Mac Managed Software Center

Click here to open the Mac Software Center, or go to Applications and double-click "Managed Software Center". Alternatively, search for "Managed Software Center" in Spotlight.

Don't have it yet? Click on Obtaining the Mac Software Center.

The Mac Software Center is a tool for automatically installing software managed by IT Services onto University-owned Macs, and keeping it up to date. IT Services install Software Center on new Macs.

  • Software self-service lets staff with Macs install many applications whenever it suits them.
  • In most cases installation is completely automated. Many applications can update in the background. If necessary, you will be notified if an open application needs to be closed.
  • You don't need Elevated User Rights (EUR) or Administrator access to install software from the Software Center.
  • Applications can be installed from the Software Center when you're away from the University, by connecting to the University network via the F5 Access VPN client.

When the Software Center opens, you will see a screen similar to that shown below:

The four buttons at the top of the Software Center window are as follows:

  • Software: A list of software that is available for you to choose to install (or remove) from your Mac. To install something, just press 'Install'. The progress of the installation is then shown in the 'Updates' section.
  • Categories: We are attempting to split our available software titles into Categories, to make it easier for you to browse to software that may interest you.
  • My Items: This lists software titles that you have already installed or chosen to install on your Mac. Note that unlike 'Purchases' on the Mac App Store, these are specific to the computer you are on.
  • Updates: This shows any updates that are available to software that you have installed on your Mac via the Software Center, and additionally any available Apple Software Updates, eg. iTunes, Safari etc. You can install these via Managed Software or the Mac App Store - either will have the same effect.

How does the Mac Software Center work?

Managed Software Center interacts with a software repository maintained by IT Services' IT Devices Team. The underlying technology is called "Munki", an open source system used for Mac software deployment in hundreds of organisations internationally. Users of Munki include Google, Facebook, Disney, and a number of renowned Universities.

Managed Software Center periodically checks in with our servers to see if there are updates available. This includes both Apple updates and any third-party software you have previously chosen to install. When updates are available you will be informed of the available updates, just like with Apple’s Software Update/Mac App Store system.

How will it help me?

We intend to make a range of University-licensed and previously awkward-to-install software titles available via Managed Software Center. The goal is to make it easier for members of staff to obtain this software without having to make a request to IT Services to get it installed on your behalf, or to have to plough through long sets of instructions. Paid-for, individually licensed software such as Adobe Creative Suite can also be made available via Managed Software Center.

Additionally, we provide automatic updates for frequently updated software such as Java, Adode Flash and Adobe Reader, so you don't have to manually update them.

Why can't I update Keynote, Pages or Numbers via the Mac App Store?

Even if you install any iWork apps via Mac Software Center, you may be notified of updates to these via the Mac App Store. However, it is not possible to update your installations of these applications in this manner. It is our policy to test updated applications as they are released, in order to ensure compatibility with our systems and to reduce the risk of any issues that may affect our users' machines. Once updates to iWork applications have been tested, they will be distributed via Mac Software Center.

Will the Mac Software Center take take away my Administrator Rights?

No, this is just an alternative to the built-in Apple Software Updates system, allowing us to provide and maintain third party software titles to you in an easier way than alternative methods such as web links or file repositories, which don’t automatically provide software updates to you after initial installation.

This does not affect your local administrator rights, or prevent you from installing other software not available via the Mac Software Center. It is also intelligent enough to not overwrite versions of software you have already installed.

The Mac Software Center system can also be used to safely uninstall software you have previously installed.

What software is available, and who decides what will be added?

Our initial priorities for adding software to the Mac Software Center are for items that are not easily available, such as University-licensed Software, and those items which update frequently requiring time-consuming user intervention, such as Java. We will continue to make as much software as possible available via Self Service, but what appears in the list is dependant upon license concerns, or other restrictions. If you have any questions or want to request installation of software that does not appear in the list, please contact the Service Desk.

Can I add my own software to the Mac Software Center so that it updates automatically?

You can't add it yourself, but please do put a request in to the Service Desk, and we will investigate.

Can I use this on personal machines?

This resource is only provided for University Macs.

Managed Software Center won't install on my Mac. What do I do?

If the installer on these pages doesn't work, it is likely that we do not have a record of your machine in our database. The installer contains a check against our computer database to prevent personally owned Macs installing it. If you have an IT tag, please send a request to the Service Desk including the IT tag and the serial number, and we will update our records. If you donít have a tag (but your Mac is a University computer), please make a request to the Service Desk to get one.

Can I install the software and updates at home?

In order to access Mac Software Center whilst away from the University, you will first need to connect your machine to the UoB network using the F5 Access VPN client.