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Archive for the ‘Mac administration’ Category

Creating root-level directories and symbolic links on macOS Catalina

January 18, 2020 Leave a comment

One of the changes which came with macOS Catalina was the introduction of a read-only root volume for the OS. For users or environments which were used to using adding directories to the root level of the boot drive, this change meant they could no longer do that.

To address this need, Apple added a new method for creating directories at the root level which leverages Apple File System’s new firmlink functionality. Firmlinks are new in macOS Catalina and are similar in function to Unix symbolic links, but instead of only allowing travel one way (from source to destination) firmlinks allow bi-directional travel.

The use of firmlinks is exclusively reserved for the OS’s own use, but Apple has also made available what are called synthetic firmlinks. These synthetic firmlinks are how the OS enables folks to create directories and symbolic links on the read-only boot volume. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Categories: Mac administration, macOS

Identifying vendors of installed Java JDKs using Jamf Pro

November 24, 2019 Leave a comment

Since Oracle’s license change for Java 11 and later took effect in October 2018, where Oracle announced that they would now be charging for the production use of Oracle’s Java 11 and later, the number of open source (and free) OpenJDK distributions has increased dramatically.

Before the license change, most Mac admins would only install Oracle Java on those Macs which needed Java. Now, the list of available vendors has broadened to include the following:

Note: There may be even more OpenJDK distributions available for macOS, but these are the ones I know of.

To help Jamf Pro admins keep track of which vendors’ Java distributions are installed on their Macs, I’ve written a Jamf Pro Extension Attribute to help identify them. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Slides from the “MDM: From “Nice to Have” To Necessity” session at Jamf Nation User Conference 2019

November 13, 2019 Leave a comment

For those who wanted a copy of my MDM talk at Jamf Nation User Conference 2019, here are links to the slides in PDF and Keynote format.

For those folks at the talk who were interested in Privileges and ProfileCreator, please see the links below:

Apple moving older macOS installers from the Mac App Store

November 7, 2019 1 comment

Apple has started making the following macOS installers available outside of the Mac App Store (MAS).

For each listed OS installer, Apple has direct download links via their relevant KBase article for InstallOS.dmg or InstallMacOSX.dmg disk images.

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In turn, these disk images contain installers named InstallOS.pkg or InstallMacOSX.pkg.

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These installers do not themselves install the relevant version of macOS or OS X. Instead, they install the Install.app for that macOS or OS X version into the /Applications directory.

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Once the relevant Install macOS or OS X app is available, it can be used to install that OS.

The installers for the following macOS versions are still available via the MAS.

They can also be downloaded on macOS Catalina using the softwareupdate tool.

Downloading macOS installers with updated signing certificates on macOS Catalina

October 28, 2019 18 comments

As a follow-up to last week’s expiration of the certificate used to sign previously-released macOS installers, Apple has released re-signed macOS installers with the new certificate which is good until April 2029.

For those who archive older macOS installers, this means that the macOS installers in question will need to be re-downloaded. macOS Catalina has added some new functionality to the softwareupdate tool which can assist with this. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Categories: Mac administration, macOS

Suppressing the Touch ID pop-up window with a profile on macOS Catalina

October 22, 2019 1 comment

Apple has introduced a number of pop-up windows over the years, which appear the first time you log into a Mac and sometimes also after OS updates. In 2016, Apple introduced one for Touch ID as part of introducing the Touch Bar.

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For a long time, the only way to suppress this window from appearing was by using the command shown below:

defaults write com.apple.SetupAssistant DidSeeTouchIDSetup -bool TRUE

However, as of macOS Catalina, it is possible to suppress the Touch ID pop up window using a profile. For more details, please see below the jump.

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Rebuilding your macOS Recovery volume or partition with create_macos_recovery

October 21, 2019 5 comments

I recently got an email from a former colleague, requesting assistance with a problem they were seeing. They were cloning drives with macOS Catalina, but their cloning process was not including the Recovery volume. Was there a way to create a new Recovery volume on a macOS Catalina boot drive that didn’t have one?

I did some research on this and found that there was a script to do this on High Sierra and Mojave, but it didn’t appear to work anymore.

With some more digging, I was able to figure out why. The script was downloading and expanding a macOSUpd10.13.6.RecoveryHDUpdate.pkg installer package from Apple’s Software Update service in order to get access to a dm tool included with the installer package. This installer package was no longer available from the Software Update service, but a similar package named SecUpd2019-005HighSierra.RecoveryHDUpdate.pkg with the same dm tool was available.

Once I verified that I could get the same results using the SecUpd2019-005HighSierra.RecoveryHDUpdate.pkg installer package, I wrote a script (based on the original one I had found) to help automate the process of rebuilding a macOS Recovery volume or partition. For more details, please see below the jump.

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