I’m looking at the automation of my Mac computer setups for my home business use.
The following describes what I’d like to achieve and my key question is if Twocanoes MDS + Automaton is the way to achieve it or am I looking at the wrong product?
The entire Mac pre-install should comprise two separate independent stages/tasks:
- Installing and preconfiguring the bare macOS. This will include setting up:
a. Target OS partition
b. Partition Name (if not too hard)
c. Install macOS with preconfigured settings such as Region/Language
d. Setting up all email accounts
e. iCloud settings
f. System Preferences like:
i. General (colour themes)
ii. Desktop & Screen Saver
iv. Mission Control > Hot Corners
v. Disable Siri
vi. Spotlight settings
vii. Language & Region
ix. User & Groups
xi. Security & Privacy
xiv. Printers & Scanners
xviii. Energy Saver
xix. Date & Time
- Batch install of all applications and packages/plugins in a prescribed order.
The “batch install” task should be with Zero-Interaction, so any interaction based selections for each individual installer would be pre-configured. For instance, if a specific installer would normally show an “options” selection dialog with tick boxes where the user would be required to make the selections, those selections would be definable as some CLI parameters (or config file) so the installation would be able to go through w/o any blocks waiting for user to do something.
a. Mac AppStore
b. NAS - placed in application-specific paths so the Batch install “script” would be able to reference the installers from there.
The 1. and 2. respectively are OK to be triggered by the administrator (me).
However, once triggered it should be able to go through with the 1. or 2. fully w/o any blockages assuming the task is configured correctly and everything is located and accessible as expected.
• Avoid lock-in subscription-based systems
This is to be used in a very small home business needing to do the full re-install process max 1-2 a year on 1 or two machines (Mac Pro 2019 and MacBook Pro 2016).
• Of course if there is a commercial product that can do the above then I’m happy to pay for a license but not as an ongoing subscription, due to a low frequency of its usage in my home business.
Why am I looking at automating the Mac Setup process?
My fully installed and configured Mac Pro has 100s of packages installed as well as many email accounts and each time I need to do it from scratch it takes me about 1.5 - 2 weeks to get back to where it was before and even then the resulting configuration will not be 100% the identical.
When I saw Twocanoes MDS & Automaton, I thought that would be exactly what I’d need, but looking more into this problem space, I’m not sure anymore, i.e. if the MDS intended audience is rather IT departments of organisations who may be able to afford to pay some lock-in MDM subscriptions.
I’m new to this Mac setup automation so I may have made a few incorrect (unrealistic) assumptions in the above.
Any advice, recommendations, including any limitations on what’s doable, would be very much appreciated.
Thank you all in advance.