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macOS Ventura, MDM, and Your Business

Well, it’s that time of year again. One of our beloved clients of many years is about to call me a “party pooper” because each year I remind him that the latest and greatest version of macOS should not be installed in your business when it’s first released. For macOS Ventura, that day is today.

Why not?

Simply because it’s too early.

With every new version of macOS, iOS, and iPadOS, comes the need for other software and hardware developers to release updates or upgrades to their products to play nice with the new features and under-the-hood changes of the latest version.

While the majority of the businesses we support run most of the same applications, the context in which they are used can make a big difference in the impact of the new operating system. For example, if you’re not taking advantage of MDM yet (and you should be), and/or your users don’t have admin rights on their macOS devices (e.g. they can’t install new applications) then you will have more challenges with adopting macOS Ventura than MDM managed environments.

What’s changed – the short version?

Over the last few generations of macOS, Apple has been separating the operating system from 3rd party applications and the user. The goal, from our perspective, is moving to a paradigm where upgrading the version of macOS on your computer is as user-friendly as upgrading your iPhone or iPad. Along those lines, macOS Ventura comes with more under-the-hood changes to security and application integration that need to be considered.

As we’re known for saying, the “right time” to upgrade depends on which applications you run, what hardware accessories you have (printers, scanners, Wacom tablets), your user environment (admins or standard users) and now, most importantly, if you have an MDM tool in the mix.

One big change…

If you don’t care about the geeky details below, there is one big change we want you to know before you get back to your busy day. Apple has changed how new versions of macOS are offered to your end-users. Once a computer is running macOS Monterey, we can no longer prevent the user from upgrading to macOS Ventura. If you’re one of our Managed Clients, we already reached out to you about this last week, along with a related bug in macOS Monterey 12.3 through 12.6.

In short, if you’re administering devices running macOS Monterey, macOS Ventura is considered a “major update” (as opposed to an upgrade) and can be delayed for a maximum of 90 days; it can no longer be blocked indefinitely until your environment is ready).

This is a major paradigm shift with implications for how most businesses have managed their fleet of devices for years. If your team runs an application, device, or application plug-in, that currently is not macOS Ventura compatible, you will need to upgrade it in the next 90 days.

Next month we will start talking about how to re-design your annual IT budgeting and planning to adapt to this new lifecycle, so keep an eye out. Thanks for your time and attention thus far! If you want more geeky detail, keep reading below!

Now, the geeky detail.

We’ve checked many of the major applications our clients use and compiled the notes below. Since macOS Ventura hit the streets today, we will likely see updates in the next week or two from many of these developers regarding their product compatibility. Note, all of this info is as of their various sites this morning:

These apps are ready (assumes you’re running the latest version):

  • Box Drive & Box Edit
  • BusyCal
  • Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC)
  • MS Office via M365
  • Omni apps
  • Sophos Intercept X
  • Vectorworks 2022
  • VPN Tracker 365

These apps are not (still testing and optimizing):

  • 1Password 8
  • Adobe CC
  • DNSFilter
  • FileMaker Pro 19
  • Papercut
  • Suitcase Fusion (Extensis Font Management)­
  • Zoom

These apps have no official stance (i.e. not ready):

  • BusyContacts
  • CrashPlan
  • Dropbox
  • LastPass
  • MS Office 2021 and older
  • QuickBooks 2022
  • Wacom

In general, the apps that are ready are advertising it. If they are silent, or mention only a specific version is being tested, assume they aren’t ready and older versions likely won’t be compatible, ever. For example, FileMaker Pro v19 is being tested and will get a patch, while v18 and older likely won’t ever be officially compatible. If you run older software, your experience will be unpredictable at best.

If you don’t have MDM in your environment yet, we strongly recommend you embark on that journey before any of your devices are upgraded to macOS Ventura. And given Apple’s change in the upgrade path of the macOS lifecycle, we will likely change our practice next year, and make a recommendation to upgrade to macOS Ventura around Q2 or early Q3, to ensure your entire fleet is ready before next fall’s expected release of macOS 14 (whatever it may be named!).

Keep an eye out for some forthcoming posts regarding macOS Ventura, MDM for managing your fleet, and retooling your IT lifecycle of your hardware to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape!

[Update as of Thursday; November 3, 2022]

– 1Password still does not specify macOS Ventura compatibility.
– BusyContacts states it is fully compatible with macOS Ventura, if you’re patched to the latest version.
– Crashplan states that the Code42 app and insider risk agent with preservation versions 11.0.0 and later are compatible with macOS Ventura. Preservation agent requires version 12.0.0 or later.
– Dropbox is still testing and states macOS Monterey is the most recent supported version compatible with their product.
– Zoom is still testing and recommends staying with macOS Monterey for the time being.

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