This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Intune Customer Success articles.
By Neil Johnson – Principal Program Manager | Microsoft Endpoint Manager – Intune
The recommended methods of deploying apps with Microsoft Intune are the built-in app deployment features for Edge, Office and Defender. We also support Mac App Store and line-of-business apps. However, there are occasions where an application you need is not made by Microsoft, is not in the Mac App Store, and is not supported by the Intune line of business App Wrapping Tool.
Before we get into the details, it’s important that you understand the supportability of the process we are about to discuss:
Important: From a support perspective, Microsoft fully supports Intune and its ability to deploy shell scripts to macOS. However, Microsoft does not support the scripts themselves, even if they are on our GitHub repository. They are provided for example only and you are responsible for anything that they may do within your environment. Always test!
For the remainder of this post, I’m going to walk you through an example for how to approach the scenario where you need to do a bit of scripting. The steps we’re going to take are as follows:
- Identify a web location from which to download the app.
- Write a bash script to download the installer and install the app.
- Deploy the bash script using the Intune scripting agent.
Again, please do see the caveat above regarding supportability and also testing! I work with several customers who are really familiar with scripting and deploying so I’m sharing best practices and a few things we’ve all learned along the way.
Example Application Deployment: GNU Imagine Manipulation Program (GIMP)
We’re using Gimp here for a simple example. Gimp you can completely deploy following the steps outlined in our app wrapping post. The app makes a great example, too, to deploy through the scripting agent.
Step 1 – Obtaining the binary
First things first, we need to get a copy of Gimp. To do that we’ll head to the Gimp website and download the latest stable version. Save the file as gimp.dmg in the Downloads directory.
Step 2 – Uploading to Azure Blob storage
Now that we have our installation file, we can upload to Azure so it’s ready for us to use. Setting up Azure Blob storage is outside the scope of this article, but you can find documentation here: Introduction to blob storage – Azure Storage | Microsoft Docs.
Note: It is not a requirement to use Azure storage – see the note on download URL later in this post.
Upload gimp.dmg to Azure Blob storage:
- Go to portal.azure.com > Storage Accounts > “your storage account” and select the container you wish to use for macOS app deployments.
- Click Upload > Provide the file path to gimp.dmg and click upload again.
- Once uploaded, you will see your file listed in the container.
- Click on gimp.dmg and make a note of the URL in the properties. In my case, the URL is https://neiljohn.blob.core.windows.net/macapps/gimp.dmg
Note on Blob storage security: If you do not want to permit anonymous access to your Blob storage binaries you can set the access level to your container to ‘Private’ (no anonymous access) and generate a SAS access URL instead. The rest of this process will remain the same but the URL you use will have additional information encoded at the end.
Note on download URLs: If you don’t have Azure Blob storage, you can use the public download URL for Gimp from their website here instead. I like using Azure because it gives us more control over the process and the version that we install, but the rest of the process in this post will work fine using either Azure Blob storage or the public download URL from the Gimp servers.
Step 3 – Write the bash script to download and install Gimp
In this section we will walk through an example shell script from the Intune Shell Script GitHub Repository to download and install Gimp.
We’re going to require a couple of things before we begin:
- Download the example installGimp.sh file from here and save it to your local drive.
- Download and install a copy of Visual Studio Code.
Open the installGimp.sh file in Visual Studio Code. The bits we might want to change are shown on lines 20-27. These variables control how the script will behave. Let’s look at them in some more detail.
- weburl is the http URL of the installation files that we need. In this example we are using Azure Blob storage to host the file, but it could be any http endpoint that will be accessible from the client. The script will attempt to autodetect the installer type based on the file that is downloaded.
- appname is mostly used in the log, but is also used to generate the metadata file path for storing the last updated date.
- app is the actual name of the Application. It is used by the script to check if the app is already installed. The script will copy the application files found on the DMG to /Applications/$app. The best way to find out what this should be set to is to install the application manually on your Mac and then run ls -la /Applications from a terminal prompt and use the same name in the app variable.
- logandmetadir this is the directory that the script will use to store the installation log and to store the metadata for the last version update. This should be unique for each application that you deploy.
- processpath this is used to check if the application is running or not. Mac applications have a strict directory format, so one of the quickest methods is to run ls -Fl /Applications/Gimp.app/Contents/MacOS/*. This will return a list of files, it's usually easy to guess which one is the main application by the name, in our case /Applications/Gimp.app/Contents/MacOS/gimp.
- terminateprocess is used to control what the script does if it finds the application is running. If this value is set to false, the script will check for the applications process and wait for it to be closed before installing. If the value is set to true, the script will detect that the application is running and terminate the main process before installing. For most end user applications leave this set to false.
- autoupdate is used to control how the script behaves when it’s run after the app is installed. If autoupdate is set to true the script will exit since it assumes that the app will handle updates itself. If set to false, the script will compare current and last update times on the URL header and update if there is a newer version.
For this example, the only thing that you need to change here is the weburl to your Azure Blob storage location (or use the public download URL https://download.gimp.org/mirror/pub/gimp/v2.10/osx/gimp-2.10.22-x86_64-3.dmg). The rest of the script can be left as is, but it is a good idea to read through it to ensure that you understand what it does.
Now we have our script, we need to test it. The easiest way to do that is to run it on a test device.
We need to make the script executable with chmod which we will run in a terminal window.
Neils-MacBook-Pro:Gimp neiljohnson$ chmod +x ~/Downloads/installGimp.sh
Next, we can give the script a test run to check that it works. We need to run it as root so don’t forget the sudo command.
Neils-MacBook-Pro:Gimp % sudo ./installGimp.sh
Once that’s done, try to launch the Gimp application to check that it installed correctly and that it works ok. Press CMD+Space and type in ‘Gimp’, then press Return. The Gimp splash screen should appear, and the application should start.
Assuming everything went well to this point, all we need to do now is to deploy the script via Intune.
Step 4 - Deploy the bash script via the Intune scripting agent.
At this point we have a script that we’re confident works when we run it locally and so the next step is to upload it to Intune and assign it to some test users to check that it behaves as we expect when it’s run via the Intune Scripting Agent.
To deploy the script via Intune:
- Sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
- Select Devices > macOS > Shell scripts > Add
- Enter a Name and Description for the script and click Next
- Enter the script details
- Select the ~/Downloads/InstallGimp.sh script file
- Run script as signed in user: No
- Hide script notification on devices: Yes
- Script frequency: Every 1 day (this is to handle updates, more on this later)
- Number of times to retry if script fails: 3
- Click Next.
- Assign Scope Tags if you need them, click Next.
- Under Required click Add group and search for an appropriate group to target the script to. Note: At this stage a test group would probably be wise.
- Click Next, review and then Add to complete the assignment.
Next, we need to find a test device that we can use to check the deployment on.
- Identify a test device that is enrolled into Intune as a user in the group that you assigned the script to.
- On that device press CMD+Space and type ‘Company Portal’ and press Enter.
- If prompted, click Sign In and enter the users’ credentials.
- In the Company Portal app, press Option+CMD+S to trigger a device check-in. Note, doing this on the device via Company Portal calls the script agent to check-in. Also, if you do this from the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center, the script agent will not check-in at the same time.
The final step on the client Mac is to check that the app has installed, and we can launch it. Press CMD+Space and type "Gimp" and press Enter. The Gimp app should launch.
At this stage we’re happy that the script deploys the app successfully. All that is left is to set the assignment policy of the script to include all the users that you need to install the Gimp app to.
Handling version updates
Some apps handle updates automatically and some apps don’t. For this example, Gimp doesn’t automatically update so we’re going to need to handle that. Luckily, the example script already handles updates so all that we need to do is to upload a newer version of gimp.dmg to Blob storage or change the URL in the script to a newer version on the Gimp website. It’s really that simple.
If you want more detail, when we created our script policy in Intune, we set the schedule to run every day. To prevent the script from installing Gimp every time it runs, there are a few functions to handle updates and downloads.
This function first checks the autoupdate variable. If set to true and the app is already installed, the script exits, If set to false it compares the last-modified http header of the file that we downloaded to install last time against the current last-modified date of the download URL. If the dates are the same, the script drops out with nothing to do. If they are different, the script will attempt to download and install the update.
This function is called just before the app is installed. It pauses the script while the given process is running. If the app is running the script will wait until it is closed by the end user. The end user is not prompted, the script will run silently in the background. If you set terminateprocess="true" the function will attempt to terminate the app.
We can see these functions in action simply by running the script twice. On a test machine, if we download installGimp.sh and run it twice, on the second time through we’ll see the following log entry.
We can see from the log that there has been no update and so the script doesn’t re-install Gimp.
To show the update process working, update the gimp.dmg file in Azure Blob storage. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.
- Download the application DMG.
- Upload the DMG to Azure Blob storage.
During step 2, make sure that you use the same file name and that you check the Overwrite if files already exist checkbox.
Once the upload is complete, re-run the script on the test device.
Adapting the example script to something else: Yammer
We have our Gimp script working as we want, but what about other installer files? In this example, we are going to look at modifying the InstallGimp.sh script to handle Yammer, which is also provided as a DMG file.
The completed script for Yammer is available here. If we look at a comparison of changes between the installGimp.sh and installYammer.sh scripts, we can see that the only differences are on lines 21-27.
The changes on line 6 are just a description of the script. Lines 20-27 are variables that are discussed in more detail in Step 3 above.
Note: That in this example we are not using Azure blob storage but the normal download URL for Yammer. After editing the script we then follow the steps in Step 4 - Deploy the bash script via the Intune scripting agent above. Once deployed, we can go to the Mac and trigger a manual check-in and then check the logs on our target Mac.
For Yammer, our new policy ID is: 010f31ef-1cfc-441b-a409-fc75e838c5d0
From the IntuneMDMDaemon*.log file we see the following:
And from the /Library/Logs/Microsoft/IntuneScripts/installYammer/Yammer.log we see the following:
To validate the installation, launch the Yammer app by pressing CMD+Space and typing "Yammer" and then Enter. Assuming everything works as expected, the next step is to repeat step 4 above (Deploy the bash script with Intune Scripting Agent) and assign it to your users.
What about other package types? APP or PKG?
This approach can be used for any macOS installer that can be triggered from the shell. The script attempts to determine the correct installer type from the downloaded file.
More examples using the same script can be found here:
The best way to get started is to download one of the example scripts and modify it for your application.
Some of the examples use weburls on Azure blob storage and others pull directly from the source download sites (like Company Portal). The script uses curl -OJL <url> to download the installer and create the temp file.
Note: If the app you are trying to deploy is provided to you as an .app file, you can compress the app into a ZIP and use the examples above.
All the examples include a function to handle Rosetta 2 deployment for Apple Silicon devices. That means these scripts can be deployed straight to an M1 Mac and it will automatically handle the installation of Rosetta 2 so that the application can run.
Using Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center
Intune also reports the status of each script in the UI.
- Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
- Select Devices > macOS > Shell scripts and select the script you want to troubleshoot.
- Click on Device Status and then select the device you are troubleshooting.
- Click on Show details and Intune will display the last output from the script.
If we need more information, we can use the Intune script agent to gather logs from the Mac for us remotely.
- Click on Collect Logs and enter in the name of the log file you want to retrieve. In our example that is /Library/Logs/Microsoft/IntuneScripts/installGimp/Gimp.log.
- The next time that the script agent checks in (8 hour cycle), the logs will be returned to Intune. You can force this by having the end user open Company Portal and clicking Check Settings.
Note: On the device, in the IntuneMDMDaemon log file you can see log upload requests and completions by searching for "LogUploadResultItem".
IntuneMDM-Daemon | I | 255380 | PersistenceManager | Storing LogUploadResultItem IntuneMDM-Daemon | I | 256078 | PersistenceManager | Getting all LogUploadResultItem IntuneMDM-Daemon | I | *235677 | PersistenceManager | Deleting all LogUploadResultItem IntuneMDM-Daemon | I | 256953 | PersistenceManager | Getting all LogUploadResultItem
- Once the logs have been returned, the Download logs button will be shown. Click this to download the device logs as a zip file.
- Inside the zip file will be the file we requested, plus the two Intune script agent (user) and daemon (root) logs, which are always returned.
To make sense of the logs, it’s useful to know the policy ID of the script we are troubleshooting. We can get this from the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
- Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
- Select Devices > macOS > Shell scripts.
- Find the script in the list and click on it, make a note of the policyID in the browser URL. We will use it to filter the log
In my example, the URL is: https://endpoint.microsoft.com/#blade/Microsoft_Intune_DeviceSettings/ConfigureWMPolicyMenu/overview/policyId/7edf5358-c157-437a-8bc0-0a4889b20ae4/policyType/1.
The easiest way to view the logs is via the Console app.
- Press CMD+Space and type ‘Console’ and press Enter, this will open the Console app.
- Click on File > Open and navigate to the IntuneMDMDaemon*log.
- Paste the policyID from step 3 above into the search box and it should filter the log for only the lines referring to our script.
The key things to look for in the IntuneMDMDaemon log are as follows:
- Running script policy PolicyID: 7edf5358-c157-437a-8bc0-0a4889b20ae4
- Script policy succeeded PolicyID: 7edf5358-c157-437a-8bc0-0a4889b20ae4
Note: You can also view the logs directly on the Mac if you have access. Use Console again to view them.
- /Library/Logs/Microsoft/Intune [For scripts that do not run as the end user]
- ~/Library/Logs/Microsoft/Intune [For scripts that do run as the end user]
This is the log that is generated by each script so the output will be different depending on what you put in your script. The best way to view is in the Console app. Search for ‘Gimp’. The log file output should look very similar to the output we saw when we ran the script manually.
One of the biggest problems with this approach of app deployment is that apps deployed in this way do not show up in the ‘managed apps’ list for each managed Mac in Intune. To help mitigate this a little, we can use Intune’s custom attribute feature to run a shell script on the Mac and return the version of our app.
We have an example custom attribute script to return the version of a Mac app here.
To deploy the custom attribute script:
- Download the example script to ~Downloads. Open in Visual Studio Code and modify/test as required
- Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center
- Select Devices > macOS > Custom attributes > Add
- Enter a Name and Description for the script and click Next
- Set the data type of attribute to String
- Select the ~/Downloads/fetchGimpversion.sh
- Click Next
- Assign Scope Tags if you need them, click Next
- Under Required click Add group and search for an appropriate group to target the script to
- Click Next, review and then Add to complete the assignment
The next time that the Intune macOS script agent checks-in to Intune, it will run the script and return the value. To see a list of the returned values:
- Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center
- Select Devices > macOS > Custom attributes
- Select the custom attribute you created > Device Status
This report can be exported to a CSV file if required.
Obviously, this is a basic example, but it could be expanded to return any information that you can gather from a shell script.
Hopefully this blog and example scripts have provided some guidance around the possibilities of deploying apps via the Intune script agent and Azure Blob storage (or other web hosting sites).
This approach is especially useful for applications that cannot be deployed via the other App deployment scenarios that Intune provides.
Let us know if you have any questions by replying to this post or reaching out to @IntuneSuppTeam on Twitter.