Apple @ Work: Prevent employees from upgrading to the iOS 15 and macOS Monterey public betas through your MDM
Apple’s public betas for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey have been available for the past few weeks. While there is a lot of excitement around them for business and personal reasons alike, there is also a lot to consider for IT departments when employees want to upgrade before they’ve had time to verify and rectify any compatibility issues. So let’s look at how IT departments can limit employees upgrading to the beta versions of Apple’s next-generation operations system.
About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers managed an enterprise IT network from 2009 to 2021. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.
The first thing to mention is there is a big difference in IT departments running beta copies on iOS and macOS on their devices and having other departments choose to upgrade. IT professionals are often patient enough to deal with bugs and build workarounds, such as running the beta in a virtual machine. However, when non-IT employees upgrade early, they may break mission-critical parts of their workflows and required tasks without a fix coming for many months. IT professionals can also apply to be on AppleSeed beta program that lets you access test plans from Apple to verify your network and applications are ready for the new versions.
How to prevent employees from installing iOS and macOS betas
Devices only get access to the iOS and macOS betas after installing a configuration profile from Apple, so the simplest way to keep your employees from upgrading to the iOS and macOS betas is to prevent them from installing configuration profiles.
Any modern MDM solution will allow you to block configuration profile installation on iOS devices you manage, so once you push that configuration change – you’re taken care of for the beta season.
On macOS, because there are more options for managing things, it’ll vary a bit from different MDM vendors, but you’ll want to find a way in the software update settings to block beta software updates. Once this is enabled, end users will be unable to access pre-release macOS software. One caveat is if the user receives the macOS Monterery installer from outside of Apple’s download system. It could then be installed. You’ll want to find out if your MDM solution can block particular applications. If it can, you’ll want to block Install macOS Monterey Beta.app
Putting these simple controls in place will keep your users from causing havoc with their iOS and macOS devices during the summer beta season. I am much more likely to deal with betas on my iPad than on my Mac, so I am still running macOS Big Sur. As the betas progress along, I’ll upgrade to learn more about the OS.
Best of luck during the beta testing season!
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