Creating and deploying packages with Jamf now

Creating packages and deploying them to Macs is a great way to get more from your Mac deployment, without a lot of hassle when you use Jamf Now.

September 29 2020 by

Jonathan Locast

Speaker: Chaz Matlon – Technical Support Engineer, Jamf

What is a package?

Chances are you have run into packages in the course of your time using Mac. A package is a file system directory that can be found in the Finder on a Mac as though it were a single file, despite often being a bundle of executable code and its associated recourses.

When we look at this from a Jamf Now perspective, this is a method for getting software to your users, simply, quickly, and effectively by leveraging your MDM (Jamf Now).

Package deployment requirements and resources

There are three things you will need in order to execute this:

  • Jamf Now Plus
  • Apple Developer Account membership
  • Jamf Composer

You will need to be on the Jamf Now Plus plan, you will need an Apple Developer Account membership in order to sign your package —something we will get into in a second—and you will need Jamf Composer, something you get with your Jamf Now Plus membership.

For this demo we packaged and deployed Mozilla Firefox.

Lets begin!

Steps 1
Log into your Jamf Now account and ensure that you are on the Plus plan within Jamf now. This will unlock a few new things, including Jamf Composer and a guide to Jamf Composer which you will want to download and install for this process.

Step 2
Once that is complete, open Jamf Composer and allow it to have “full disk access”.

Step 3
If you have Firefox already downloaded on your computer and are attempting to deploy to your users, simply drag and drop the application into Jamf Composer, which turns it into a source.

Step 4
Navigate to the menu within Composer, select Composer Preferences and let’s see how this package is being signed. You will need to have a developer certificate from your Apple Developer Account to make sure that is available for signature. If you don’t have a signature, you will get an error in your process and there really is no a way around it.

If you have your cert, Composer will recognize it and it will be in the drop down for selection.

Step 5
Once you have done this, simply click the button at the top of composer to “Build as PKG”. It will ask you where you want to save it. Select your location, and accept.

Composer will do its thing, package up your app, and put it in the location that you selected.

Step 6
You package is composed and you can now close Composer and navigate to your Jamf Now account

Click on Apps > Upload your App > and select your Package. It truly IS that simple.

Once uploaded, name this App/package what makes sense for you

Step 7
After this, you should be able to see it within your App library in Jamf Now, among the other apps that you are using.

Step 8
Navigate to “Blueprints” within Jamf Now, add the Package the same way you would any other app being added to a Blueprint and deploy! On the backend, Jamf Now is telling computers to install the specific app.

It is common for people to not build the packages themselves, but seek out a pre-created package online. If you do, you’ll just need to make sure of two components:

  • That it’s signed
  • That it’s created for distribution
    • If you have a package not made for that, contact Jamf Now support for help

Note: Composer automatically creates packages ready for deployment

Q & A

If we have a JAMF Pro subscription, do we need JAMF Now?

You do not. Jamf Now is a separate MDM compared to Jamf Pro.

Shouldn't permissions be checked as well?

It is always recommended to ensure the package permissions are configured correctly based on the contents of the package and where they will be installing to on the target machine.

Is there documentation in regard to properly configuring package permissions?

The Composer User Guide would be the best place to read on best practices for permissions when creating packages:

Diffrence between DMG.s and PKGS

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