The best methods to quickly install apps and software across your Mac computers fleet

6 min read

by Mosyle Team


The best methods to quickly install apps and software across your Mac computers fleet

Installing apps on corporate Mac computers and keeping those apps up to date is an important yet time-consuming process when done manually or individually. Usually, those apps are necessary for an employee’s day-to-day tasks and, if not readily available, can slow down a company’s entire workflow and decrease productivity.

That’s why it’s important to automate as much of the device management and deployment process as possible, because doing so ensures your employees’ autonomy.

If you have a mobile device management (MDM) solution, you probably have access to a Self-Service app that helps further automate certain processes. A Self-Service app allows end-users, in this case employees, to install the software and apps that they need on demand. This increases employee productivity and streamlines your workflow ever further.

In addition to this, you can push and install apps/software to the fleet of Apple devices right away. You have some options when using a mobile device management for Enterprise.

In this article, we’ll go over how you can easily and quickly install apps on your fleet of Mac devices and the necessary updates that keep those apps running smoothly. There are a few different methods to install apps remotely, depending on whether or not the apps are hosted on the App Store.

How to install apps on Mac Computers using Apps and Books

If the necessary apps are available on the App Store, you can use Apple Business Manager to install apps on your fleet of Mac computers. Before starting, ensure that your business has already migrated to Apps and Books from VPP. If your business doesn’t have an Apple Business Manager account at all, learn more about what it is and how it benefits your company here.

To start the remote app installation process, simply log in to the Apple Business Manager portal and navigate to the Apps and Books area.

Tip: Make sure to check the amount of content licenses purchased using the Apple Business Manager portal. This is crucial information because if the number of content licenses isn’t enough for the number of users/devices, the command will fail.

Next, confirm which assignment method you’ll be using for the app installation process, device-based or user-based. Take a moment to consider the corporate needs and current device deployment method. Does your company use a shared model or a 1:1 model?

For shared programs, we recommend that you distribute app licenses using device-based assignment rather than user-based. That’s because if those Mac devices are being shared, then a user-based assignment, which requires a Managed Apple ID, wouldn’t be the best method.

Device-based installs are connected to the device’s serial number, instead of a Managed Apple ID connected to the device.

If the apps that you’re looking to install on your Apple devices are not available on the App Store, you have the option of using packages (PKG files).

How to distribute PKGs to install apps on Mac devices

The PKG file is a common way to install apps and software on Mac devices, and it’s a package of compressed installer files. You can distribute PKGs using an MDM solution like Mosyle Business.

The first step is to create the PKG file using one Mac computer. Then, host that file in a cloud host service and install the PKG remotely using an MDM solution.

If your MDM solution is Mosyle Business, we provide an area for you to easily complete this process, which includes the necessary instructions for your to smoothly install apps and software using PKGs. Within Mosyle Business, make sure you’re in the macOS section and navigate to Install PKG in the Management tab.

However, if you prefer not to use PKG files, you can also install apps by running scripts.

How to run scripts to push apps to your Mac fleet

Running scripts and custom commands is another great way to install apps and software on your fleet of Mac computers.

To run a script, use a bash/terminal script to install the application. This script is usually provided by the software developer within its documentation.

Tip: Ensure that your script is correct by testing your custom script before deploying the apps to your entire Mac fleet because incorrect scripts can have negative effects.

You can test your script by either opening the device terminal or, if you’re using Mosyle Business, you can use our test panel. Simply select one device and send the command for that specific Mac computer.

Important note: make sure to push any app license information to the macOS devices so users can access and use the applications. It is very common for certain software, such as Microsoft Office 365.

You can also install software using Munki when integrated with your MDM solution, if you prefer.

Integrating with Munki

Munki is a popular third-party tool that Mac admins use to manage, install and remove software in bulk. Munki is open source and has its very own application store called the Managed Software Center.

Integrating Munki with Mosyle Business is another way to install apps and software that your company needs. It also gives you access to many other features that can enhance your Mac deployment while still having everything you need in one dashboard.

To integrate Munki properly, we recommend that you follow the workflow for your MDM software. If you’re using Mosyle Business, you can either use a PKG or run scripts to complete the integration process. Learn more about how integrating Munki can help your business here.

What to consider when choosing one app installation method

When choosing how to install your apps or software, there are a lot of important factors to consider. We’ve listed below a couple of questions that you should ask yourself before choosing an installation method for apps:

Are your apps hosted on the App Store? If so, we recommend using Apple Business Manager to install your apps.

Are your apps not on the App Store? If not, you can use PKGs or run custom commands.

Are the Mac computers part of a shared program or a 1:1 program? If they’re in a shared program, use a device-based assignment method.

Our Customer Support team is here to help you with any MDM related question you might have, so make sure to submit a support ticket to get your question answered.

Ready to install apps in bulk? Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Mosyle Business to get started!