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 OS X 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 El Capitan Server, 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, APNS and Open Directory. 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 OS X Server page loads.
Setting Up Profile Manager
Provided the Welcome to OS X Server page loads, click on the Profile Manager service. Here, click on the Configure button.
At the first screen of the Configure Device Management assistant, click on Next.
Assuming the computer is not yet an Open Directory master or Replica, and assuming you wish to setup a new Open Directory Master, click on Create a new Open Directory domain at the Configure Network Users and Groups screen.
Then click on Next. At the Directory Administrator screen, provide the username and password you’d like the Open Directory administrative account to have (note, this is going to be an Open Directory Master, so this example diradmin account will be used to authenticate to various Apple tools if we want to make changes to the Open Directory users, groups, computers or computer groups from there). Once you’re done entering the correct information, click Next.
At the Organization Information screen, enter your information (e.g. name of Organization and administrator’s email address). Keep in mind that this information will be in your certificate (and your CSR if you submit that for a non-self-signed certificate) that is used to protect both Profile Manager and Open Directory communications. Click Next.
At the Confirm Settings screen, make sure the information that will be used to configure Open Directory is setup correctly. Then click Set Up (as I’ve put a nifty red circle next to – although it probably doesn’t help you find it if it’s the only button, right?).
The Open Directory master is then created. At the Organization Information screen, enter the name of the contact information for an administrator and click on the Next button. Even if you’re tying this thing into something like Active Directory, this is going to be a necessary step (unless of course you’re already running Open Directory on the system). Once Open Directory is setup you will be prompted to provide the information for an SSL Certificate.
At the Organization Information screen, enter your information and click Next.
At the Configure an SSL Certificate screen, choose a certificate and click Next.
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.
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.
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), and El Capitan (10.11).
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:
Automating Enrollment & Random Management Tips
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:
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.
krypted September 27th, 2016
Apple has defined some best practices to be taken when using Profiles. Obviously these don’t cover every situation, but they cover all but edge cases and lay out a pretty good description of why you should do the things we’ve mostly figured out to do by trial and error thus far. Great job to the OS X Server documentation team! https://help.apple.com/profilemanager/mac/5.1.5/#/apdE3493-C50A-4E9E-A1B6-CBCBC8C73507
krypted August 2nd, 2016
Posted In: Mac OS X Server
krypted May 6th, 2016
Creating a classroom is a pretty straight forward process in Profile Manager. To do so, open the Profile Manager web interface and click on Classes in the sidebar. For your first class, click Add Class (for future ones, click the plus sign (+).
At the New Class screen, click into New Class in the title bar and provide a name for the class. Optionally, provide a description, as well. Click on the Save button to save the class.
Then click on the Instructors tab and use the plus sign towards the bottom of the screen and then choose the user or group you’d like to add as the Instructor for the class. Click on the Students tab to add a user or group as a student.
Next, click on the Devices tab and then click on the plus sign (+) at the bottom of the screen. Here, click on Add Device Groups to add a group of devices.
Additionally, check the box for Shared if the iPads will be shared iPads.
Click OK once you’ve added the appropriate Device Group, and then click on the Save button to save the class setting.
krypted April 15th, 2016
I’ve written a number of articles on automating MDM enrollments using Apple Configurator in the past. In Apple Configurator 2, there are some new options that make the process much easier than it’s ever been in the past. To get started, let’s open Apple Configurator 2 and click on a Blueprint we’d like to apply to devices being prepared during a mass iPad or iPhone enrollment through Apple Configurator. Control-click on the Blueprint to set up for automated enrollment and click on the Prepare button.
At the Organization screen, select the organization you’d like to enroll your device in and click on the Next button.
At the Server screen, select to enroll in an MDM server.
At the Define an MDM Server screen, type the name of a server and click Next.
The server is then located and provided the Apple Configurator 2 system can communicate with the server, you’ll get a choice of the MDM service to enroll into. Select the certificate and click Next.
At the Supervise Devices screen, select whether you’d like to supervise devices enrolled using Apple Configurator 2. Click Next.
At the Configure iOS Setup Assistant screen, choose whether to skip some screens during the initial configuration of the device and click on Prepare.
Now, during the preparation in Apple Configurator, you’ll be able to enroll iOS devices into Profile Manager (or another MDM) en masse.
Additionally, the traditional method of enrollment (Configurator 1) still works. Here, you’d download a trust profile, done using the name in the upper right corner of the Profile Manager interface and then choosing Download Trust Profile.
You’ll also need the Enrollment Profile, accessed using the plus sign (+) in the lower left corner of the screen and choosing Enrollment Profile.
The two are then added to the Profiles of a blueprint in Apple Configurator 2. You can also use the Settings for a device group to set placeholders for devices so they’re automatically assigned to a group during mass enrollments like this.
Overall the options in Apple Configurator 2 with Profile Manager or another MDM are way easier to use than in previous versions. I think a lot of new administrators will be able to easily get used to this workflow. Enjoy!
krypted November 4th, 2015
The latest and greatest of the Enterprise Mac Admin’s Guide is now available for Pre-Order at http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Mac-Administrators-Guide-Second/dp/1484217055/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445529968. This is an interesting update. If you happened to see the previous edition, I’d described more about Casper than most of the other third party products on the market.
In this edition, there’s still an equal amount of information on Casper, but now there’s also more information on FileWave, and a whole chapter on the open source toolchain of products, including Munki and AutoPKG. The main reason I decided to update this title was actually the change from focusing on directory services (which still has plenty of page count) to focusing on profile management.
The most substantial update to the book was Bill Smith though. Bringing him in as a co-author provided a lot of new insight, new content, and a good bit of cleaned up text. He’s been great to work with!
This was a pretty big update, so hope you enjoy!
krypted October 22nd, 2015
Yosemite brought Xsan 4, which included a whole new way to add clients to an Xsan. Xsan Admin is gone. From now on, instead of scanning the network using Xsan Admin. we’ll be adding clients using a Configuration Profile. This is actually a much more similar process to adding Xsan clients to a StorNext environment than it is to adding clients to Metadata Controllers running Xsan 3 and below. But instead of making a fsnameservers file, we’re plugging that information into a profile, which will do that work on the client on our behalf. To make the Xsan configuration profile, we’re going to use Profile Manager. With OS X Server 5, this trend continues.
To get started, open the Profile Manager web interface and click on a device or device group (note, these are scoped to systems so cannot be used with users and user groups). Then click on the Settings tab for the object you’re configuring Xsan for.
Click Edit for the profile listed (Settings for <objectname>) and scroll down until you see the entry for Xsan.
From the Xsan screen, click Configure.
This next screen should look a little similar, in terms of the information you’ve plugged into the Xsan 4 setup screen. Simply enter the name of the Xsan in the Xsan Name field, the IP address or host names of your metadata controllers in the File System Name Servers field and the Authentication Secret from the Xsan screen in the Server app into the Authentication Secret field. Click OK to close the dialog.
Click Save to save your changes. Then you’ll see the Download button become clickable.
The profile will download to your ~/Downloads directory as Settings_for_<OBJECTNAME>.mobileconfig. So this was called test and will result in a name of Settings_for_test.mobileconfig. That profile will automatically attempt to install. If this is an MDC where you’re just using Profile Manager to bake a quick profile, or if you don’t actually want to install the profile yet, click Cancel.
If you haven’t worked with profiles that much, note that when you click Show Profile, it will show you what is in the profile and what the profile can do.
Simply open this file on each client (once you test it of course) and once installed, they’ll automatically configure to join your Xsan. If you don’t have a Profile Manager server, you can customize this file for your environment (YMMV): Settings_for_test.mobileconfig
krypted October 12th, 2015
In order to use the Apple Volume Purchase Program, you will need an MDM solution (Profile Manager, Casper, MobileIron, Meraki, FileWave, etc). Also, token options were traditionally for one to one (1:1) environments until iOS 9, which marked a change where you can now leverage per-device licensing. This removes the requirement that you need an Apple ID running on each device that you choose to install apps on. Suddenly, VPP is for multi-tenant environments. You can also use codes and options for iOS 7 and up as well as OS X 10.9 and up, but those will use Apple IDs. Also, if you install your vpptoken on OS X Server and you’re running that same vpptoken elsewhere, OS X Server will take all of the codes that have been issued for itself (feature or bug, you decide).
But this article isn’t about the fine print details of the new VPP. Instead, this article is about making Profile Manager work with your new VPP token. Before you get started, know that when you install your vpptoken, if it’s in use by another MDM, Profile Manager will unlicensed all apps with your other MDM. To get started, log into your VPP account. Once logged in, click on your account email address and then select Account Summary.
Then, click on the Download Token link and your token will be downloaded to your ~/Downloads (or wherever you download stuff).
Once you have your token, open the Server app and click on the Profile Manager service.
Click on the checkbox for Distribute apps and books from the Volume Purchase Program.
At the VPP Managed Distribution screen, drag the .vpptoken file downloaded earlier into the screen.
Click Continue. The VPP code email address will appear in the screen. Click Done.
Back at the profile manager screen, you should then see that the checkbox is filled and you can now setup Profile Manager.
The rest of the configuration of Profile Manager is covered in a previous article.
Note: The account used to configure the VPP information is not tracked in any serveradmin settings.
krypted September 27th, 2015
Troubleshooting push notification communications between OS X Server and Apple’s Push Notification can be a challenge. Especially with Profile Manager. One great tip I’ve learned over the years is that the APNS daemon, apsd, has a debug mode. To enable APNS debug logging, run these commands:
defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.apsd APSLogLevel -int 7
defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.apsd APSWriteLogs -bool TRUE
Then use tail -f to watch the apsd.log file at /Library/Logs/apsd.log. Be wary, as this can fill up your system. So to disable, use these commands:
defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.apsd APSWriteLogs -bool FALSE
defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.apsd APSLogLevel
krypted May 18th, 2015
Thanks to all the awesome work from Adam and Tanya Engst, Tidbits announced today that my Take Control of OS X Server is now available! To quote some of the Tidbits writeup:
Some projects turn out to be harder than expected, and while Charles Edge’s “Take Control of OS X Server” was one of them, we’re extremely pleased to announce that the full 235-page book is now available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket versions to help anyone in a home or small office environment looking to get started with Apple’s OS X Server.
As you’ll likely remember, we published this book chapter by chapter for TidBITS members, finishing it in early September (see “‘Take Control of OS X Server’ Streaming in TidBITS,” 12 May 2014). Doing so got the information out more quickly, broke up the writing and editing effort, and elicited reader comments that helped us refine the text.
Normally, we would have moved right into final editing and published the book quickly, but from mid-September on, our attention has been focused on OS X 10.10 Yosemite, iOS 8, and our new Take Control Crash Course series. We were working non-stop, and while we wanted to release “Take Control of OS X Server,” we felt it was more important to finish the books about Apple’s new operating systems for the thousands of people who rely on Take Control for technical assistance.
During that time, we had the entire book copyedited by Caroline Rose, who’s best known for writing and editing Inside Macintosh Volumes I through III at Apple and being the editor in chief at NeXT. Plus, we went over the book carefully to ensure that it used consistent terminology and examples, optimized the outline, and improved many of the screenshots.
The main problem with this delay was that Apple has now updated OS X Server from version 3.2.2 (Mavericks Server, which is what we used when writing the book) to 4.0 (Yosemite Server, which is all that works in Yosemite). Updating the book for Yosemite Server would delay it even longer. Luckily for us, veteran system administrators say that you should never upgrade OS X Server on a production machine right away. And even luckier, the changes in Yosemite Server turn out to be extremely minor (a sidebar in the Introduction outlines them), so those who want to get started now can use the instructions in the book with no problem. It’s also still possible to buy Mavericks Server and install it on a Mac running Mavericks, as long as you have the right Mac App Store link from the book. We are planning to update the book for Yosemite Server (which mostly involves retaking screenshots and changing the “mavserver” name used in examples) in early 2015 — it will be a free update for all purchasers.
You can find out more about the book at http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/osx-server. An update will be due out in early 2015, so stay tuned for more!
krypted November 24th, 2014