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Archive for the ‘Mac administration’ Category

The T2 Macs, the end of NetBoot and deploying from macOS Recovery

August 15, 2018 4 comments

In late 2017, Apple released the iMac Pro. Along with the new Secure Enclave protection provided by Apple’s T2 chip, the iMac Pro brought another notable development: It did not support booting from a network volume, otherwise known as NetBoot.

The one exception was Apple’s Internet Recovery, where Apple is providing a NetBoot-like service to provide access to macOS Recovery. The iMac Pro is still able to boot to Internet Recovery, which provides a way to repair the Mac or reinstall the operating system in situations where the Mac’s own Recovery volume is missing or not working properly.

With NetBoot not being available for the iMac Pro but still available for other models, it wasn’t yet clear if NetBoot-based workflows for setting up new Macs or rebuilding existing ones were on the way out. However, Apple’s release of of T2-equipped MacBook Pros in July 2018 which also could not use NetBoot has made Apple’s direction clear. As Apple releases new Mac models equipped with T2 chips and Secure Enclave, it is unlikely that these future Mac releases will be supporting NetBoot.

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For Mac admins using NetBoot-based workflows to set up their Macs, what are the alternatives? Apple has been encouraging the use of Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, which leverages a company, school or institutions’ mobile device management (MDM) service. In this case, you would need to arrange with Apple or an Apple reseller to purchase Macs that are enrolled in your organization’s DEP.

When a DEP-enrolled Mac is started for the first time (or started after an OS reinstall), it is automatically configured to use your organizations’ MDM service and the device checks in with the MDM service. The MDM service then configures the Mac as desired with your organization’s software and configuration settings. A good example of what this process may look like can be seen here.

What if you don’t have DEP, or you don’t have MDM? In that case, you may still be able to leverage Recovery-based deployment methods, which would allow you install the desired software and configuration settings onto the Mac’s existing OS, or install a new OS along with software and configuration settings. For more details on these methods, please see below the jump.

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Staying notified about Apple developer software releases

August 8, 2018 Leave a comment

Keeping up on Apple developer betas and other developer software releases is a necessary part of many Mac admins’ regular routine. It’s especially important during the period between WWDC in June and the annual OS release in the fall. Fortunately, Apple provides a way to help tracking developer releases easier by publishing a notification to the following address:

https://developer.apple.com/news/releases/

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This publicly-accessible notification doesn’t discuss what’s included in the newly-released software and you will still need an Apple Developer Connection account in order to get the details. For many Mac admins though, having an easy and quick way to track if the latest developer beta has been released is valuable information in itself.

To make it even more convenient, Apple also offers a RSS feed for the Developer Releases page:

https://developer.apple.com/news/releases/rss/releases.rss

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You can add this feed into your RSS reader and it’ll keep you up to date. If you use Slack, another approach is to use Slack’s ability to post content from an RSS feed to a Slack channel. For more details, please see below the jump:

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Categories: Mac administration, Slack

Updated MigrateADMobileAccounttoLocalAccount script now available to fix migration bug

June 16, 2018 7 comments

A couple of years back, I wrote a script to assist with migrating AD mobile users to local users. In my testing in 2016, everything seemed to work right and I didn’t see any problems with it on OS X El Capitan.

Fast forward a couple of years and a colleague of mine, Per Oloffson, began running into a weird problem with upgrading Macs from Sierra to High Sierra. When he upgraded Macs from macOS Sierra to macOS High Sierra, he was finding that Macs that had been migrated from AD mobile accounts to local accounts were having those same accounts break.

After a considerable amount of troubleshooting, he was able to narrow it down to the macOS High Sierra installer changing the password hash on those accounts. But why was it changing them?

In short, it was changing them because of a bug in my original MigrateADMobileAccounttoLocalAccount.command interactive migration script. Sorry, Per. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Updated Xcode command line tools installer script now available

June 10, 2018 Leave a comment

A while back, I developed a script that will download and install the Xcode Command Line Tools on Macs running 10.7.x and higher.

Most of the time it works fine. However, starting with macOS Sierra and continuing on with macOS High Sierra, I occasionally ran into an odd problem. Apple would sometimes have both the latest available Xcode Command Line Tools installer and the just-previous version available on Apple’s Software Update feed.

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The original script was written with the assumption that there would only be one qualifying Xcode Command Line Tools install option available at any one time. When more than one is available, the script isn’t able to correctly identify which Xcode Command Line Tools it should be installing. The result is that the script ends without installing anything.

Apple usually removes the previous version from the Software Update feed within a few days, which allows the script to work normally again. But when it happened this time, I decided to update the script to hopefully fix this issue once and for all. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Using the Jamf Pro API to mass-delete computers and mobile devices

May 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Periodically, it may be necessary to delete a large number of computers or mobile devices from a Jamf Pro server. However, there is currently a problem in Jamf Pro 10 where trying to delete multiple devices can fail. Jamf is aware of the issue and has assigned it a product issue code (PI-004957), but it has not yet been resolved and remains a known issue as of Jamf Pro 10.4.1.

To work around this issue, you can delete computers and mobile devices one at a time. This does not trigger the performance issues seen with PI-004957, but this can get tedious if you have multiple devices to delete. To help with this, I’ve adapted an earlier script written by Randy Saeks to help automate the deletion process by using a list of Jamf IDs and the API to delete the relevant computers or mobile devices one by one. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Detecting if a logged-in user on a FileVault-encrypted Mac has a Secure Token associated with their account

May 10, 2018 1 comment

A challenge many Mac admins have been dealing with is the introduction of the Secure Token attribute, which is now required to be added to a user account before that account can be enabled for FileVault on an encrypted Apple File System (APFS) volume.

In my own shop, we wanted to be able to identify if the primary user of a Mac had a Secure Token associated with their account. The reason we did this was:

  1. We could alert the affected help desk staff.
  2. We could work with our users to rebuild their Macs on an agreed-upon schedule where their data was preserved.
  3. We could hopefully avoid working with our users on an emergency basis where their data could be lost.

To help with this, we developed a detection script. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Oracle Java 10 JDK and JRE installation scripts for macOS

April 19, 2018 1 comment

Oracle has started to release Java 10 for macOS, so I’m posting a couple of scripts to download and install the following:

Oracle has been releasing two separate versions of Java 8 simultaneously and may do the same for Java 10, so these Java 10-focused scripts are designed to allow the user to set which version they want to install: the CPU release or the PSU release.

The difference between CPU and PSU releases is as follows:

  • Critical Patch Update (CPU): contains both fixes to security vulnerabilities and critical bug fixes.
  • Patch Set Update (PSU): contains all the fixes in the corresponding CPU, plus additional fixes to non-critical problems.

For more details on the differences between CPU and PSU updates, please see the link below:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/cpu-psu-explained-2331472.html

For more information, please see below the jump.

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