bypass Activation Lock without needing to know anything about the Apple ID used by the employee.

To provide this bypass, Apple has made it possible for companies, schools and institutions to use their MDM solution to clear Activation Lock. For more details, please see below the jump:

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Allowing external boot drives for T2-equipped Macs

June 13, 2020 Leave a comment

With WWDC 2020 only a couple of weeks away, a number of folks are preparing to run the new beta version of macOS. While some will choose to go all-in and run the new OS on their main boot drive, others will prefer to install the new OS onto an external drive. However, for Macs equipped with T2 chips, there’s an extra step involved with allowing your Mac to boot from an external drive. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Videos from Penn State MacAdmins Campfire Sessions 2020

June 13, 2020 Leave a comment

The good folks at Penn State have begun posting session videos from the Penn State MacAdmins Campfire Sessions to YouTube. As they become available, you should be able to access them via the link below:

I’ve linked my “Introduction to MDM and Configuration Profiles” session here:

My colleague Anthony Reimer’s “Things I Learned from the Autopkg Maintainers” session is likewise available here:

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