Managed Preferences

Managed Preferences are manifest files that define preferences for computers and users. You can use the Jamf Software Server (JSS) to create Managed Preference profiles, which contain groups of Managed Preferences. You can also specify the users and computers for which a profile should be applied (called “scope”).

The JSS comes with manifest files for many common Managed Preferences so that you can easily add them to profiles. You can also add custom Managed Preferences by creating them manually or uploading a manifest file.

Levels for Managed Preferences

When you add a Managed Preference to a profile, you must specify a level at which to apply the preference. The level determines how and when the preference is applied. The levels available for each Managed Preference depend on the application or utility for which you are defining the preference.

If you have applied Managed Preferences using Apple’s Workgroup Manager, the level names in the JSS may be unfamiliar to you. The following table shows each level, its Workgroup Manager equivalent, when and how it is applied, and whether it is available for some or all Managed Preferences.

JSS Levels

Workgroup Manager
Levels

Applied at

Available for

User-level enforced

Always

Login with a login hook

Some Managed Preferences

User-level at every login

Often

Login with a login hook

All Managed Preferences

User-level at next login only

Once

Login with a login hook

All Managed Preferences

Computer-level enforced

Always (Applied to a computer object)

Reboot with a startup script

Some Managed Preferences

Unmanaged

Unset

Login or reboot

All Managed Preferences

Compatibility with Third-Party Providers

In macOS 10.7 or later, you can use more than one provider to apply Managed Preferences. In some cases, Managed Preferences applied using the JSS can interfere with or be interfered with by Managed Preferences from a third-party provider.

The following table shows the compatibility of Managed Preferences applied using the JSS and tested third-party providers.

Third-Party Provider

Local Home
Directory

Network Home
Directory

Mobile Home
Directory

Microsoft's Active Directory

Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Apple's Open Directory

Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

PowerBroker Identity Services
(formerly called “Likewise”)

Compatible

N/A

Incompatible

ADmitMac

Compatible

Compatible

Incompatible

Centrify

Compatible

N/A

Incompatible

Requirements

To apply user-level Managed Preferences, they must be enabled in the Login/Logout Hooks settings in the JSS. (For more information, see Login and Logout Hooks.)

To apply computer-level Managed Preferences, they must be enabled in the Startup Script settings in the JSS. (For more information, see Startup Script.)

Creating a Managed Preference Profile

  1. Log in to the JSS with a web browser.

  2. Click Computers at the top of the page.

  3. Click Managed Preferences.

  4. Click New images/download/thumbnails/15181895/New_icon.png .

  5. Use the General payload to configure basic settings for the profile.

  6. Use the rest of the payloads to configure the Managed Preferences you want to apply.

  7. (Optional) Manually create a custom Managed Preference:

    1. Select the Custom payload.

    2. Click Add images/download/thumbnails/15181895/Add_icon.png for Manual Setting.

    3. Configure the Managed Preference using the options on the pane.

  8. (Optional) Upload a manifest file:

    1. Select the Custom payload.

    2. Click Add images/download/thumbnails/15181895/Add_icon.png for Upload Manifest.

    3. Upload the manifest file.

  9. Click the Scope tab and configure the scope of the profile.
    For more information, see Scope.

  10. Click Save.

The profile is applied the next time computers in the scope check in with the JSS.

Related Information

For related information, see the following section in this guide.

Viewing Managed Preferences for a Computer
Find out how to view managed preferences for a computer or user.

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