macOS Upgrades

Apple regularly provides major and minor improvements to macOS:

  • macOS Update—An incremental update to the previously released major version. For example, macOS Catalina 10.15.1 is an update to macOS Catalina 10.15

  • macOS Upgrade—A major upgrade to a new version of macOS that includes many new features. For example, macOS Catalina is an upgrade to macOS Mojave.

For more information about how to update to minor macOS releases, see macOS Updates.

When upgrading macOS, you must first create a device group for target computers. Then you can upgrade macOS using one of the following methods:

  • 1:1 computers—After the device group is created, you can upgrade 1:1 computers by installing the app on the target computers in the scope.

  • Shared or lab computers—After the device group is created, you can upgrade shared computers by downloading the app on target computers and then either using Apple Remote Desktop or a script in Jamf School to install the upgrade.

General Requirements

To upgrade computers to macOS Catalina, you need the following:

  • Managed computers with macOS 10.9.5–10.14.6

  • The macOS Catalina app from Apple School Manager. For more information, see Select and buy content in Apple School Manager in Apple's Apple School Manager User Guide.

    Note: After adding the app, you must synchronize Apple School Manager with Jamf School. For more information on how to synchronize, see Synchronization.

Creating a Smart Group for Target Computers

  1. In Jamf School, navigate to Devices > Groups.

  2. Click +Add Group.

  3. Enter a name for the group in the Group Name field.

  4. (Optional) Enter a description for the group in the Description field.

  5. Select Smart Group for the group type and click Add.

  6. Click the Members payload.

  7. To filter group membership by computers with a macOS version between 10.9.5–10.14.6, click +Add Filter and do the following:

    1. Choose "Operating System" from the criteria pop-up menu.

    2. Choose "equals" from the operator pop-up menu.

    3. Choose "macOS" from the value pop-up menu.

    4. Enter "10.9.5" in the minimum value field.

    5. Enter "10.14.6" in the maximum value field.

  8. (Optional) Add any additional filters and criteria as needed by clicking +Add Filter.

  9. Select Match all rules.

  10. Click Save Scope.

  11. (Optional) If you are upgrading 1:1 and shared computers, repeat steps 2 through 10 to create separate smart device groups for each.

The group membership is displayed in the table below scope.

Upgrading 1:1 Computers

  1. In Jamf School, navigate to Apps > Apps in the sidebar.

  2. Select the checkbox next to the macOS Catalina app.

  3. Click Edit Scope.

  4. Enter the name of the device group of computers eligible for macOS Catalina that you previously created in the Scope field.

  5. Choose one of the following installation methods from the Install Type pop-up menu:

    • To install the app on devices automatically, choose "Change to automatic installation for all groups".
      The macOS Catalina app displays in the Applications folder and users are prompted to install the upgrade.

    • To allow users to install the app themselves, choose "Change to on-demand installation for all groups".
      The macOS Catalina app displays in Jamf School Self Service for users to upgrade at their convenience.

  6. Click Save.

Note: Users are not notified by Jamf School that the upgrade is available, so administrators should let them know when the upgrade is available. Administrators should also notify users that the upgrade could take several hours to complete and will force the computer to reboot to complete installation.

Upgrading Shared Computers Using Apple Remote Desktop

Requirements

To use Apple Remote Desktop to upgrade computers remotely, you must purchase and install Apple Remote Desktop on your computer. Apple Remote Desktop is available from the App Store. For instructions on deploying App Store apps, see Distributing Apps and Books Purchased with Apple School Manager and Distributing App Store Apps.

Procedure

  1. In Jamf School, navigate to Apps > Apps in the sidebar.

  2. Select the checkbox next to the macOS Catalina app.

  3. Click Edit Scope.

  4. Enter the name of the device group of computers eligible for macOS Catalina that you previously created in the Scope field.

  5. Choose one of the following installation methods from the Install Type pop-up menu:

    • To install the app on devices automatically, choose "Change to automatic installation for all groups".

    • To allow users to install the app themselves, choose "Change to on-demand installation for all groups".

  6. Click Save.

  7. Open Apple Remote Desktop and do the following:

    1. Select the computers you want to upgrade, and then click UNIX.

    2. Enter the following text in the field:
      /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall --agreetolicense

    3. Select the User option from the Run command as setting, and then enter "root" in the field.

    4. Click Send.

      Note: This step may take several minutes.

The computers download the latest installer for macOS Catalina and upgrade. If Apple Remote Desktop prompts you to reboot the system, select the system from the list and follow the prompts.

Note: Users are not notified by Jamf School that the upgrade is available, so administrators should let them know when the upgrade is available. Administrators should also notify users that the upgrade could take several hours to complete and will force the computer to reboot to complete installation.

Upgrading Shared Computers Using Scripting in Jamf School

  1. In Jamf School, navigate to Apps > Apps in the sidebar.

  2. Select the checkbox next to the macOS Catalina app.

  3. Click Edit Scope.

  4. Enter the device group of computers eligible for macOS Catalina that you previously created in the Scope field.

  5. Choose one of the following installation methods from the Install Type pop-up menu:

    • To install the app on devices automatically, choose "Change to automatic installation for all groups".

    • To allow users to install the app themselves, choose "Change to on-demand installation for all groups".

  6. Click Save.

  7. Navigate to Devices > Groups.

  8. Click +Add Group.

  9. Enter a name for the group in the Group Name field.

  10. (Optional) Enter a description for the group in the Description field.

  11. Select Smart Group for the group type and click Add.

  12. Click the Members payload.

  13. To filter group membership by computers with a macOS version between 10.9.5–10.14.6, click +Add Filter and do the following:

    1. Choose "Operating System" from the criteria pop-up menu.

    2. Choose "equals" from the operator pop-up menu.

    3. Choose "macOS" from the value pop-up menu.

    4. Enter "10.9.5" in the minimum value field.

    5. Enter "10.14.6" in the maximum value field.

  14. To filter group membership by computers with the macOS Catalina app installed, click +Add Filter and do the following:

    1. Choose "Managed App (Installed)" from the criteria pop-up menu.

    2. Choose "one of the following" from the operator pop-up menu.

    3. Choose "macOS Catalina (VPP, macOS)" from the value pop-up menu.

  15. (Optional) Add any additional filters and criteria as needed by clicking +Add Filter.

  16. Select Match all rules.

  17. Click Save Scope.

  18. Navigate to Scripts in the sidebar.

  19. Click +Create new script.

  20. Enter a name for the script in the Name field.

  21. Choose "Bash" from the Type pop-up menu.

  22. (Optional) Enter a description in the Description field.

  23. Choose when the script should run from the When to run pop-up menu.Note: It is recommended that you choose the "On a schedule" option. If you select this option, it is recommended that you test and stage this upgrade. The success of this workflow will vary based on network bandwidth.

  24. Enter the following in the Content field:
    #!/bin/bash -v/Applications/InstallmacOSCatalina.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall --agreetolicense

  25. Configure the scope of the script by clicking the + icon and adding the device group of computers eligible for macOS Catalina with the macOS Catalina app installed that you previously created to the script scope.

  26. Click Save.

Troubleshooting Failed Computer Upgrades

If the computers in scope fail to upgrade, you can do the following:

  • Check the network connection if the computer is unable to receive commands from Jamf School.

  • Run the script on fewer computers at a time if you have low network bandwidth.

  • Check the available disk space on the computers. The upgrade will fail if computers do not have enough available disk space. For more information about the disk space requirements, see macOS Catalina Technical Specifications from Apple's support website.

  • Ensure the computer meets the hardware requirements for the upgrade. For more information about the hardware requirements, see macOS Catalina Technical Specifications from Apple's support website.

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