In the weeds with the App Installers preview

Digging into validating App Installers deployments within Jamf Pro and locally on a computer in scope. 🔍

Back when Jamf Pro version 10.37 was in beta there were quite a few conversations around the preview of App Installers in the beta forums. Now that 10.37 and the App Installers preview are generally available I thought I'd take some of the info from my posts in the beta forums and share them here. The focus here is mainly on validation: how to see that an app installed, where to look for that validation, stuff like that.

(I'm drafting this post early and assuming some of this will be addressed in Jamf blog and Marketing materials around the feature, so I'll keep things concise.)

Image source: Jamf
App Installers deploys apps to Mac computers using the InstallEnterpriseApplication MDM command. This is the same mechanism I mentioned in my post around the new redeploy API endpoint, which means you can check on it on a Mac the same way by popping something like this into Terminal:

log show --info --debug --predicate 'subsystem == "" AND category == "ManagedApps"' --last 1h

In the return you should see something like this (the example throughout these screenshots will be Mozilla Firefox):

style="text-align: left;">2022-03-22 09:37:34.841672-0500 0x472754   Default     0x0                  56971  0    mdmclient: [] Processing install phase 1 for 497ED91F-5BD5-40CD-B5D7-6CCEFE1B43BE ==> {
    FinalLocations =     (
            BundleID = "org.mozilla.firefox";
            Path = "/Applications/";

The receipts for the managed installs are written locally on a computer in scope to /var/db/ConfigurationProfiles/Settings/Managed Applications/Device/_Completed and are named with a long UUID followed by installinfo.plist.

Example of an installinfo.plist file for a managed install of Firefox on a computer.

The installinfo.plist file will contain basics about the app installation, including the InstallUUID that matches the UUID in the filename, the path of the installed app, and other MDM command info.

Partial screenshot of the installinfo.plist file for the latest Firefox App Installer deployment.

Receipts for the installations via App Installers/InstallEnterpriseApplication will be in /var/db/receipts on the computer and display on the computer record in Jamf Pro under the tab.

Screenshot of package receipts on a computer record showing Firefox was installed under the tab instead of the Jamf Pro tab.

You'll see the installation as an InstallEnterpriseApplication command in the Management History tab on the computer record.

Screenshot showing the completed InstallEnterpriseApplication command in the management history on a computer record in Jamf Pro.

Installation attempts happen on an ongoing basis as of 10.37, and if the app is open the App Installer deployment will send the InstallEnterpriseApplication command 3 times every few hours. From what I understand if the attempts fail and the command is not acknowledged by the device it won't attempt the deployment again until either the App Installer deployment is updated (by toggling it off/on or a new version of the app becoming available) or the computer is removed and re-added to the scope of the deployment.

In terms of user interaction, there isn't any in the current state of the preview. To show apps in Self Service you'd want to retain whatever other policies you currently have in Self Service for apps you are updating/deploying with App Installers. 

Keep in mind that App Installers is currently in preview. You can provide feedback on the preview feature by filing feature requests.

Jamf Pro App Installers is a feature available to all Jamf Pro Cloud subscription customers.

🔗 App Installers - Jamf Pro Documentation
🔗 Jamf App Catalog - Jamf Docs
🔗 App Installers FAQ
🔗 App lifecycle management - Jamf Solutions

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