Our impressions from Apple’s 2020 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC)
Apple announced many new features for iPhone, iPadOS, WatchOS and macOS in its annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday, June 22, 2020. In this blog post, I’ll focus on the new enterprise features related to Apple device management and security.
Big Sur (macOS11)
Apple introduced big changes this year with Big Sur (MacOS 11). Apple announced that it will develop its own silicon for future Mac models, rather than using Intel's chips. All new Macs running on Apple Silicon will see gains in battery life and performance because of tighter integration with software and hardware. Developers won't have to race to build new apps that work with Apple Silicon as the next generation of MacOS, Big Sur, will come fitted with Rosetta 2, a program that automatically translates Intel apps into Apple Silicon. In the meantime, Apple will start shipping beta kits to developers this month. Apple says its first computer with Silicon will ship by the end of 2020, and the transition to Silicon will be "in the next two years."
Big Sur also includes some enhancements to Apple device deployment. The Auto Advance setup assistant helps users land at login. This capability requires Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager, and Power, Ethernet and Network must support DHCP. Lights out Management for Mac Pro enables the deployment of Macs at scale. Admins can remotely start, shutdown and reboot, even when devices are in an unresponsive state.
On the management front, Big Sur includes capabilities to better manage Mac software updates. For example, a supervised device can be forced to accept software updates and restart. You can also defer major OS updates and non-OS updates to 90 days.
And Big Sur includes the long-awaited ability to manage Mac apps. With Big Sur, apps can be removed on supervised devices and can have managed app configuration and feedback. Unmanaged apps can be converted into managed apps. This is not applicable for User Enrolled devices.
With Big Sur, iOS Profile Download is brought into macOS to offer the same security benefits as iOS. Once the Profile Downloaded notification is displayed, the user needs to visit the System Preferences pane to install the profile. The profile is available only for 8 mins after the download. With this, admins may have to lookout for any deployment workflow challenges.
One more update to talk about is the device serial number format change. There will be a 10-character random serial number that will be issued across the Apple product line. MDM vendors need to consider the new serial number format change with their existing and future solutions.
Later this year, the Mac App Store will help users understand apps’ privacy practices. App developers will need to enter privacy practice details into App Store Connect for display on their product pages.
BigSur will be compatible with MacBook 2015 and later, MacBook Air 2013 and later, MacBook Pro 2013 and later, Mac mini 2014 and later, iMac 2014 and later, iMac Pro 2017 and later(All Models), Mac Pro 2013 and later. (View here for more information)
Now let’s talk about the iOS14 announcements for the enterprise. Shared iPad for Business allows admin to assign storage for each user rather than assigning a fixed number of users per device. This is more convenient than restricting the fixed number of users on a device.
Beginning in iOS14, admins can mark mission critical apps as non-removable apps, which will prevent users from removing managed apps. The new Notifications setting on supervised devices prevents apps from displaying message previews provided with 3 different options to choose from. Admins can also choose the time zone for each device rather than setting the MDM server time zone globally. That plays an important role on how and when the updates, compliance, etc. can be pushed on to the devices . This feature doesn’t require Location Services.
Last, but not least, is the Per Account VPN for iOS. Admins can associate individual accounts with VPN just like they handle traffic for an app. Random MAC addresses will also start in iOS14. Whenever a device associates with a Wi-Fi network, it will use device random Mac address instead of device true hardware Mac address. This feature may cause some unexpected behaviors that enterprises may need to watchout for. However, users can disable in settings if needed and admins can disable in Wi-Fi settings, but warn users of privacy concerns.
As we all know, Apple emphasizes user privacy. Apple is adding a new section on each product page on the App Store to help users see a summary of the privacy practices of an app before downloading it. Developers have to self-report their privacy practices, including data collected by the developer and used to track users across companies, in a simple, easy-to-read format. Developers will be required to get user consent before tracking users. Users can choose which apps can have permission to track them and can change preferences as required. This is applicable for iOS14, iPadOS14 and Big Sur (macOS 11).
Safari brings more secure browsing with tapping the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites treat your privacy. It also warns if a password you are using is not secure. This is applicable for iOS14, iPadOS14 and Big Sur(macOS 11).
iOS14 is compatible with iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE (1st generation), iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPod touch (7th generation)
All in all, Apple is bringing a lot of exciting features across iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and macOS and I am amazed at the way these announcements happened via virtual conference and online breakout sessions. All this exciting content and information is made available by Apple in their Developer App which can be installed on iOS and macOS.