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Archive for the ‘macOS’ Category

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:

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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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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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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

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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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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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.

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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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