2017 Macbook Pros with 10.13 downgrading to 10.12

danshaw
Contributor II

My company is starting to use the 2017 Macbook Pro's (USB-C) and our current imaging setup is no longer cutting it, but we are also not yet ready to move to 10.13.

Currently we use Casper Imaging to lay down 10.12 along with a number of apps, but these Macbook Pro's are now coming with 10.13 with APFS preinstalled and imaging them is not working. So ideally I would like to downgrade every Macbook Pro that we buy and set it up with 10.12. We'll then upgrade later.

Is anyone doing this with any success? What is your method? We have DEP enabled, but I don't want to use 10.13 so that won't work just yet. I also don't want to have to manually format each drive to HFS+ and re-install manually.

I know the future is DEP, but I can't see that being viable until we accept 10.13. With so many imaging options out there, what would be the best use of my time to set up?

14 REPLIES 14

bvrooman
Valued Contributor

Leaving the drive formatted as APFS is likely to fail, but does reformatting to HFS+ work? If not, it is possible that the new machines are coming with firmware that does not support an OS prior to 10.13.x. Normally that only happens after some sort of hardware refresh, but absent another explanation, it would explain what you're seeing.

Downgrading is also a licensing minefield; you may not actually have the right to run an older OS on the newer hardware without purchasing a license separately (even though it's free in the app store, I believe Apple still sells bare licenses for about $30 [for 3rd-or-greater VMs on the same hardware, etc.]).

drheiner
New Contributor III

We have the same laptops so currently have a process in place that utilizes custom automated App/Script we wrote that uses diskutil commands to back down the APFS container on the local HDD to HFS+ before launching Casper Imaging as we are also on an early MacOS build. It seems Casper/Jamf Pro imaging has a tough time handling this between switching filing systems. We are on Jamf version 9

strider_knh
Contributor II

Not sure what version of the JSS you are using but 9.x can not handle APFS and so may not be able to convert the drive back to HFS+. Have you tried to convert the device back to HFS+ before imaging it?

Nix4Life
Valued Contributor

@danshaw in the same boat. with (Filevault,AD,etc issues) we are downgrading. So far it has only been 5 machines. We made a Sierra Netinstaller which we boot off of, reformat the drive to HFS+, then continue with our current workflow.

danshaw
Contributor II

@strider.knh We are currently on 9.10, but I am upgrading us to 10 next week. Either way, I converted the device back to HFS+ using disk utility and then re-installed 10.12 and that worked. But it was a manual process.

@drheiner So are you saying that you mount the drive on your imaging Mac and then run the script on the target drive? Do you have any issues mounting the pro's using target disk mode? That was one of the issues I was having.

drheiner
New Contributor III

@danshaw Correct (Netboot/USBboot). Using MacOS 10.13 is the key for your bootable machine (not the one you are going to image). You can use diskutil commands or write a script to do it for you.

danshaw
Contributor II

@Nix4Life & @drheiner - Looks like you both have the same workflow pretty much. Can you help me confirm that this is your process?

For our situation we are using NetSUS on a Linux VM. So I will be setting up the Netboot image using that.

Step 1: Set up a 10.13 Netboot image using AUTOCASPERNBI. Or do you recommend another method? I see that AutoCasperNBI still has a few known issues on 10.13.

Step 2: Boot into the Netboot image which will have Casper Imaging on it. At this point, run a shell script (or create a package of the script) that essentially reverts the HD back to HFS+.

Step 3: Image laptop as normal using Casper Imaging.

Nix4Life
Valued Contributor

Hey @danshaw was offline most of the day so sorry for the late reply. We are not touching 10.13 for anything now,only testing.
Workflow:
Step 1. We created a 10.12.6 Sierra_Netinstall.nbi

Step 2. Boot Sierra_Netinstall.nbi, then choose Disk Utility to reformat drive back to HFS+,Quit. System will ask you to choose a startup drive

Step 3. Choose Casper.nbi we created last year.Continue current workflow

kowsar_ahmed
Contributor

You'll need to erase the disk within netboot via terminal if it is already on APFS. Netboot, open terminal, get the disk ID (diskutil list) then do:
diskutil apfs deleteContainer 'diskID' Once this is complete you can erase the disk using Disk Utility back to JHFS+ or via terminal diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ Macintosh HD /dev/DISKID

I succeeded as above, but had to make sure the deployment was 10.12.6 and not 10.12.5.

Good luck!

danshaw
Contributor II

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I am going to give this a try and will report back on my findings.

jdye
New Contributor III

Here's what I did to make it work:

-Got one of our 10.12 machines imaged with our standard setup

-Ran a TIme Machine Backup of that 10.12 machine.

-Whenever we get a new laptop with 10.13 pre-installed, I can erase the disk and restore the 10.12 Time Machine backup via macOS Recovery, which loads the computer with that version of the OS.

That's it!

jconte
Contributor II

Here is a script that we are using to put the 10.13 (APFS) drive back to HFS+, then I use our build stick to install the OS.

#!/bin/bash convertDisk=$(diskutil list internal | grep -B 2 "APFS Container Scheme" | grep /dev | awk '{print $1}') diskutil apfs deleteContainer "$convertDisk" diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ "Macintosh HD" /dev/disk0 exit

danshaw
Contributor II

Thanks @jconte. I'll be using that. Is your build stick a usb stick? How did you set that up? Is it just running a version of OSX with the casper suite? Just curious how others are imaging these days. 🙂

jconte
Contributor II

No problem @danshaw we image from OEM using the enrollment URL and the quickadd package. Basically new machines hit the enrollment URL download the quickadd and go. For rebuilds, we boot off of the appropriate build stick and rebuild then use the enrollment URL and quickadd. I call it the poor mans version of DEP, hopefully we can move to DEP this year.

Here is the link to creating Boot Disk's :

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

Jeff