Deploying package files to macOS devices is a powerful workflow on Jamf Now.
The following tutorial walks through two methods for deploying packages:
- Method 1 covers deploying an existing PKG file
- Method 2 covers how to convert a DMG file into a PKG file before deployment.
We recognize that this is a fairly technical workflow. Don't hesitate to reach out to our support team (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Before you begin
Deploying macOS packages with Jamf Now is a premium feature that requires the Jamf Now Plus plan.
- Before beginning the following tutorial, make sure your account is on the Jamf Now Plus plan by navigating to the Account page and checking the Plan line.
- If you are on the Jamf Now Standard plan, be sure to upgrade by clicking Upgrade to Plus on the right-hand side of the page.
Method 1: If you already have a .pkg file
If you already have a .pkg file on your local machine, deploying with Jamf Now is easy:
- In your Jamf Now instance, click on Apps on the main left-hand menu
- Click on Add an App
- Click on Upload Your App
- Drag your custom .pkg file onto the upload page or click Browse to search for it on your machine.
- Once the file successfully uploads, it will appear in your Apps page and is ready for deployment via Blueprint.
Method 2: If you have a .dmg file that needs repackaging
Many apps are not natively available in the .pkg file type. Because Jamf Now only supports .pkg files for package deployment, you will need to "repackage" .dmg files into .pkg files before distributing with Jamf Now.
Please note: converting a package is a multi-step process. The following walkthrough will require one additional account and one piece of software:
- Apple Developer Program account ($99/year). This account is needed to "sign" your .pkg file before uploading to Jamf Now.
- Packaging software - we recommend Jamf Composer ($99 one-time). This is needed to do the conversion from a .dmg to a .pkg file type.
Part 1: Generate a Signing Request
In this step, we will generate a special .csr file. This file will be required as we request a valid certificate from Apple later on.
- On a desktop or laptop, open the program Keychain Access.
- On the top Mac menu bar, click Keychain Access then click Certificate Assistant.
- From the list, select Create a Certificate From a Certificate Authority...
- Enter your email address in the "User Email Address" field, ensure your name is spelled correctly in the "Common Name" field and leave the "CA Email Address" field blank.
- Under "Request is", select Saved to Disc. Then click Continue.
Once your signing request is successfully saved to your local machine as a .csr file you can continue to the next step.
Part 2: Generate a Certificate
In this step, we will take the .csr file we just created and exchange it with Apple for a valid certificate that will allow us to sign package files.
- In a web browser, navigate to the Apple Developer portal and click Account in the upper-right corner. Create an account or sign in.
- Click the large button labeled Certificates, Identifiers and Profiles.
- On the left side, click the devices drop-down menu and select macOS from the list.
- In the upper right, click the "+" sign to create a new certificate.
- Under the Production section, click Developer ID.
- Select Developer ID Installer, then click Continue to create a certificate.
- The certificate file should appear on your local machine (likely on your desktop or in your Downloads folder). Double click it to execute the certificate locally.
Part 3: Repackaging
Now that we have a valid certificate, we can repackage our file. The following walkthrough uses Jamf's first party packaging tool, Composer, though you are welcome to use your preferred packaging tool. If you do use a third party tool, please skip this step and instead refer to the developer's documentation for instructions on repackaging.
- First, move the .dmg file to the location on your Mac where you intend for it to install on your client devices.
- For example, move the .dmg to the Applications folder on your machine if you want it to install in the Applications folder on your end user devices once you deploy it with Jamf Now. (recommended)
- Next, open Jamf Composer. If the menu "Choose a method to create your package" appears, click Cancel.
- In the Mac menu bar, click Composer and click Preferences. Be sure that "Build flat PKGs" is selected and that "Sign with" is selected and your Developer ID is shown in that field. This is vital.
- Close the Preferences menu and return to Composer. Grab your .dmg file and drag it into the left-hand sidebar. You will see Sources and Packages listed. Drop it there.
- Click Build as PKG to begin the build process.
- A menu will appear. Choose where to save the completed PKG file (suggested: your desktop) and click Continue.
- Composer will build the PKG file. This may take a few minutes. Look for the completed file in the previously specified location (i.e. your desktop).
Part 4: Upload the .pkg
Now that we have a .pkg file that is signed by a valid certificate, we're ready to upload.
Follow the instructions above in "Method 1" to quickly and easily upload this file to Jamf Now. Once uploaded, don't forget to assign it to a Blueprint to distribute the app to your team.
Repackaging can be a tough process. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to our support team at email@example.com for assistance.