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Apple Business Manager

Apple Business Manager ensures that every Apple device you purchase is associated with your corporate account before it’s shipped to you. That enables zero-touch configuration and eliminates much or even all of the manual set up. Here’s how we make this happen.

We’ll work with someone at your company to set you up with two Apple programs: Apple Custom Store and Apple Business Manager. You will merely need to respond to some email messages from Apple and a call with Apple to verify that they agree to Apple’s Terms & Conditions on behalf of your company.

Apple Custom Store provides a customized corporate store for purchasing Apple devices for your company. All devices purchased through your Apple Custom Store are automatically tied to your company until you intentionally release them, such as while decommissioning. This can help protect against theft or employees keeping devices they shouldn’t.

Apple Business Manager, is what enables us (or you) to enroll and manage devices purchased through your Apple Custom Store. When we say “manage” we’re talking about mobile device management, or MDM. MDM systems allow IT administrators to define “profiles” that specify your company’s settings and policies. Those might be email login credentials or security policies such as requiring each Mac to turn on their screensaver after 5 minutes of inactivity and require a passcode to unlock. An MDM system lets your company control when to install operating system updates, ensuring that nothing happens before you’re ready.

Don’t upgrade to Catalina Just Yet

We know you want to play with the new features, but Catalina is not something you should install right away. Apple changed the operating system in some fundamental ways that could break your essential apps or workflows.

32-bit apps don’t run anymore: To identify which 32-bit apps—and portions of apps—won’t work in Catalina, download and run the free Go64 utility from St. Clair Software. If you rely on any of the software it calls out, you’ll need to update or find an alternative.

Newly installed apps must be notarized by Apple: Notarization is a process Apple uses to verify that an app distributed outside the Mac App Store is free of malware. It’s likely that older apps already on your Mac when you upgrade will continue to work fine, but if you try to install an older, unnotarized app, that may not work.

Apps require more permissions than before: In the last few versions of macOS, you’ve probably seen apps asking for permission to do things like access data in Contacts, Calendars, and Photos. In Catalina, apps will have to ask for permission to access files in your Desktop and Documents folders, and external volumes. It’s possible that older software won’t understand.

We suggest you wait for the 10.15.3 or 10.15.4 update, or get in touch with us early in 2020 for a status update.

State of macOS

With the announcement of macOS Catalina 10.15, coming this fall, we’re recommending our customers upgrade to a minimum of 10.13 (High Sierra) and preferably 10.14 (Mojave). Earlier versions will be unsupported and won’t be getting updates. This means no security updates and software will stop being developed for these operating systems. We’re doing upgrades carefully and in person to ensure they go smoothly and don’t recommend they be done by your staff during crunch time.

15 inch Battery Recall Program

Apple has started a recall on 15 inch MacBook Pro laptops with batteries that could pose a fire hazard. These laptops were sold “primarily” between September 2015 and February 2017. To see if you might be affected, check this Apple page. You will be asked to enter your serial number. You can find your serial number by selecting “About this Mac” from the Apple menu.

Before taking your computer to Apple, make sure it is backed up completely with Time Machine or another backup application.

13-inch MB Pro Drive Program

Apple is servicing 13 inch non Touchbar MacBook Pros sold between June 2017 and June 2018 that contain a 128GB or 256GB solid state drive, which have an issue causing data loss. To see if your Mac is affected, visit this page and enter your serial number. If you take your computer in to be serviced, back up your entire computer first with Time Machine to an external drive. Alternatively, have a professional such as MacLab do this for you. Apple will replace the drive and return the computer to you with system software only. Your data will not be present. You (or a professional) will need to restore the data.

New MacBook Air and Mac Mini

The MacBook Air has been updated with a faster processor, Thunderbolt 3, Touch ID and Retina display. These are welcome upgrades and make a much improved laptop. Although we still prefer the MacBook Pro, the new MacBook Air looks like a good buy.

The Mac Mini can now be purchased with up to 2TB of SSD storage, 64GB RAM and the processor is up to 5x quicker. It also has Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, USB 3.0, HDMI and audio port. This could be an excellent desktop computer, and more flexible than an iMac since you can select your own display. The only thing the Mini lacks is a fast graphics card, which might be an issue if you work with graphic or video intensive apps all day.

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