macOS Shell Scripts: Introduction and Use Cases

macOS Shell Scripts: Introduction and Use Cases

With the growing use of mac devices in workplaces, IT admins spend hours configuring devices manually and performing routine actions. The overall load of mundane IT tasks using graphical UI is enough to overwhelm your IT teams. This is why most IT admins prefer command line interface (CLI) to perform routine IT tasks without having to make countless clicks.

macOS shell scripts

Configuring devices using CLI can also add to the IT load if the number of mac devices is enormous. This is where shell script plays a vital role in saving tremendous amounts of time and effort. macOS shell scripts are the most preferred to perform repetitive functions on multiple devices.

In this article, we will take a look at the basics of macOS shell scripts and how it can step in to reduce the cognitive load on IT teams of organizations that deploy macOS.

What Is a macOS shell script?

A macOS shell script is a set of UNIX commands used to perform system-level tasks and simplify the cognitive IT load. You run a shell script to perform tasks that would otherwise require you to enter commands at the command line. With shell scripts, you can combine a series of repetitive IT tasks and perform them on multiple macOS devices at once. There are periodic countless clicks to perform the same task on multiple employee devices. With shell scripts, you can simply run the script to perform those actions on all your targeted devices with zero clicks.

Types of macOS Shell Scripts

  • Bash scripts: Bash scripts belong to the Bourne family of shells and are written in the bash programming language. Previously, bash was the default shell for macOS. It is fairly simple to run and is generally used for system administration, automated backups, web application deployment, etc.
  • Zsh scripts: After the introduction of Catalina, Apple changed its default shell from bash to zsh (z shell). Zshell is an extended version of the Bourne family of shells and offers improved features, themes, and plugins.

How does macOS shell scripting work?

macOS is based on UNIX, which makes it easier to run shell scripts on macOS devices than Windows 10 devices. To run a macOS shell script, you will first have to write the script in the text editor, word processor, or graphical user interface (GUI). Then, using your mac device’s command line interface called terminal, you will need to locate the folder in which your script exists. Once located, you will need to grant permission for the script to run.

What are the advantages of macOS shell scripting?

  • Saves time: The prime advantage of macOS shell scripting is that you do not have to spend time performing the same set of tasks repeatedly. Running a shell script is a one-time execution that results in outputs on multiple devices at once.
  • More accuracy: macOS shell scripts are a combination of several commands that can be run on multiple systems at once. This negates the chance of human errors involved in running commands on multiple machines manually.
  • Easy and efficient: Writing a shell script requires less time than other programming languages, and it uses the same syntax as the command line, minimizing interpretation issues.
  • Better programming: macOS shell scripts e use arguments, variables, conditionals, etc.,to write more complex applications.

Challenges of macOS shell scripting

Although macOS shell scripting takes a massive load off IT admins, it also produces a new set of challenges for enterprises. Here are a few of them:

  • Monitoring status: Organizing a variety of shell scripts to be executed on a large fleet of mac devices can be a tedious task. It isn’t a cakewalk to keep a tab of various scripts and their execution statuses.
  • Ensuring quality: Ensuring that scripts are correctly coded prior to pushing them on mac devices requires extensive testing that takes immense time and effort.
  • Maintaining accuracy: Different scripts have different purposes and are meant to run at various levels. It is important to ensure that the permissions granted are accurate for them to run successfully at a system or user level.

Deploying Shell Scripts with Scalefusion MDM

macOS shell scripts play a vital role in reducing IT load and simplifying the administration of mac devices. To further enhance the management of mac devices, Scalefusion MDM allows IT admins to upload shell script files onto the MDM dashboard and then run them on tens and thousands of devices remotely.

All you need is a Scalefusion account, a mac device profile, mac devices with version 10.14 and above and enrolled with Scalefusion MDM, and the Scalefusion MDM client installed on your mac devices.

With Scalefusion MDM you can;

  • Upload the macOS app via Scalefusion’s Enterprise Store
  • Upload the macOS shell script

Select the macOS device profile to which you want to publish the script. You can also view the script uploading status and delete or uninstall shell scripts based on your needs. Scalefusion helps execute your shell scripts on multiple mac devices in a reduced span to optimize your remote device management.

Closing Lines

Managing mac devices doesn’t have to be a complicated and tedious task. All you need to do is identify solutions that fit your needs. If you are spending excessive time managing your mac devices, it is time to implement an MDM solution like Scalefusion which lets you use macOS shell scripts to your benefit.

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Mohamed Elarby

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