macOS 14 (Sonoma) release date: 9/26/23
Deferral/blocker end date: 12/10/23
Apple launches a new version of macOS every year, usually in the autumn. When this happens, Ntiva defaults to blocking/deferring the availability of this new OS (generally for 75 days) to minimize the likelihood of users upgrading prematurely. We generally recommend holding off on upgrading to a new major operating system until the first patch (sometimes called the "point one" version) is released, which often resolves any unusual quirks or bugs found in the initial release. This also gives third-party developers a little extra time to update their applications to be compatible.
Once the new OS is released, you'll want to work with your account manager to start assessing and approving this new operating system for use on your Macs.
We only block/defer the new OS for a maximum of 90 days - Apple has removed the ability for administrators to block the upgrade after that, so it's very important to prepare early.
1 - Contact Ntiva
Let your account manager know that you're ready to begin vetting the new version of macOS
2 - Determine your business-critical apps and services
Every organization has a unique set of applications, websites, services, and peripherals they use. Make a list of things you know need to be working in the new OS for you to be confident your team can work effectively in it. These can range from common applications (Microsoft Office, SentinelOne, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Chrome) to niche and organization-specific ones. Don't forget about any office printers, file-sharing services, endpoint protection software, and web services. Share this list with your account manager, as we may have already tested many of the applications in your environment.
3 - Select a test Mac (or a few)
Once you have your list, you'll need to select a device or two to upgrade to the new OS. The best devices to test with would be spares, or any Macs that wouldn't cause significant business disruption if key apps are found to be incompatible. If such devices don't exist in your organization, consider selecting a user with a higher level of technical acumen who could work around potential incompatibilities. If your list of apps and services to test spans across multiple departments, select enough users or devices to cover those needs.
Also keep an eye out for users already running the new OS. While the deferral and block policies are effective, every upgrade cycle a few devices manage to somehow bypass them. If there's an existing user in your organization with the new macOS installed, let's get in touch with them to get testing.
4 - Install and test
We'll work with you to deploy the new OS to the test devices. Once installed, have your test users work through that list - open apps, try uploading/downloading to and from key cloud storage locations, confirm your endpoint protection software is reporting as expected, etc. Make sure you're running the newest versions of your important applications, as many developers will likely be publishing updates alongside Apple's new OS releases.
5 - Approve the new version of macOS for use
If everything works as anticipated, let us know - Ntiva will remove the deferral/blocker for your organization. Your users will not be forced to run the upgrade, it will be available for them to install at their leisure.
Getting your team upgraded to the new operating system following a thorough testing process allows you to stay secure and up-to-date. Another major benefit comes from minimizing the possibility of compatibility issues between workstations - when everyone's on the same version of macOS, they can also be on the same versions of other applications. We urge you to reach out and begin the testing process soon - once the deferral period is up, we can no longer prevent users from upgrading.