TidBITS: Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
4 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

TidBITS: Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

TidBITS Articles
Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

This article was just published by TidBITS and sent to you at your request.

Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

By Adam C. Engst
http://tidbits.com/article/17633

If you’re running macOS 10.12 Sierra or earlier, and do not want to upgrade to 10.13 High Sierra right now, be careful because Apple has started pushing High Sierra to older Macs and making it all too easy to upgrade inadvertently. In short, if you get a macOS notification asking you to install High Sierra, click the Details button to launch the App Store app, and then quit it.


Here’s the story.

I realized this was happening because I’m testing Watchman Monitoring, an app and service used by Apple consultants, managed service providers (MSP), and large Mac-using organizations. Watchman Monitoring sits in the background, looking for events of interest on a Mac and notifying the consultant, MSP, or IT admin who’s responsible for keeping that Mac running. I have Watchman keeping an eye on all of our Macs, my parents’ Macs, and my aunt and uncle’s Macs — in other words, the Macs that I’ll have to fix if something goes wrong.

The first hint was an email from Watchman Monitoring telling me that my aunt’s Mac had started downloading the High Sierra installer. I was surprised, since she’s quite capable on her Mac but never undertakes major upgrades without asking me first. I saw that message while on a plane to MacTech Conference, and once I had landed in Los Angeles, I received additional messages from Watchman telling me that my father’s and uncle’s Macs had also downloaded High Sierra. That was too many simultaneous instances to be anything but an automatic push from Apple.


Happily, because I was flying to MacTech, within minutes of arriving at the hotel, I’d run into Watchman Monitoring’s Allen Hancock, who confirmed my suspicion that Apple was pushing out High Sierra updates. Additional details became available while talking to Jason Dettbarn, CEO of device management firm Addigy, since Addigy’s consultant and MSP customers who had used Addigy to block unauthorized macOS upgrades were scrambling to explain what was going on to their users. (At least they weren’t scrambling to deal with a bunch of users inappropriately installing High Sierra!)

What happens is that Apple’s Software Update automatically downloads High Sierra in the background and then presents the notification shown at the top of this article to the user, offering just two choices: Install and Details.

If you don’t want to install, the only way to cancel is to click Details, which launches the App Store app and displays the High Sierra description, and then quit App Store.

You almost certainly don’t want to click Install when that notification appears. Regardless of your opinion of High Sierra, installing it will take quite some time — an hour or more — and you should make sure you have a backup before starting, as per Joe Kissell’s advice in “Take Control of Upgrading to High Sierra.”

This automatic upgrade behavior may be annoying, but it isn’t new. It happened with Sierra as well, and Apple explains it in a support document. It’s tied to an option in System Preferences > App Store, the “Download newly available updates in the background” checkbox. There’s no real harm in deselecting that checkbox — you’ll just have to wait for updates to download when you decide to install.


(Do not disable “Install system data and security updates” because that option is essential for protecting your Mac against patched security vulnerabilities (see “Make Sure You’re Getting OS X Security Data,” 30 March 2016).)

Since I’m traveling, it has been difficult to verify certain details. For instance, although the Install macOS High Sierra app should be downloaded to your Applications folder, one of our editors who saw this notification in a Sierra virtual machine couldn’t find the installer after declining the install. We also don’t know if the installer is the full 5 GB in size, or if it’s a smaller “stub” that a few people reported getting in the first hours of High Sierra’s launch. Apple does say you can delete the installer if you want, so presumably it’s not being hidden somewhere.

High Sierra has been out for less than two months and has received two updates so far, as detailed in “macOS High Sierra 10.13 Supplemental Update Fixes Early Bugs” (5 October 2017) and “macOS 10.13.1 High Sierra Offers Minor Fixes and More Emoji” (1 November 2017). Both seemed highly targeted, so it seems likely that the next update will address more bugs and may get to the point where more IT admins and consultants recommend upgrading to it.

Post a comment

TidBITS members can unsubscribe from just-published articles at http://tidbits.com/subscriptions. TidBITS Talk readers will need to create a filter to delete these articles.

Article copyright © 2017 By Adam C. Engst . Reuse governed by Creative Commons License.




____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
Post only when you have something substantive to contribute.
Be polite and constructive, and comment on posts, not people.
Quote sparingly, if at all. We all read the previous message.
Start threads with a new message to [hidden email].
Read archives at: http://tidbits.com/pipermail/tidbits-talk/
Unsubscribe at: http://tidbits.com/mailman/options/tidbits-talk
____Mailing List Manners: http://tidbits.com/series/1141 ____
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: TidBITS: Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

Curtis Wilcox
On Nov 15, 2017, at 9:26 PM, TidBITS Articles <[hidden email]> wrote:

Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

By Adam C. Engst 
http://tidbits.com/article/17633


Since I’m traveling, it has been difficult to verify certain details. For instance, although the Install macOS High Sierra app should be downloaded to your Applications folder, one of our editors who saw this notification in a Sierra virtual machine couldn’t find the installer after declining the install. We also don’t know if the installer is the full 5 GB in size, or if it’s a smaller “stub” that a few people reported getting in the first hours of High Sierra’s launch. Apple does say you can delete the installer if you want, so presumably it’s not being hidden somewhere.

I got the notification on my 2016 MacBook Pro yesterday, clicked Details, and quit the App Store after it opened. Looking in /Applications/ now, I found the standard, full "Install macOS High Sierra.app" (5.21GB). In my App Store preferences, I have checked Automatically check for updates, Download newly available updates in the background, and Install system data files and security updates.

At work, someone got the prompt and *did* install High Sierra which I had to undo because we're still on FileMaker Pro 13 and it was crashing when trying to open FileMaker Server databases. Undoing meant backing up the user profile (no Time Machine backup), booting an external drive to wipe the internal APFS formatted volume, installing a Sierra disk image, and putting back the user profile and applications specific to the user.

There was a problem with the user's Keychain, the 'login' keychain was unlocking fine but the 'Login items' keychain wouldn't unlock. I tried deleting just the file containing 'Login items' but upon restart, when the user logged in, their profile wouldn't load, the spinner just kept going. There wasn't anything critical in the keychain so I ended up resetting it entirely. I don't know if this keychain problem was a coincidence or if the keychain was changed somehow by using it on High Sierra. The other complicating factor was the computer is bound to an Active Directory (AD) domain and it's an AD user account.




____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
Post only when you have something substantive to contribute.
Be polite and constructive, and comment on posts, not people.
Quote sparingly, if at all. We all read the previous message.
Start threads with a new message to [hidden email].
Read archives at: http://tidbits.com/pipermail/tidbits-talk/
Unsubscribe at: http://tidbits.com/mailman/options/tidbits-talk
____Mailing List Manners: http://tidbits.com/series/1141 ____
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: TidBITS: Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

adamengst
Administrator
I got the notification on my 2016 MacBook Pro yesterday, clicked Details, and quit the App Store after it opened. Looking in /Applications/ now, I found the standard, full "Install macOS High Sierra.app" (5.21GB). In my App Store preferences, I have checked Automatically check for updates, Download newly available updates in the background, and Install system data files and security updates.

Thanks for the details, Curtis! It’s so much harder to verify this stuff while on a laptop at conference. 
 
At work, someone got the prompt and *did* install High Sierra which I had to undo because we're still on FileMaker Pro 13 and it was crashing when trying to open FileMaker Server databases. Undoing meant backing up the user profile (no Time Machine backup), booting an external drive to wipe the internal APFS formatted volume, installing a Sierra disk image, and putting back the user profile and applications specific to the user.

In the future, macOS will make an APFS snapshot before installing an update, which will make reverting like this a whole lot easier. But from Sierra, not so much. :-)
 
There was a problem with the user's Keychain, the 'login' keychain was unlocking fine but the 'Login items' keychain wouldn't unlock. I tried deleting just the file containing 'Login items' but upon restart, when the user logged in, their profile wouldn't load, the spinner just kept going. There wasn't anything critical in the keychain so I ended up resetting it entirely. I don't know if this keychain problem was a coincidence or if the keychain was changed somehow by using it on High Sierra. The other complicating factor was the computer is bound to an Active Directory (AD) domain and it's an AD user account.

I’ll keep an ear out at MacTech about this…

cheers... -Adam




____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
Post only when you have something substantive to contribute.
Be polite and constructive, and comment on posts, not people.
Quote sparingly, if at all. We all read the previous message.
Start threads with a new message to [hidden email].
Read archives at: http://tidbits.com/pipermail/tidbits-talk/
Unsubscribe at: http://tidbits.com/mailman/options/tidbits-talk
____Mailing List Manners: http://tidbits.com/series/1141 ____
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: TidBITS: Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

John Burt
In reply to this post by TidBITS Articles
Thanks for the heads-up.

On Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 6:26 PM, TidBITS Articles <[hidden email]> wrote:

This article was just published by TidBITS and sent to you at your request.

Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra on Unsuspecting Mac Users

By Adam C. Engst
http://tidbits.com/article/17633


--
John



____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
Post only when you have something substantive to contribute.
Be polite and constructive, and comment on posts, not people.
Quote sparingly, if at all. We all read the previous message.
Start threads with a new message to [hidden email].
Read archives at: http://tidbits.com/pipermail/tidbits-talk/
Unsubscribe at: http://tidbits.com/mailman/options/tidbits-talk
____Mailing List Manners: http://tidbits.com/series/1141 ____