The Breaking Change in macOS Big Sur: an MDM is Now Required

macOS® Big Sur is the first major OS release from Apple® since Y2K.

macOS Big Sur’s release will be the first time since the year 2000 that Apple is incrementing a major version number of macOS, jumping from macOS Catalina version 10.15 to macOS Big Sur version 11. 

Based on the semantic versioning scheme, which is a broadly accepted simple set of rules and requirements that define how software version numbers are assigned and incremented, a major version update must be incremented if any backwards-incompatible changes are introduced in the release. 

The rules of which digit to update or increment directly relates to the impact of the underlying code changes.

Backwards incompatibility, required for a major change, implies that something is changing in this year’s macOS release that is a breaking change which vendors and administrators will need to address.

So, what is the breaking change in macOS Big Sur? The macOS version history on Wikipedia calls out ARM support, new icons, and GUI changes for macOS Big Sur, but this doesn’t tell the entire story. 

Although Apple hasn’t released a definitive answer, testing with macOS Big Sur betas uncovers another major version change under the hood of macOS that very well may be the reason Apple is upgrading from macOS 10.15 to macOS 11.

The Real Reason for the Major Upgrade? 

In macOS Big Sur, the command line Profiles Tool is getting a major version update, jumping to Version 8 from Version 7 which shipped with macOS Catalina.

The Apple man pages give insight into what is changing in this major version upgrade.

Figure 1: Screenshot of the man page for the profiles command version 7.17 running on macOS Catalina

Figure 2: Screenshot of the man page for the profiles command version 8.04 running on macOS Big Sur beta. It can be seen in this screenshot that the man pages reference macOS Big Sur as 10.16 not as 11.0. It seems like a team at Apple may have missed the memo about the major version change. (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Scott Reed. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/macos-big-sur-mdm-required