Packaging and Deploying the macOS Installer

If you want to automate the upgrade process, you can package the macOS installer and install it automatically or allow users to install it via Self Service. This method is recommended for major macOS releases. You can erase the data on computers with macOS 10.13.4 or later by using the --eraseinstall flag. Additionally, you have the option of using a script to customize the end user experience.

Deploying a policy to upgrade computers to macOS 10.13 or later involves the following steps:

  1. Add the .app file for macOS to Jamf Admin or Composer.

  2. Create a smart computer group to identify eligible computers.

  3. Cache the InstallESD.dmg file using a policy.

  4. Create a smart computer group with the cached PKG file.

  5. Create a policy for upgrading macOS automatically or via Self Service.

Note: The name of the InstallESD.dmg file in Jamf Admin and Composer will vary depending on the version of macOS that you plan to deploy.

Requirements

  • Jamf Pro 9.21 or later
    Note: If you are using Jamf Pro 8.3-9.1, see the Deploying macOS 10.7 or Later with Jamf Pro Knowledge Base article for instructions on deploying a macOS upgrade.

  • Jamf Admin or Composer

  • The .app file for the version of macOS that you plan to deploy (For example, Install macOS Mojave.app.)
    You can obtain the latest .app file for macOS from the Mac App Store.

  • Managed computers with:

    • (Optional) Self Service

    • The system requirements for the version of macOS that you plan to deploy

Step 1: Add the .app File for macOS to Jamf Admin or Composer

Adding the .app File for macOS to Jamf Admin

Jamf Admin extracts the InstallESD.dmg file from the .app file so you can cache and install it using policies.

  1. Open Jamf Admin and authenticate to the Jamf Pro server.

  2. Drag the .app file to the main repository in Jamf Admin.
    Jamf Admin extracts the InstallESD.dmg file, analyzes its contents, and adds it to the master distribution point and Jamf Pro.
    The InstallESD.dmg file is displayed in blue text until you add it to a category.

  3. Double-click the package in the main repository.

  4. Click the General tab and choose a category for the package.

  5. Click OK.

Adding the .app File for macOS to Composer

Composer packages the .app file so you can cache and install it using policies.

  1. Open Composer and authenticate locally.

  2. Drag the .app file into a folder in Composer.

  3. Select the .app file from the Sources list in the sidebar.

  4. In the toolbar, click Build as PKG images/docs.jamf.com/10.9.0/jamf-pro/administrator-guide/images/download/thumbnails/16441173/C_Build_as_PKG.png .
    Note: If the Build flat PKGs preference is enabled and the package source contains scripts that are not supported by flat PKGs, a dialog will appear. To disable this preference for this package only, click Build as non-flat PKG. To build a flat PKG that ignores unsupported scripts, click Build as flat PKG. For more information on which scripts are supported by flat PKGs, see Adding Scripts to Package Sources in the Jamf Pro Administrator's Guide.

  5. Select the master distribution point in Jamf Pro, and then click Save.

Step 2: Create a Smart Computer Group to Identify Eligible Computers.

Create a smart computer group to identify computers that can be upgraded.

  1. Log in to Jamf Pro.

  2. Click Computers at the top of the page.

  3. Click Smart Computer Groups.

  4. Click New images/docs.jamf.com/10.9.0/jamf-pro/administrator-guide/images/download/thumbnails/18795852/Icon_New_Button.png .

  5. Use the Computer Group pane to configure basic settings for the group.
    To enable email notifications, select the Send email notification on membership change checkbox.

  6. Click the Criteria tab and add criteria to the group:
    Note: These are the minimum recommendations, consider adding other criteria to your smart computer group.

    1. Click Add images/docs.jamf.com/10.9.0/jamf-pro/administrator-guide/images/download/thumbnails/18795852/Icon_Add_Button.png .

    2. Click Choose for the "Operating System Version".
      Note: Only your 30 most frequently used criteria are listed. To display additional criteria, click Show Advanced Criteria.

    3. Choose an operator from the Operator pop-up menu.

    4. Enter the macOS version you want to upgrade in the Value field, or browse for a macOS version by clicking Browse images/docs.jamf.com/10.9.0/jamf-pro/administrator-guide/images/download/thumbnails/18795852/Browse_icon.png .

    5. (Optional) Repeat steps a through d to create a range of macOS versions to upgrade.

  7. Choose "and" from the And/Or pop-up menus to specify the relationships between criteria.

  8. To group criteria and join multiple operations, choose parentheses from the pop-up menus around the criteria you want to group.

  9. Click Save.
    Operations in the group take place in the order they are listed (top to bottom).
    Group memberships are updated each time computers check in with Jamf Pro and meet or fail to meet the specified criteria.

To view the eligible computers, click View.

Step 3: Cache the InstallESD.dmg File

After adding the .app file to Jamf Admin or Composer, you can cache the file using a policy. Caching the file ahead of time speeds up the upgrade process.

  1. Log in to Jamf Pro.

  2. Click Computers at the top of the page.

  3. Click Policies.

  4. Click New images/download/thumbnails/31064231/Icon_New_Button.png .

  5. In the General payload, enter a display name for the policy. For example, “Cache InstallESD.dmg”.

  6. Select Recurring Check-in as the trigger.

  7. Choose “Once per Computer” from the Execution Frequency pop-up menu.

  8. Select the Packages payload and click Configure.

  9. Click Add for the DMG or PKG file.

  10. Choose “Cache” from the Action pop-up menu.

  11. Specify a distribution point for computers to download the package from.

  12. Select the Maintenance payload and click Configure.

  13. Ensure that the Update Inventory checkbox is selected.

  14. Click the Scope tab and configure the scope of the policy. You can add the previously created smart group of eligible computers as the scope.
    For more information, see Scope in the Jamf Pro Administrator's Guide.

  15. Click Save.


The PKG file is cached on computers in the scope the next time they check in with Jamf Pro and meet the criteria in the General payload.

Step 4: Create a Smart Computer Group with the Cached PKG File.

Create a smart group of computers with the PKG file cached. The smart group will be used as the scope of the policy for installing the macOS upgrade automatically or for allowing users to download the upgrade via Self Service.

  1. Log in to Jamf Pro.

  2. Click Computers at the top of the page.

  3. Click Smart Computer Groups.

  4. Click New images/download/thumbnails/31064231/Icon_New_Button.png .

  5. On the Computer Group pane, enter a display name for the smart computer group. For example, “InstallESD.dmg Cached”.

  6. Click the Criteria tab.

  7. Click Add images/download/thumbnails/31064231/Icon_Add_Button.png .

  8. Click Choose for “Cached Packages”.
    Note: Only your 30 most frequently used criteria are listed. To display additional criteria, click Show Advanced Criteria.

  9. Choose “has” from the Operator pop-up menu.

  10. Click Browse images/download/thumbnails/31064231/Browse_icon.png .

  11. Click Choose for the PKG file.
    Note: The PKG file is not available as a value until it has been cached on at least one computer.

  12. Click Save.

Step 4: Create a Policy for Upgrading macOS

After caching the InstallESD.dmg file, you can create a policy that allows users to upgrade macOS through Self Service, or that upgrades macOS on computers in the scope automatically.

Creating a Self Service Policy for Upgrading macOS

  1. Log in to Jamf Pro.

  2. Click Computers at the top of the page.

  3. Click Policies.

  4. Click New images/download/thumbnails/31064231/Icon_New_Button.png .

  5. In the General payload, enter a display name for the policy. For example, “Upgrade macOS”.

  6. Choose “Once per Computer” from the Execution Frequency pop-up menu.

  7. Select the Packages payload and click Configure.

  8. Click Add for the InstallESD.dmg file.

  9. Choose “Install Cached” from the Action pop-up menu.

  10. (Optional) To use a script to install macOS, use the Scripts payload to add the script and configure the settings.
    For information, see Managing Scripts and Running Scripts in the Jamf Pro Administrator's Guide.
    Note: You can also use Jamf Helper to add additional end-user messaging.

  11. Select the Files and Processes payload and click Configure.

  12. In the Execute Command field, enter the file path to the installer with the --startosinstall command. For example, "/file/path/Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall".

    1. (Optional) To erase data while installing macOS, add the --eraseinstall flag to the command.

    2. (Optional) To suppress end-user messages during installation, add the --agreetolicense flag to the command.

  13. Click the Scope tab.

  14. Click Add images/download/thumbnails/31064231/Icon_Add_Button.png .

  15. Click the Computer Groups tab.

  16. Click Add for the smart computer group with the cached PKG file you just created.

  17. Click the Self Service tab.

  18. Select Make the policy available in Self Service.

  19. Configure how the policy is displayed in Self Service using the settings on the pane.

  20. Click Save.


The policy is made available in Self Service on computers in the scope the next time they check in with Jamf Pro and meet the criteria in the General payload. macOS is upgraded when users run the policy from Self Service.

Upgrading FileVault 2-enabled drives from macOS 10.7 or 10.8 prompts users to enter their password after reboot. Upgrading FileVault 2-enabled drives from macOS 10.9 or later automatically bypasses authentication after reboot.

Creating a Policy for Upgrading macOS Automatically

  1. Log in to Jamf Pro.

  2. Click Computers at the top of the page.

  3. Click Policies.

  4. Click New images/docs.jamf.com/10.9.0/jamf-pro/administrator-guide/images/download/thumbnails/19534601/Icon_New_Button.png .

  5. In the General payload, enter a display name for the policy. For example, “Upgrade macOS”.

  6. Choose “Once per Computer” from the Execution Frequency pop-up menu.

  7. Select the Packages payload and click Configure.

  8. Click Add for the InstallESD.dmg file.

  9. Choose “Install Cached” from the Action pop-up menu.

  10. (Optional) To use a script to install macOS, use the Scripts payload to add the script and configure the settings.
    For information, see Managing Scripts and Running Scripts in the Jamf Pro Administrator's Guide.

  11. Select the Files and Processes payload and click Configure.

  12. In the Execute Command field, enter the file path to the installer with the --startosinstall command. For example, "/file/path/Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall"

    • (Optional) To erase data while installing macOS, add the --eraseinstall flag to the command.

    • (Optional) To suppress user messages while installing macOS, add the --agreetolicense flag to the command.

  13. Click the Scope tab.

  14. Click Add images/download/thumbnails/31064231/Icon_Add_Button.png .

  15. Click the Computer Groups tab.

  16. Click Add for the smart computer group with the cached PKG file you just created.

  17. (Optional) Click the User Interaction tab and enter messages to display to users or allow users to defer the policy.
    For more information, see User Interaction in the Jamf Pro Administrator's Guide .

  18. Click Save.


The upgrade installs on computers in the smart group depending on the trigger configured in the policy.

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