Hey, Mac Users…

Mac user

There are several things Mac users at Northeastern need to look out for – right now and in the coming months.

NOTE: Students – Are you a member of a student group that uses Mac? The information below for faculty and staff may also apply to your student group’s computer.

Running on 10.6, 10.7 or 10.8? – Upgrade now!

Typically Apple only supports its latest two releases. Back in February 2014, Apple stopped supporting OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), which it originally released back in 2009. With the release of OS X Yosemite (10.10) this last October, support for the other two older operating systems – OS X Lion (10.7, released in 2011) and OS X Mountain Lion (10.8, released in 2012) – will soon end. It is time to upgrade!

Why should I upgrade?

  • No support: Apple support has already ended for OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) and, as a result, ITS will not be able to support this operating system. Apple will soon end support for OS X Lion (10.7) and OS X Mountain Lion (10.8). Click here for a list of ITS supported computers and operating systems on the Hardware and Software – FAQ page. OS X Mavericks (10.9) is the current ITS standard image for managed computers.
  • Security risks: Once an operating system is no longer supported, critical security updates stop. This makes computers much more vulnerable to viruses, as hackers are waiting to take advantage of this insecurity. If your computer gets a virus, it will not perform properly, it may shut down entirely, and you are at risk for losing files and having your personal information stolen. Newer Mac operating systems offer much better security. If your computer represents a security threat to Northeastern’s networks, your network access will be revoked.
  • Software issues: Many vendors do not support products that are running on older, unsupported operating systems. Additionally, ITS will no longer develop and test applications for OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) and OS X Lion (10.7).
  • Old technology: Snow Leopard (10.6) was released four years ago, and has since been replaced by three newer operating systems.

How can I tell which Mac operating system I am running?

In the top left of the menu bar, click the Apple icon and select “About This Mac.” The version will be listed, and the first two numbers indicate the main operating system. For example, if it lists Version 10.8.5, the machine is running OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) with a few updates (the .5 at the end signifies a point release). It is best if you are at least on OS X Mavericks (10.9).

If you are on a ITS-managed Mac and are impacted, you will see several notification pop-ups over the coming months.

How do I upgrade?

  • Students/non Northeastern-owned computer: For those on a personal computer running 10.6 through 10.9, Apple is offering the upgrade to OS X Yosemite (10.10) for free. Details on how to upgrade can be found on the Apple website. If you are on an older computer, be sure to see if your system is compatible.
  • Faculty/staff on a managed computer: For those on a Northeastern-managed Mac, please call the Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) to make a desktop appointment, and learn the necessary steps involved in upgrading, including backing up your computer. It is best if you are running at least OS X Mavericks (10.9). ITS will be releasing a new OS X Yosemite image during Spring 2015.
  • Faculty/staff on an unmanaged computer: If you are a Northeastern-owned computer that is unmanaged, we strongly encouraged to upgrade your system to the standard Northeastern-managed Mac configuration. This offers all of the latest Northeastern software including Microsoft Office 2011, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and through the Self-Service application, there are even more applications you can download and install, including Creative Cloud.
    • If you choose not to have the standard Northeastern-managed Mac configuration installed on your computer, you may update to Yosemite directly through Apple. Details on how to upgrade can be found on the Apple website. If you are on an older computer, be sure to see if your system is compatible.

On the horizon – An OS X Yosemite image

Now that Apple has released OS X Yosemite (10.10), ITS is working on developing a new standard Mac image for Northeastern-managed computers. The benefit of a standard image is that ITS tests out the operating system with software used at Northeastern to ensure everything works properly with our systems. We anticipate releasing this new image during the Spring 2015 semester.

A new way to access myApps on a Mac

ITS has ended support for the application CORD which was used on Macs trying to gain virtual access to Windows applications. through myApps. The new supported application is Microsoft Remote Desktop, which is available on Northeastern-managed Macs under Self-Service. Personal computers may access the application through Apple’s App Store. Instruction on how to configure Microsoft Remote Desktop for myApps can be found here.

MacApps (Keyserver) Retirement – New ways to get Adobe software

Over the last few years, Northeastern Mac users have utilized MacApps for access to university-licensed applications. This service has primarily provided access to Adobe Creative Suite products. Now that Adobe Creative Cloud and Acrobat Pro are accessible in many different ways, ITS will be retiring MacApps. Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud at Northeastern.

How do I get the software I need?

  • Faculty and staff: Faculty and staff on Northeastern-managed Macs are strongly encouraged to upgrade to a standard Northeastern Mac configuration. The current image offers all of the latest Northeastern software, including Microsoft Office 2011, Adobe Acrobat Pro and, through the Self Service application, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and more. For faculty and staff on a Northeastern-owned, unmanaged Mac, you can submit a Locally Installed Software Request through the myHelp Service Catalog, under Software Services. After selecting Mac, the list will populate with all the software available to you for local install, including Adobe Acrobat Pro and different Creative Cloud software bundles.
    • PRO TIP: On a Northeastern-managed Mac, Self Service is a source for all different types of new software – not just Adobe applications.
  • Personal use – students, faculty and staff: Students, faculty and staff have access to Adobe Creative Cloud for personal use at a significantly discounted rate through the Free and Discounted Software section of myNEU. Please note that unlike Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription based licensing model, so you are paying for access on a monthly or annual basis.
  • ITS managed labs: Adobe Creative Cloud is available in all ITS managed labs for all of your designing needs. Remember the InfoCommons and DMC are open 24/7, as long as Snell Library is open.

Apple OS X Yosemite Released -­ What Mac Owners Need To Know

Last week Apple released its latest desktop operating system – OS X Yosemite (10.10). Like its predecessor Mavericks, this new operating system is available for free when downloaded from Mac App Store.

What is different?
OS X Yosemite is the first Mac operating system that allows for the seamless integration between Mac computers and iOS devices – specifically those using iOS 8.1. Transitioning from one device to the next is made possible with iCloud Drive, which leverages the new feature Handoff and the improvements to AirDrop, SMS and Messages. Handoff allows you to use Mail, Safari, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Keynote, Numbers, and Pages interchangeably between Mac and iOS. The enhanced AirDrop allows you to easily share files with iOS devices, and it will automatically download files shared between two devices with the same Apple ID.  Please note that ITS has not yet completed a formal investigation of security and privacy on iCloud Drive, but at this time we would advise users to not store any potentially sensitive information, including any work data, on this cloud.

Yosemite is intended to pair with iPhones and other Apple products, and many features may only work with devices capable of running iOS 8.1. You can now receive SMS messages and even phone calls on your computer that were originally sent to your iPhone. Group messaging has also been improved, allowing you to name, mute or even leave group conversations in Messages. It is also possible to turn your iPhone into a Personal Hotspot for your Mac.

Should I upgrade now? The ITS perspective
Since OS X Yosemite has just been released, ITS has not yet had the opportunity to test its compatibility with all of Northeastern’s networks, applications and systems. Currently ITS cannot guarantee that those who upgrade will have a seamless transition. ITS is testing and analyzing our various applications and services on this new operating system, and we will provide further information once our testing and analysis is complete.

  • Faculty and staff on Northeastern-managed Macs – We caution against upgrading to OS X Yosemite at this time. We are working on testing the operating system with all of our systems and applications. The new operating system will be included in a future ITS Mac image configuration, to be released early 2015.
  • Unmanaged Northeastern-owned Macs and personal Macs – As with any new software release, there will likely be issues identified and addressed by Apple over the coming weeks. It is always a good idea to weigh being an early adopter of a new technology with the risk inherent in any software upgrade.

If you do choose to upgrade, please note while the Service Desk staff will always try its best to be of assistance with issues that may arise, this operating system is not currently supported by ITS.

Learn more
For more information about OS X Yosemite, please visit http://www.apple.com/osx/

Related articles:
Wall Street Journal – OS X Yosemite Review: The Mac Cozies Up to the iPhone
Gizmodo – 17 Things You Can Do in OS X Yosemite That You Couldn’t Do in Mavericks
MacWorld – How to prepare for OS X Yosemite: Get your Mac ready to download & install OS X 10.10