What’s New in MDS 4.0

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Apple Silicon support

With the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2, third-party utilities are now able to run in the M1 recovery mode. MDS can now automate erasing macOS, reinstalling macOS, installing software, and much more! Like on Intel Macs, all work is done upfront and you spend less than 5 minutes prepping each M1 Mac. After that, all operations are automatic. When completed, the Mac is fully set up and ready to go. If you add in the Automaton, you can reduce the time in front of an M1 Mac to less than 7 seconds!

Arduino support with Apple Silicon Macs

MDS 4 includes support for using the Automaton for fully automated setup of Apple Silicon Macs. The M1 Macs need to be in one of two states: FileVault On or FileVault Off. If FileVault is on, the Automaton will erase the Mac, then activate, then run workflows. If FileVault is off, the Automaton will open MDS Deploy to see if the drive is empty. If not, MDS Deploy will open and erase, then activate, then run the workflow. When installing macOS, the installer is now launched.

Override Workflow Options

You can now select a script that returns the workflow to run if autorun is enabled. The basic script just returns a workflow name, but you can use any logic you want to determine what workflow to run. This is intended to probe the hardware/serial number and run workflows based on customer logic.

Drive now unmounts 

When MDS Deploy exits, the drive that has the resources is unmounted. This allows you to remove the drive without having to worry about the drive being mounted.

Log App

A new application called “LoginLogNG” was created specifically for Apple Silicon. It operates similarly to the older LoginLog, but is tailored specifically to the new architecture. The application shows both when packages are being installed at the login window (first boot) and when logged in (first login).

Auto Advance

Big Sur has an exciting new feature called Auto Advance; it allows for zero-touch setup of Macs enrolled in Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager. The MDM feature in MDS has been updated to add Auto Advance to the initial profile. When a Mac that is enrolled and assigned to the MDS MDM service, it will automatically skip all the setup assistant panes. When used together with MDS workflows, you can have a true “zero-touch” deployment.

MDS Deploy

MDS Deploy is a new app written to support Apple Silicon when running workflows. It is intended to run in recovery. It only runs for Apple Silicon Macs at this time; Imagr is used for Intel Macs. However, MDS Deploy supports all workflow operations created by MDS for both Intel and Apple Silicon, so the same workflow can be run on either platform. MDS Deploy also has an awesome, space-age UI. To make sure that everything runs smoothly, MDS Deploy does not sleep during operations.

Package Signing Certificates

Any identity can now be used for signing packages with MDS and can be specified in the Packages section.