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Apple Is Gutting macOS Server

by Graham Needham (BH) on 25th January 2018

Apple announced on 24th January 2018 that they were going to gut their macOS Server product - I mean, they are literally taking out all the stuff that makes it a "server" product! The following services are going to be removed:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • Mail
  • Messages
  • NetInstall
  • VPN
  • Websites
  • Wiki
The fact that Apple already removed various Server services over the years, then removed File Sharing, Time Machine Server, FTP and Caching from macOS Server 5.4 in 2017, are removing support for 32-Bit Applications, are in the process of killing Apple File Protocol (AFP) / HFS(+) and they have killed or are killing many other technologies, this extremely rapid movement forward with little or no regard for compatibility, stability, security, enterprise or professional users leaves a very sour taste in the mouth. I've been a fan of Apple since 1992 and regularly promote Apple technologies and products but that is now going to stop for a lot of my clients. Some would say this day came a long time ago but I'd held out but now Apple are totally f**king all professional and enterprise users. Sure, if you want to beta test Apple's software, need a smart phone, surf the web, write emails, use social media, Apple has a great (and expensive) product for you but if you need your equipment for professional/enterprise purposes it is now definitely the time to start seriously looking at alternatives…

From a security point of view (and as the Server services are actually part of the operating system - the Server app is just a configuration window to the services and Apple has stated the Spring 2018 update will simply hide the deprecated services) operating system updates should keep the services going and secure. This means:

  • OS X 10.10 and earlier + Server - no change but security updates have already ceased!
  • OS X 10.11 + Server 4/5 - no change but security updates will cease around Autumn 2018
  • macOS 10.12 + Server 5.2-5.3.1 - no change but security updates will cease around Autumn 2019
  • macOS 10.13.0 - 10.3.3 + Server 5.4/5.5 - no change but security updates will cease around Autumn 2020
  • macOS 10.13.4 - 10.3.6 + Server 5.6+ - services should still work but configuration will be difficult/impossible + security updates will cease around Autumn 2020
  • macOS 10.14 + Server 5.8?+ - server services are gutted and are no longer available

So, if you've invested in macOS Server what should you do? Here are my recommendations that you should do now, do not pause, do not pass go, do these now:

If you are currently running macOS / OS X Server with macOS 10.12 or earlier:

  1. Download and archive† the full installer for your current version of macOS / OS X
  2. Download and archive† your current version of macOS / OS X Server

Whatever version of macOS / OS X Server you are running:

  1. Download and archive† the full installer for macOS 10.13.3 (released 23rd January 2018)
  2. Download and archive† each successive "combo" update for macOS 10.13 that is released
  3. Download and archive† macOS Server 5.4/5.5

† - make multiple copies, on multiple storage devices in multiple locations including off site!

This way you will have your current + 10.3.3 installer + the last full/configurable version of macOS Server 5.4/5.5 to rebuild/reinstall from, with all services intact and configurable going forward as opposed to only being able to get later versions which will be a crapshoot to start with and difficult/impossible to back track from to where you were before.

Whatever you do, going forward, do not rely on Apple for your company/enterprise products or services - with all of the above + the lack of proper Apple support policies/timeframes, big security errors/not backdating all security updates, battery shenanigans, users essentially beta testing software updates, £3000+ computers that brick themselves - all of this, IMHO, is going to be the straw that could break the camel's back for Apple's pro/enterprise users.

Blog Post Author = Graham Needham (BH)
Blog Post Created On = 25th January 2018
Blog Post Last Revised = 25th January 2018 13:14
Blog Post URL =

This blog post is representative of the blog author's individual opinions and as such any opinions that may be expressed here may not necessarily reflect the views of everyone at MacStrategy or the holding company Burning Helix.

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