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What is the "Apple" way of managing Macs in company environment? I've red about macOS server and Apple Remote Desktop which seems to share some management features. The later seems a bit dated, at least judging by it's website that didn't receive revamp like the rest of apple.com pages.

What I need is

  • ability to manage software updates
  • some network config like VPN
  • Active Directory config (yes it's mainly windows environment)
  • e-mail is provided by company's Exchange server

And what about apple ids? Is there any option to have company controlled apple ids? We don't want private apple id's flying around ;)

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macOS Server and Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) are just two of the tools used to administer Apple computers in or organization.

You could use macOS Server to sync up with Active Directory, but in my experience, you can simply join each machine directly to your AD server without the intermediary (in other words....it's not required)

As for ARD....YYMV, but personally, I would rather use custom scripts to push out applications and updates

Apple has an excellent service called Apple Deployment Programs which helps you manage everything from AppleIDs to macOS and iOS deployments. Contact your Apple business rep to help you set up this and your AppleIDs specific to your organization.

  • Does macOS Server let you wipe the macbook remotely if it's stolen? – SiliconMind Feb 13 '18 at 17:28
  • Currently no, but the new macOS Server for 2018 looks like that feature may be included. Currently, you would handle it with your organization's AppleID account. – Allan Feb 13 '18 at 17:37
  • In that case how to manage apple IDs? Can I create a business apple ID and link others to it so that I can then wipe it as the "admin"? – SiliconMind Feb 13 '18 at 21:38
  • Basically yes...but you want to get with a business rep to help you set it all up. – Allan Feb 13 '18 at 22:07
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Just to add to the other answers I would also be looking at an MDM or EMM, if you have lots of Macs.

Some examples are:

  • Jamf - Usually seen as ones of the best
  • Meraki - Free for up to 100 devices - not as full featured for Mac, better for iOS
  • Apple Profile Manager - This comes with macOS Server, I'm not sure about the newer versions but in my experience is less featured then the other MDMs
  • There is many more - need to research cost vs features

Apple seems to have been really pushing MDM's. Some major benefits are Apple's Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Apple's Volume Purchase Program (VPP). These two help tons with setting up devices and pushing apps. Also if you plan on imaging Macs, with APFS it makes it quite difficult. I talked to an Apple Systems Engineer recently about it and it can still work on High Sierra but he speculates that it may not on future releases of macOS, so having an MDM to manager Apps and scripts is a step in the right direction.

You also get the benefits of pushing profiles to the devices where you can control lots of settings on the Macs, such as Wifi connections, restrictions, etc. Each MDM has a different feature set.

  • I'd rather go with native approach offered by Apple. Nevertheless it's nor very clear how to set it up. At least not by just reading Apple's website which is odd. It seems that they push for direct contact... and then it turns out that there are no experts in this field in my country :D – SiliconMind Mar 13 '18 at 13:13
  • I tried to use just Apple products when I first started managing Apple devices as well. I found that they didn't have as many features as the third party ones and the support just wasn't there. This was a while back so your mileage may vary. Good luck in which ever way you go! – tyelford Mar 19 '18 at 1:09
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Just about the Apple ID : Each employee can make a unique id separate to their personal one AND without fixing it to a credit card : if you do the process on a mac when you get to the card bit there is the option “none” which is not visible on an ipad - how do I know - did exactly this last Tuesday...

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