Profile Manager first appeared in OS X Lion Server as the Apple-provided tool for managing Apple devices, including Mobile Device Management (MDM) for iOS based devices as well as Profile management for macOS based computers, including MacBooks, MacBook Airs, Mac Minis, Mac Pros and iMacs running Mac OS X 10.7 and up. Profile Manager has seen a few more updates over the years, primarily in integrating new MDM options provided by Apple and keeping up with the rapidly changing MDM landscape. Apple has added DEP functionality, content distribution, VPP, and other features over the years. In macOS Server 5.4, there are plenty of new options, including the ability to deploy VPP apps to devices rather than Apple IDs.
In this article we’ll get Profile Manager setup and perform some basic tasks.
Preparing For Profile Manager
Before we get started, let’s prep the system for the service. This starts with configuring a static IP address and properly configuring a host name for the server. In this example, the hostname will be osxserver.krypted.com. We’ll also be using a self-signed certificate, although it’s easy enough to generate a CSR and install it ahead of time. For the purposes of this example, we have installed Server from the App Store (and done nothing else with Server except open it the first time so it downloads all of its components from the web) and configured the static IP address using the Network System Preferences. Next, we’ll set the hostname to odr using the scutil tool.
sudo scutil --set HostName odr.krypted.com
Then the ComputerName:
sudo scutil --set ComputerName odr.krypted.com
And finally, the LocalHostName:
sudo scutil --set LocalHostName our
Now check changeip:
sudo changeip -checkhostname
The changeip command should output something similar to the following:
Primary address = 192.168.210.201 Current HostName = odr.krypted.com DNS HostName = odr.krypted.com The names match. There is nothing to change. dirserv:success = "success"
If you don’t see the success and that the names match, you might have some DNS work to do next, according to whether you will be hosting DNS on this server as well. If you will be hosting your own DNS on the Profile Manager server, then the server’s DNS setting should be set to the IP address of the Server. To manage DNS, start the DNS service and configure as shown previously: Provided your DNS is configured properly then changeip should work. If you’re hosting DNS on an Active Directory integrated DNS server or some other box then just make sure you have a forward and reverse record for the hostname/IP in question.
Profile Manager is built atop the web service and APNS. Next, click on the Web service and just hit start. While not required for Profile Manager to function, it can be helpful.
We’re not going to configure anything else with this service in this article so as not to accidentally break Profile Manager. Do not click on anything while waiting for the service to start. While the indicator light can go away early, note that the Web service isn’t fully started until the path to the default websites is shown (the correct entry, as seen here, should be /Library/Server/Web/Data/Sites/Default) and a View Server Website link is shown at the bottom of the screen. If you touch anything too early then you’re gonna’ mess something up, so while I know it’s difficult to do so, be patient (honestly, it takes less than a minute, wait for it, wait for it, there!). Once the Web service is started and good, click on the View Server Web Site link at the bottom and verify that the Welcome to macOS Server page loads.
Setting Up Profile Manager
Provided the Welcome to macOS Server page loads, click on the Profile Manager service. Here, click on the ON button. At the first screen of the Configure Device Management assistant, enter the name and phone number and click on Next. The computer will then become a CA. Choose an SSL certificate from the list provided and click Next. Note: This can be the certificate provided when Open Directory is initially configured, which is self-signed, or you can select a certificate that you have installed using a CSR from a 3rd party provider. At this point, if you’re using a 3rd party Code Signing certificate you will want to have installed it as well. Choose a certificate from the Certificate: drop-down list and then click on Next.
If using a self-signed certificate you will be prompted that the certificate isn’t signed by a 3rd party. Click Next if this is satisfactory.
At the Get An Apple Push Notification Device certificate screen, if you do not already have a push certificate installed for the system, you will then be prompted to enter the credentials for an Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) certificate. This can be any valid AppleID. It is best to use an institutional AppleID (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) rather than a private one (e.g. email@example.com). Once you have entered a valid AppleID username and password, click Next.
Provided everything is working, you’ll then be prompted that the system meets the Profile Manager requirements. Click on the Finish button to complete the assistant.
Click Finish to complete the Profile Manager setup.
When the assistant closes, you will be back at the Profile Manager screen in the Server application. Here, check the box for Sign Configuration Profiles.
The Code Signing Certificate screen then appears. Here, choose the certificate from the Certificate field.
Unless you’re using a 3rd party certificate there should only be one certificate in the list. Choose it and then click on OK. If you are using a 3rd party certificate then you can import it here, using the Import… selection. Then click OK to save your settings. Back at the Profile Manager screen, you will see a field for the Default Configuration Profile. If you host all of your services on the one server (Mail, Calendars, VPN, etc) then leave the box checked for Include configuration for services; otherwise uncheck it.
Profile Manager has the ability to distribute apps and content from the App Store Volume Purchase Program or Apple School Manager through Profile Manager. To use this option, first sign up on the VPP site. Once done, you will receive a token file. Using the token file, check the box in Profile Manager for Volume Purchase Program” or “Apple School Manager” and then use the Configure… button to select the token file.
Now that everything you need is in place, click on the ON button to start the service and wait for it to finish starting (happens pretty quickly). The process is the same for adding a DEP token. If you’re just using Profile Manager to create profiles that you’ll import into other tools (Casper, Deploy Studio, Apple Configurator, etc) you can skip adding these tokens as they’re likely to cause more problems than they help with.
Once you’ve got everything configured, start the service. Once started, click on the Open Safari link for Profile Manager and the login page opens. Administrators can login to Profile Manager to setup profiles and manage devices.
The URL for this (for odr.krypted.com) is https://odr.krypted.com/profilemanager. Use the Everyone profile to automatically configure profiles for services installed on the server if you want them deployed to all users. Use custom created profiles for everything else. Also, under the Restrictions section for the everyone group, you can choose what to allow all users to do, or whether to restrict access to certain Profile Manager features to certain users. These include access to My Devices (where users enroll in the system), device lock (so users can lock their own devices if they loose them) and device wipe. You can also allow users to automatically enroll via DEP and Configurator using this screen.
Enrolling Into Profile Manager
To enroll devices for management, use the URL https://odr.krypted.com/MyDevices (replacing the hostname with your own). Click on the Profiles tab to bring up a list of profiles that can be installed manually.
From Profiles, click or tap the Enroll button. The profile is downloaded and when prompted to install the profile, click Continue.
Then click Install if installing using a certificate not already trusted.
Once enrolled, click on the Profile in the Profiles System Preference pane to see the settings being deployed.
You can then wipe or lock the device from the My Devices portal. Management profiles from the MDM server are then used. Devices can opt out from management at any time. If you’re looking for more information on moving Managed Preferences (MCX) from Open Directory to a profile-based policy management environment, review this article and note that there are new options in dscl for removing all managed preferences and working with profiles in Mavericks (10.9), Yosemite (10.10), El Capitan (10.11), Sierra (10.12), and now High Sierra (10.13).
If there are any problems when you’re first getting started, an option is always to run the wipeDB.sh script that resets the Profile Manager (aka, devicemgr) database. This can be done by running the following command:
The two profiles needed to setup a client on the server are accessible from the web interface of the Server app. Saving these two profiles to a macOS computer then allows you to automatically enroll devices into Profile Manager using Apple Configurator, as shown in this previous article.
When setting up profiles, note that the username and other objects that are dynamically populated can be replaced through a form of variable expansion using payload variables in Profile Manager. For more on doing so, see this article.
Note: As the database hasn’t really changed, see this article for more information on backing up and reindexing the Profile Manager database.
Once you’ve got devices enrolled, those devices can easily be managed from a central location. The first thing we’re going to do is force a passcode on a device. Click on Devices in the Profile Manager sidebar. Click on a device in Profile Manager’s admin portal, located at https:///profilemanager (in this case https://odr.krypted.com/profilemanager). Here, you can see:
General Information: the type of computer, capacity of the drive, version of OS X, build version, serial number of the system and the currently logged in user.
Details: UDID, Ethernet MAC, Wi-Fi MAC, Model, Last Checkin Time, Available disk space, whether Do Not Disturb is enabled and whether the Personal Hotspot is enabled.
Security information: If FileVault is enabled, whether a Personal Recovery is set and whether an Institutional Recovery Key has been installed.
Restrictions, whether any restrictions have been deployed to the device from Profile Manager.
Installed Apps: A list of all the apps installed (packages, App Store, Drivers, via MDM, etc).
In Device Groups: What groups are running on the system.
Certificates: A list of each certificate installed on the computer.
The device screen is where much of the management of each device is handled, such as machine-specific settings or using the cog-wheel icon, wiping, locking, etc. From the device (or user, group, user group or device group objects), click on the Settings tab and then click on the Edit button.
Here, you can configure a number of settings on devices. There are sections for iOS specific devices, macOS specific settings and those applicable to both platforms. Let’s configure a passcode requirement for an iPad. Click on Passcode, then click on Configure. At the Passcode settings, let’s check the box for Allow simple value and then set the Minimum Passcode Length to 4. I find that with iOS, 4 characters is usually enough as it’ll wipe far before someone can brute force that. However, if a fingerprint can unlock your devices then more characters is fine as it’s quick to enter them. Click OK to commit the changes. Once configured, click Save. At the “Save Changes?” screen, click Save. The device then prompts you to set a passcode a few moments later. The next thing we’re going to do is push an app. To do so, first find an app in your library that you want to push out. Right-click (or control-click) on the app and click on Show in Finder. You can install an Enterprise App from your library or browse to it using the VPP program if the app is on the store. Before you start configuring apps, click on the Apps entry in the Profile Manager sidebar. At the Apps screen, use the Enterprise App entry to select an app or use the Volume Purchase Program button to open the VPP and purchase an app. Then, from the https:///profilemanager portal, click on an object to manage and at the bottom of the About screen, click Enable VPP Managed Distribution Services. Click on the Apps tab. From the Apps tab, click on the plus sign icon (“+”). At the Add Apps screen, choose the app added earlier and then authenticate if needed, ultimately selecting the app. The app is then uploaded and displayed in the list. Click Add to add to the selected group. Then, click on Done. Then click on Save… and an App Installation dialog will appear on the iOS device you’re pushing the app to.
At the App Installation screen on the iPad, click on the Install button (unless you’re using Device-based VPP) and the app will instantly be copied to the last screen of apps on the device. Tap on the app to open it and verify it works. Assuming it does open then it’s safe to assume that you’ve run the App Store app logged in as a user who happens to own the app.
You can sign out of the App Store and the app will still open. However, you won’t be able to update the app as can be seen here.
Note: If you push an app to a device and the user taps on the app and the screen goes black then make sure the app is owned by the AppleID signed into the device. If it is, have the user open App Store and update any other app and see if the app then opens.
Finally, let’s wipe a device. From the Profile Manager web interface, click on a device and then from the cog wheel icon at the bottom of the screen, select wipe.
At the Wipe screen, click on the device and then click Wipe. When prompted, click on the Wipe button again, entering a passcode to be used to unlock the device if possible. The iPad then says Resetting iPad and just like that, the technical walkthrough is over.
Note: For fun, you can use the MyDevices portal to wipe your iPad from the iPad itself.
To quote Apple’s Profile Manager page:
Profile Manager simplifies deploying, configuring, and managing them all. It’s one place where you control everything: You can create profiles to set up user accounts for mail, calendar, contacts, and messages; configure system settings; enforce restrictions; set PIN and password policies; and more. Because it’s integrated with the Apple Push Notification service, Profile Manager can send out updated configurations over the air, automatically. And it includes web-based administration, so you can manage your server from any modern web browser. Profile Manager even gives users access to a self-service web portal where they can download and install new configuration profiles, as well as clear passcodes and remotely lock or wipe their Mac, iPhone, or iPad if it’s lost or stolen.
For the money, Profile Manager is an awesome tool. Apps such as Casper, AirWatch, Zenprise, MaaS360, etc all have far more options, but aren’t as easy to install (well, Bushel is… 😉 and nor do they come at such a low price point. Profile Manager is a great option if all of the tasks you need to perform are available within the tool. If not, then it’s worth a look, if only as a means to learn more about the third party tools and to export profiles you’ll use in other solutions.
Slowly but surely information about what I left 318 to do has been leaking out. And I wouldn’t say leaking. More like being broadcast to the world. I’ve worked on a few little things here and there at JAMF Software since my arrival. But my core duty is to shepherd the development and strategy behind a new Mobile Device Management tool called Bushel. A little more about Bushel is available here, and I’ll likely post more about it here when the time is right:
And to access the Bushel site:
And some of the writing that are now finding their way onto the Bushel blog:
SimpleMDM has updated their Mobile Device Management solution (my original writeup is here) to now include the ability to manage apps. The apps functionality really comes in two flavors. The first is the ability to load up an app. This is handled handed by clicking on Settings in the right hand navigation bar and then at the Settings pop-over, clicking on Apps. Here, you can load up an internal, enterprise app or an App Store app.
Once you’ve loaded an app you can deploy it to devices by clicking on a group and then using the contextual menu to “Assign Apps.” Simple, as the name implies.
The second aspect of SimpleMDM is to white and blacklist apps. Doing so is done by clicking on the contextual menu and then clicking on Rules. Here, you can Allow or Disallow any app that has been loaded into the app catalog.
In case you were there and would like a copy, here’s the slides from the presentation I did this week at the JAMF Nation User Conference 2012. If you weren’t there, then perhaps they will help you in some way.
The session was recorded so I’ll try and post when it becomes available for download.
One of the more common requests we get for iOS devices is to restrict what sites on the web that a device can access. This can be done in a number of ways. The best, in my experience, has been using a proxy.
In Apple Configurator 1.2 there’s an option for a Global HTTP Proxy for Supervised devices. This allows you to have a proxy for HTTP traffic that is persistent across apps.
Each Wi-Fi network that you push to devices also has the ability to have a proxy associated as well. This is supported by pretty much every MDM solution, with screens similar to the following, which is how you do it in Apple Configurator.
The above has I am all about layered defense, though. Or if a proxy is not an option then having an alternative. Another way to disable access to certain sites is to outright disable Safari and use another browser. This can be done with most MDM solutions as well as using a profile. To see what this would look like using Apple Configurator, see the below profile.
Now, once Safari has been disabled, you then need to provide a different browser. There are a number of third party browsers available on the App Store. Some provide enhanced features such as Flash integration while others remove features or restrict site access.
In this example we’re using the K9 Web Protection Browser. This browser is going to just block sites based on what the K9 folks deem appropriate. Other browsers of this type include X3watch, Mobicip (which can be centrally managed and has a ton of pretty awesome features), bSecure (which ties in with their online offerings for reporting, etc) and others.
While this type of thing isn’t likely to be implemented at a lot of companies, it is common in education environments and even on kiosk types of devices. There are a number of reasons I’m a strong proponent of a layered approach to policy management for iOS. By leveraging proxies, application restrictions, reporting and when possible Mobile Device Management, it becomes very possible to control the user experience to an iOS device in such a way that you can limit access to web sites matching a certain criteria.
Enrolling iPads into the JAMF Casper MDM solution is done through Apple Configurator, messages or using links deployed to iOS devices as web clips. When doing larger deployments the enrollment process can be automated so that devices are automatically enrolled into Casper MDM when they are set up using an Enrollment Profile that is manually downloaded from Casper and deployed to device. Additionally, a certificate can be needed if the certificate is not included in the profile, an option available as a checkbox in the setup. While you hopefully won’t need to download the certificate, we’ll start there:
Obtain the Certificate for the JSS Server
To obtain the trust certificate from the JSS Server:
Open the web interface for the JSS.
When prompted to trust the certificate, click on the disclosure triangle and then the checkbox to trust the cert, providing the administrative credentials when prompted.
Open Keychain Utility.
Click in the search field.
Search for JSS.
Control-click on the name of your server’s “Built-in Certificate Authority” entry.
Choose the option to Export.
When prompted, provide a name for the certificate in the Save As fiel.
Choose a location to save the certificate to using the Where field.
The .cer format is sufficient for our purposes.
Download the Enrollment Profile
To download an enrollment profile from Casper MDM:
Log into the web interface of the JSS.
Click on the link for Mobile Device Enrollment
At the Mobile Device Enrollment Invitations screen, click on the Enrollment Profiles tab.
At the Enrollment Profiles screen, click on Download for the appropriate profile (for most environments there should only be one)
Once the profile is downloaded, it will automatically attempt to enroll the computer you are downloading it from in the Profiles System Preferences pane.
Click on Cancel.
Click on the downloads link in Safari.
Click on the magnifying glass icon to see the .mobileconfig file.
You have now downloaded the .mobileconfig file that will enroll devices into Casper MDM.
Add the Profile To Apple Configurator:
To deploy the profile through Apple Configurator:
Open Apple Configurator on the client computer.
Click on Prepare in the row of icons along the top of the screen.
Drag the profile (by default currently called MDM-iOS5.mobileconfig) from the Finder into the list of Profiles.
The profile then appears in Apple Configurator (in this example, called MDM-iOS5).
Deploy The Casper MDM Enrollment Profile Through Apple Configurator
Once the profile is installed in Apple Configurator, let’s deploy it. In this example, don’t configure any other options. To deploy:
Set the name to be blank, numbering should be disabled, Supervision should be off, iOS should be set to No Change, “Erase before installing” should be unchecked, Don’t Restore Backup should be set in the Restore field.
Check the box for the newly added profile (MDM-iOS5 in this example).
Click on the Prepare button.
At the “Are you sure you want to apply these settings to all USB-connected devices?” screen, click on the Apply button.
The subsequent screen shows when devices are being configured. Here, dock the device to receive the profile (note, all docked iOS devices are going to be configured with this profile).
Once the device is connected, the profile will begin to install. You are then prompted to “Tap device to install profile”.
On the device, tap on the Install button.
At the Warning screen, tap Install.
Once the Profile is installed, tap Done.
You have now been enrolled.
If you then wish to unenroll, simply remove the profiles by tapping on profiles and then tapping on the Remove button. Per the MDM API, a user can elect to remove their device from management at any point, so expect this will happen occasionally, even if only by accident.
I have been added as a speaker at MacTech InDepth in New York. If you haven’t signed up yet, and you work with Mac OS X Server then you should really check out the sessions that have been planned:
The Elephant in the Room: The New Lion OS X is out, now what? There are a lot of differences to contend with between Lion and Snow Leopard. Now with the new Mountain Lion update, what changes can we expect to see? We discuss the differences in advanced services, GUI simplicity, and Apache management GUI’s. We help you understand the updates in the new OS and make the transition easier. We go over the new updates of Lion over the Snow Leopard server.
Setting solid foundations: To truly grasp the power of Lion, you need to set up solid foundations. We go over minimum requirements for internet DNS, and tackle router tricks. We discuss open directory and what it was used for.
Mobile Device Management 101: Apple’s IPCU/Apple Configurator: Mobile Device Management is vital to businesses, large or small. We have an extensive overview of profile manager and how you can use mobile device management on OS X. For those still using Snow Leopard, we go over your options and discuss the possibility of using third parties as a solution.
DNS, Ahh, run away, run away: In this session, we tackle DNS and break it down and show how simple it is to work with. We go over how DNS works and cover different components such as internet DNS and internal DNS.
Administering a Server with just Server.app: We show you how to use server.app and control administrative programs. For the services, we go over Address Book, iCal, iChat, and Mail.
Web Administration of OS X Server: Web Admin on Lion Server versus Snow Leopard is covered, dealing with the differences and how to use each system effectively. On Lion server, we cover using FTP without a GUI.
Going old school, using the old tools: After getting used to Snow Leopard we go over the major differences between Snow and Lion and how you can handle the transition. We go over server admin and what is still left in the program and why it has been left.
Deployment Part I: Tools & Concepts: In tools and concepts we learn that there aren’t stark differences between Lion server and Snow Leopard. NetBoot, NetRestore and third party tools are covered; we talk about how NetBoot works and what the differences between NetBoot and NetRestore are. Along with this we cover Network configuration requirements and using software update server.
Deployment Part II: DeployStudio: DeployStudio is covered in-depth; we cover creation techniques and management techniques.
Overall, this represents a nice, fast way to update your skills to allow for managing Lion Server and to get up to speed with those new to the platform. One thing I like about the session list is that it goes beyond the stock server implementation and looks at DeployStudio, MDM and other important topics not purely server oriented. I hope to see you all there!
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it – New York, New York
When planning to migrate from managed preferences to profiles, one of the important aspects to consider is automated enrollment. One of the more important aspects of automating a traditional managed preferences environment is to automate the binding to directory services. You do not bind to Profile Manager; however, you do enroll devices. Much like binding computers to Lion Server’s Open Directory (by default), certificates and host names are important aspects of the enrollment process.
Much as with local managed preferences, management via profiles can be done through the command line and without any involvement from a centralized source. I had written an article awhile back on using profiles from the command line.
You can also instead enroll devices into Profile Manager. Previously, I had looked at configuring Profile Manager. Manual enrollment in Profile Manager is the same as enrollment from iOS. But instead of using Apple Configurator to automate enrollment, you’ll use your existing imaging solution for automated enrollment of Mac OS X based clients. Therefore, we’ll use DeployStudio as an example for automating enrollment at imaging time.
To get started, you’ll need a functional DeployStudio configuration. You’ll also need a functional Profile Manager configuration. From within Profile Manager, click on the plus sign (“+”) in the lower left corner of DeployStudio and click on Enrollment Profile. Then click on the New Enrollment Profile entry that was created and click on the Download button to download the profile onto the server (when it attempts to install, simply click cancel to cache it to your ~/Downloads directory).
Click in the drop-down menu in the upper right hand corner of the screen and then click on Download Trust Profile. This will download the Trust Profile for the MDM solution to the client (when it attempts to install, simply click cancel to cache it to your ~/Downloads directory).
Next, drag the cached profiles into the ConfigurationProfiles directory of the DeployStudio repository. Now that you have the profiles that will be required for automated enrollment, open DeployStudio Admin (if it was open before, close it and then re-open it once you have copied the profiles to the DeployStudio repository). From within DeployStudio, we will create a new workflow, here called “Deploy Lion with Enrollment”. We will then choose to restore a target volume and automate the task.
Next, click on the plus sign (“+”) to add a new workflow item, sliding the task selection screen out automatically.
Next, drag the Automatic Enrollment Task item into the workflow. Once present, choose Previous task target from the Target Volume field. Next, choose the enrollment profile in the Enrollment profile field. Also choose the Trust profile that you just downloaded from the Trust profile field. Finally, check the Automate box and save your workflow.
Finally, we’ll add a Configure task to set the hostname (note that your workflows may already be far more flushed out than mine here. Click on Save and then test the workflow.
Once booted, if you are automatically enrolled then the process was a success. You should be able to see the device in Profile Manager.