Adventures in Fast User Switching on macOS Monterey

For many years I have managed Fast User Switching (FUS) on macOS in the maner documented by Apple; with the MultipleSessionEnabled key in the .GlobalPreferences payload. Unfortunately as of Big Sur the documentation is no longer complete.

I didn’t notice until last week but Nathaniel Strauss reported this problem over a year ago in his article “Managing Fast User Switching Broken in Big Sur.” He also recently confirmed that he has had no luck in getting Apple to restore the functionality via that key.

However thanks to a push in the right direction from colleagues on the MacAdmins Slack, I now have control of FUS reliably working via configuration profile or defaults commands. Read on for the details…

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Managing AirDrop Discoverability Options

AirDrop debuted on the Mac with the release of OS X 10.7 Lion in 2011. A short time later Jared Nichols discovered a way to disable the feature that was then widely shared by Rich Trouton.

For over a decade MacAdmins have been successfully using this preference in scripts and later in configuration profiles to disable AirDrop. However the payload is not officially documented by Apple.

Another preference that Apple has not documented is the ability to configure the discoverability settings of AirDrop: Everyone, Contacts Only or No One.

The method to set this preference has been revealed over the years, but a recent discussion in the MacAdmins Slack made me realize it has not been widely shared. Read on for the details.

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MunkiReport and Python 2

Apple announced the deprecation of Python 2 with the release of macOS 10.15 Catalina in 2019, however MacAdmins have never known when it would actually be removed. The general expectation was with macOS 13 due out later this year, but Apple surprised us when it published the macOS Monterey 12.3 Beta Release Notes last week.

Open source projects have been planning for this eventuality, with many having already completed the transition to Python 3 by shipping their own version or using clever code to locate an appropriate version already installed.

MunkiReport is no exception, development of version 6 is well underway, but is not ready yet. Thanks to the quick work by a number of talented contributors to the project, an update to version 5 has been released to bridge the gap until MR6 with Python 3 is ready.

However there is a major change admins will need to account for, so read on for the details.

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Optimization preference added to Microsoft AutoUpdate

Paul Bowden shared a new preference for Microsoft AutoUpdate last month that configures the method MAU uses to apply updates. The preference was created to work around security agents that can cause problems when updating Office on macOS.

The option is just now being highlighted despite being added to MAU 4.40 back in October 2021. Read on for the details.

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Set Slack’s default sign-in workspace with a configuration profile

One of the ways MacAdmins try to help onboard new colleagues is by automating the setup of devices and services. Simplifying first day setup for can go a long way toward helping a new hire feel confident in their new role.

One first-day task in many workplaces is getting that new employee setup in Slack. Having them type out a potentially lengthy workspace address isn’t great, so Slack has provided the ability to use a default sign-in file to direct them to the right place. Unfortunately it has to be in the User’s Downloads folder to work.

While this might work in one-off situations it isn’t ideal for automation. Thankfully a Slack developer responded to my enhancement request in the MacAdmins Slack and as of a couple months ago this can now be configured with a profile. Read on for the details.

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Microsoft Teams support coming to AutoUpdate in March

Paul Bowden announced last week that AutoUpdate will officially begin handling Microsoft Teams with the release of MAU 4.45 on March 15, 2022.

“We’ve done a lot of analysis with various Teams builds … and we see quite a lot of segmentation because of the way the Teams built-in updater works right now, and that’s the reason why we’re switching over to MAU,” Bowden said.

“The good impact is that you’ll see a lot more consistency with your Teams versions out there. MAU will fully support not updating Teams while you’re in the middle of a conference call and all the good stuff like that.”

If you are defining an app array in your configuration profile for MAU or using MAUCacheAdmin there are a few things you’ll need to change. Read on for the details.

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Control the CUPS web interface with a Munki NoPkg

Back in September 2021 a colleague on the MacAdmins Slack was looking for a way to programmatically enable the CUPS web interface on macOS. I had recently completed my article “Allow standard users to manage printers with a Munki NoPkg” and realized I could easily adapt it to handle this task.

This isn’t something I use in production but read on for the details if you think it could be helpful in your environment.

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Cleanup options added to MAUCacheAdmin

Microsoft AutoUpdate 4For years I have been manually cleaning up old packages on my Microsoft AutoUpdate caching server. Since I was having to manually move around collateral files for the Manifest Server component each month it wasn’t much extra work.

However now that I have switched from a custom Manifest Server to Microsoft’s official curated deferral channels, I wanted to configure my caching server to be completely hands-off.

Spurred on by a request on GitHub I decided to finally write some code to automate the cleanup process. The changes were merged into MAUCacheAdmin back on November 30. Read on for the details.

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Configure MunkiReport groups with a Munki NoPkg

Historically I have always configured our MunkiReport Machine Groups with a configuration profile delivered via Munki. However starting with macOS Big Sur, the ability to manage profiles from the command line was removed meaning Munki can no longer install or remove them.

One option would have been to move these configuration profiles to our MDM as I did for our other profiles. However I didn’t want to duplicate the effort of managing computer group assignments in both Munki and MDM.

Since maintaining groups in Munki to aid in software deployments is still required, I decided to use NoPkgs to configure our MunkiReport Machine Groups. This way they will be automatically changed whenever a computer gets moved to a different group (via included manifest). Read on for the details.

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MacAdmins Podcast, Episode 240

A few months ago I was invited to be a guest on the MacAdmins Podcast to talk with the crew about Apple Business Manager. I’ve been listening to “the pod” for years so I was honored to be asked.

October is busy with playoff baseball but the scheduling worked out and we recorded on the ALCS travel day after Game 2. So of course we talked about baseball photography a little as well.

It was my first time as a podcast guest but Tom, Charles and Marcus made it easy plus James did a great job editing out my flubs!

macOS Monterey was released between when we recorded and when it published this morning, so some of the new features we talk about as “coming soon” are now available. MacAdmins finally have the ability to add off-the-shelf Macs purchased at retail into ABM using the new Configurator for iOS app!

Hopefully we answered some questions, shed some light on potential pitfalls and provided helpful information for anyone who uses ABM or needs to set it up for the first time.

If you don’t already subscribe to the podcast head on over to the site to listen:
MacAdmins Podcast, Episode 240: Kevin M. Cox on AxM