I’ve heard for years that you shouldn’t use your Mac with administrator privileges. I 100% agree with that statement, and I still use my Mac with administrator privileges. But to be perfectly honest, it’s just sort of inconvenient. In the enterprise, running as an administrator can certainly be against company policy, and depending on what environment you operate in, you may be out of compliance with industry regulations or customer contracts. But thanks to an open source tool (Privileges for macOS) from SAP, Apple focused enterprises now have a great solution. 

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.

So we’ve addressed the problem: it’s ideal to not use an administrator account when using macOS, but it can be inconvenient because there are times when you have to have it for various tasks you need to do. Enter: Privileges for macOS. It’s designed to allow users to work as a standard user for day-to-day use, by providing fast access to administrator rights when needed. When you do need admin rights, you click on the Privileges icon in your Dock to have it for a preset period of time (default of twenty minutes).

Privileges.app for macOS supports the follow versions of macOS:

  • macOS 10.12.x
  • macOS 10.13.x
  • macOS 10.14.x
  • macOS 10.15.x

SAP and Apple have been working together in recent years. As of a year ago, they had 17,000 Macs, 83,000 iOS devices, and 170 Apple TVs. At that scale, they certainly know what they are doing when it comes to managing Apple devices at scale.

Privileges.app for macOS

Privileges.app is a great solution, and the best part for Apple-focused enterprises is that it’s free (open source). The latest version includes dark-mode support, notification center, interactive dock icons, supports 9 languages, and is now fully manageable through MDM profiles. IT departments can set default toggle time limits or change admin privileges permanently and immediately through deploying profiles.

Kudos to SAP for making Privileges.app for macOS open-sourced. They could have easily sold it to companies that deploy Apple products. It’s one of those products that once you realize it exists, you wonder why Apple hasn’t built the functionality into macOS and its MDM APIs. You can download Privileges for macOS from SAP’s Github page.

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About the Author

Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.

Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.