Buyers Guide for macOS & iOS in the Enterprise

This article is more of a productivity article aimed at getting first time users up and running quickly on their Mac, iPhones or iPads. Anyone looking to buy one of these products or Tech Support teams that help employees with their computers would find this article helpful. The thoughts shared here are personal, readers are welcome to share their own thoughts and experiences.

The article is not a comprehensive guide. Its aim is to give potential users some idea as to how the devices can be used in their work environment. Specifically from an Application perspective.



Which one to buy?

This depends on how the device is going to be used. Here are 3 general classifications:

Basic Usage

Basic usage would mean simple day to day tasks. These are the tasks that would qualify for:

  • Checking emails
  • Browsing the web
  • Social Media
  • Listening to Music
  • Watching Movies
  • Composing letters
  • Preparing Presentations & running presentations
  • Note taking

In such a case you may want to consider buying a MacBook or a MacBook Air. If portability is not required then a Mac Mini would also do.

At entry level configurations these devices would do the job very well.

Intermediate Usage

If the tasks being performed are a little more demanding then you may want to consider higher configuration devices. Again in most cases the  MacBook or a MacBook Air would do. If portability is not required then a Mac Mini would also do. In all these cases consider one with slightly higher configuration.

For situations where the compute power is important you may even consider the MacBook Pro. For example, if there are programmers who need to work with a high configuration Mac and they need portability, then you can consider the MacBook Pro.

Pro Usage

This indicates that the tasks being performed are very compute intensive. These are some of the job profiles which may demand compute intensive resources:

  • Programmers
  • Video Editors
  • Audio Editors
  • Post Production Teams
  • Marketing & Creative Teams
  • Scientific Research

For such situations the higher end desktops & MacBook Pros would be required. So the iMac or the highest configuration Mac Mini, or the 15″ MacBook Pro would be best suited for such environments.

In some situations even more powerful computers would be required. The iMac Pro & Mac Pro should then be considered.

Built In Applications that might be useful

Productivity Tools

There are 3 applications which are a part of the suite called iWork that are very useful in organisations.

  • PAGES: Built in word processing application. You can easily created documents, letters, reports and even have them exported in Microsoft Office compatible format.
  • KEYNOTE: Built in presentation applications. Enables you to create powerful presentations from scratch. Like Pages it is possible to create presentations that are compatible with PowerPoint.
  • NUMBERS: Built in spreadsheet application. Enables you to quickly create spreadsheets and export them to Excel if needed.

The other advantage is the fact that these applications are also accessible from the cloud. Tight integration with iCloud means that you can make changes to documents from your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or

Creative Tools

There are 2 applications which are available for creative purpose. These might be handy for people working in the creative departments.

  • IMOVIE: Quick create movies using videos, audios and photos that you have.
  • GARAGEBAND: A simple Music creation application that comes with a library of different instruments.

Popular Third Party Applications

These are just some of the applications.

Office Suite






Data Backup

Virtualisation (Running Windows or Windows Applications on the Mac)

Some tasks that can be done with built in Applications

  • Scanning Documents using Preview
  • Signing Documents using Preview
  • Record Screen Activity using QuickTime
  • Record a quick movie using QuickTime
  • Automate Tasks & create workflows using Automator
  • Encrypt Data using FileVault
  • Show your iPhone/iPad screen on a projector using QuickTime on Mac
  • Backup data using Time Machine



Which one to buy?

The decision on whether to buy the iPhone &/or the iPad depends a lot on what you intend to use it for. As such the major differences between the 2 devices are:

  • iPads tend to have larger screens
  • iPhone has cellular communication capability
  • iPhones are more portable as compared to iPads
  • iPads are better suited for long duration usage
  • iPads tend to be higher powered devices

While it appears that iPads are better than iPhones, that is not necessarily the case. iPhones being smaller and more compact have many advantages too.

Ideally speaking having both, an iPhone and an iPad, is the best thing to do.

To make a decision use the task list below to help find out if you need an iPhone or an iPad or both.

Note, even though I mention that the tasks can be performed easily on an iPhone, many of the tasks can also be done very easily on the iPad. The point is to illustrate ease of use in situations where you have to perform tasks with a single hand or when you are on the move.

Tasks easily performed on an iPhone

  • Making calls
  • Messaging
  • Scheduling activities such as: Reminders, Appointments, Events
  • Taking Photos & Videos
  • Emails
  • Banking Transactions
  • Finding Transit Directions
  • Finding a Taxi
  • Making E-Payments

Tasks easily performed on the iPad

  • Writing letters & blogs
  • Creating Presentations
  • Working with spreadsheets
  • Creating posters, flyers
  • Working with business applications
  • Content creation

If you do a mixture of tasks from both the lists then getting both an iPhone as well as an iPad is a good idea.

A thing to keep in mind is that the Pro version of the iPad also has a nice keyboard accessory as well as the  Pencil available. These 2 products make the whole experience so much better.

Screen size consideration

iPhone and iPad screen sizes vary quite a bit. Here are some tips on the tasks which can be best performed on specific screen sizes.

Creative Work

Generally speaking, creative tasks require a large screensize. So for an iPhone the smallest screen you should have is 4.7″. Similarly for the iPad the smallest screen you should have is the  9.7″.

Documents, letters, spreadsheets

These tasks are better performed on the iPads as such you can go for any screen size in them. Of the lot, its a lot easier to create documents and letters on the phone than spreadsheets. Again, for phones one should the larger the screen size the better.


Like documents and spreadsheets presentations are a lot easier to create on the iPad. They can also be created from the phones. The larger the phone the better.

Messaging & Communication

This is one aspect where the screen size is not so much of an issue. In fact, some users may find the smaller screen size a lot better. Typically, the iPhone is a much better device than the iPad for this.

Productivity & General Tasks

This includes calling taxis, ordering food, taking notes, control keynote presentations, setting up appointments and reminders. These tasks are also best performed on iPhones. They can be done well with the iPad too.

Built In Applications that might be useful

Productivity Tools

There are 3 applications which are a part of the suite called iWork that are very useful in organisations.

  • PAGES: Built in word processing application. You can easily created documents, letters, reports and even have them exported in Microsoft Office compatible format.
  • KEYNOTE: Built in presentation applications. Enables you to create powerful presentations from scratch. Like Pages it is possible to create presentations that are compatible with PowerPoint.
  • NUMBERS: Built in spreadsheet application. Enables you to quickly create spreadsheets and export them to Excel if needed.

The other advantage is the fact that these applications are also accessible from the cloud. Tight integration with iCloud means that you can make changes to documents from your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or

Creative Tools

There are 2 applications which are available for creative purpose. These might be handy for people working in the creative departments.

  • IMOVIE: Quick create movies using videos, audios and photos that you have.
  • GARAGEBAND: A simple Music creation application that comes with a library of different instruments.

Other Apps

  • Notes
  • Voice Memos
  • Files

Popular Third Party Applications

Office Suite






Some tasks that can be done with built in Applications

  • Scanning Documents using Notes
  • Recording Voice Memos
  • Control HomeKit devices
  • Edit PDFs through iBooks
  • Create PDF documents through pages & then edit the PDFs either through iBooks or markup utilities
  • Record and Edit videos using the camera & iMovie

Useful iPad Accessories

 TV

There are a few things that can be done with the  TV. It can be used to mirror both macOS & iOS Devices. In which case apps such as Reflector are not really required.

It is very easy to setup and use. This can make projecting both the iPad screen as well as the iOS Screen very easy & it allows you to move across the room as you are not physically wired to the projector.

Final Word

As we can see there are a wide variety of apps available both for macOS & iOS. These include built in apps as well as Third party apps. The community of developers creating these apps is strong and growing. There are many more apps which can be used for a wide variety of purposes.

This article should give the user a fair idea as to the capabilities of devices such as iPads, MacBooks and the rest of the line up. The good thing is that for enterprise environments its easily possible to create apps that are tailored to the needs of that organisation and this makes the devices much more attractive.


macOS & iOS IT Tool List

This list is based on questions that I have been asked by various IT admins.

It is more of a collection of tools (mainly software, but a few hardware tools too) that Enterprise IT Teams might find useful while supporting/managing Macs & iPhones in the enterprise. Some of the tools are free, while others are paid. Also, it is not necessary that all the tools will be required. Of course, some tools are not meant for troubleshooting but provide a service themselves.

The below list is not an endorsement or recommendation of any of the products mentioned. These are just some of the products I have come across. You may have to do your own research to see which tool fits your organisation’s needs. The author is not responsible for any damages or loss of data that might occur from usage of these tools.

*This list is not a complete list but an ongoing project. Feel free to share your comments on tools that you may have used & I will add them to this list.




macOS Server – NetInstall Service. To be used along with System image Utility




Suspicious Package




Apple Remote Desktop



macOS Server – Time Machine Service


Carbon Copy Cloner


Crash Plan



JAMF Casper Suite


Mobile Iron

macOS Server – Profile Manager Service

Apple Configurator 2

Heat LANRev

Cisco Meraki


Absolute Software


Maas 360 – IBM


Lightspeed Systems


Parallels Desktop

VMWare Fusion

Oracle VirtualBox



Disk Drill



iCloud Control Panel

Move to iOS from Android

Migration Assistant


Workflow for iOS

Automator – Built in app for creating Workflows.


Command Line Script



Network Diagnostics

Network Ping



Air Squirrel


Install Disk – I will be talking about how to create a multi-OS install disk in a later article.


macOS Server – Caching Service





Thunderbolt 1,2,3 Cables
Thunderbolt 1,2
USB-C Cable

FireWire 400/800 Cables

Portable disk with macOS installed on it. Not the same as install disk. Its an external bootable hard drive with the OS installed on it. You can plug this into any Mac & boot from the external HDD.

VGA to MiniDisplay adapter

HDMI to HDMI Cable

Thunderbolt Ethernet Bridge

USB Ethernet Bridge

Adapters for the different ports supported by Macs & iPhones

Lightning Cables

What to do before buying/selling Apple devices?

Apple’s devices are getting more and more popular by the day. People are really excited to get hold of the newest product that comes out of its stable. This guide walks you through some of the things you need to keep in mind while buying used devices or selling your existing device. This may not apply when buying a new product from the store for the first time, however, its still good to know these things & run your device through a checklist.

Note the checklist provided below is by no means comprehensive nor is it complete. There might be other things to keep in mind before buying &/or selling used devices, depending on the geographic area, situation, and circumstances.


Before buying a used products run them through this checklist. Some items are device specific.

  • Make sure there is no physical damage to the device. Dents, scratches, cracks, missing screws.
  • Start the device & make sure it loads up as expected.
  • Check the different user interface elements: touch screen, 3d touch, keyboard, iSight camera, speakers, home button, Microphone
  • Check the different ports: USB, Ethernet, FireWire, Thunderbolt, USB-C, HDMI, Audio-out, SD card reader, lightning connector, 30-pin connector
  • Check the power cord, adapter & charging port
  • Note the version of the OS. Eg: OS X 10.10.3
  • Note the build number
  • Check the model number. This is important for Software Upgrades/Hardware upgrades. Older hardware may have an upper limit on the hardware expansion capability &/or the ability to run latest software optimally.
  • Check the Support Coverage for your device. This is important, especially if you have to take your device in for repairs. – Find your devices Serial Number
  • Note down the serial number
  • Make sure that the device does not contain any personal data belonging to the seller. While it is the sellers responsibility to ensure this, it still is a good idea to verify that there are no accounts are signed into. This is VERY IMPORTANT for iOS Devices due to its implications on Activation Lock.
    Activation lock is used to prevent anyone from using a stolen device:
  • Before buying please check the Activation lock status:
  • Make sure there is no personal digital content in the form of Apps/Song/Movies or documents.
  • For Mac, make sure that there is no Firmware Password that is set.


The list above should give you a good idea on what you need to do while planning to sell your Apple device.

  • Delete all personal data. Make sure you have a backup of the same.
  • Remove any applications you may have installed.
  • Sign out of all accounts: Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook, iCloud, Apple ID…
  • Delete any user accounts you may have created. Leave a single admin account.
  • If you have used any Encryption service then make sure you turn off encryption before selling the device. This is more of a precaution to prevent issues that may arise in the future.
  • This article illustrates what to do if you are selling giving away iOS Devices:
  • As a good measure, delink your Apple ID from your device. You can do this by:
    • Go to
    • Sign in with your Apple ID
    • Click on Settings
    • Select the device you want to give away: IMG_2941
    • Click on the cross to remove it from your Apple IDIMG_2978
  • De-register from iMessage.
  • Remove any custom settings, passwords (Firmware Password) that may compromise your security or prevent the user from fully using the device.
  • As a good measure completely erase the hard drive of your device.
  • Document items such as OS Version, Serial Number for your own reference.

Enterprises may take additional steps

  • To ensure data security, Enterprises may perform Secure Erase or drive replacement to prevent recovery of corporate information, when assigning devices to employees or selling them out in the market.
  • Enterprises should also protect against Activation lock. When collecting iOS Devices, assigned to an employee who is leaving the organisation, always check to make sure that the device is not locked to the employees Apple ID.

These are some of the things that you can do to make the transaction easy on both the sides.


Simple steps for securing your Mac

Continuing on from the previous post, where we learnt to secure our iOS devices, we will now apply similar steps on the Mac.

The security of a computer is easy to maintain if physical access to the device is restricted to yourself as far as possible. If any unauthorised person has physical access to your computer then all bets on security are off. While it’s easy for us to say that no one else is going to use the computer, one must always take some precautions. The following are just some of the steps one could take to secure their Mac.

User Accounts

This is the simplest way of ensuring very basic security. If more than one person is using a Mac one can have different accounts for each user. The account type that can be used for other users are:

  • Standard Users: This is a basic account that is used everyday. This accounts limits the user to his own files & folders only. The user has the option to install applications too.
  • Managed Users: They are standard users with restrictions. An administrator can specify what the user can or cannot do. This includes time limits, restrictions on applications & websites.
  • Guest User: This is the simplest of the lot. Good for people who wish to access their emails & leave no data behind.

User Account Password

This is the simplest form of security. It is the password that you use to login to the computer. Having a strong password goes a long way in securing your Mac.

Setting a password

A password to your account will very likely be set when it was first created.

Changing the password

This can be changed at any point in time.

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Users & Groups
  3. If necessary unlock the padlock icon and authenticate as the administrator on your Mac.
  4. Select your user account
  5. On the right hand side click on change password

The other approach towards changing the password is:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Security & Privacy
  3. Click on the General tab
  4. Click on the “Change Password” button next to the sentence: “A login password has been set for this user”

Note: for both the approaches you must know your existing password.

To create a strong password use the built in Password Assistant 

Encrypted Disk Images

This offers a convenient approach towards storing your files securely. Disk Images are created using Disk Utility. To create encrypted disk images:

  1. Open Disk Utility. It’s located in the Applications > Utilities  folder.
  2. Click File > New > Blank Disk Image.step2
  3. Don’t select the ‘Disk Image from Folder ‘ option.
  4. Specify the size of the image.
  5. In the Image Format select ‘Read/Write’
  6. Under security select the level of encryption desired.
  7. Provide a name and click create.Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 11.44.19 am
  8. Choose where you wish to save the disk image, provide an appropriate password.Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 11.45.22 am
  9. Once the image is created, open the image.
  10. It mounts as a virtual disk, you will be prompted to enter the password you set earlier.
  11. Now you can add files you wish to secure.
  12. Once you are done simply eject the volume.
  13. The next time you wish to access the files simply open the image and authenticate with the password.

This ensures that your information is completely safe.


Firewall OptionsThe firewall option is nice if you want to secure your communications over the network. From here you can control which applications can communicate over the internet or receive communications over the network. Simply turn on the Firewall & control access to the computer.

To customise the access to a network:

  1. Click on Firewall Options
  2. You can then click on the +/- buttons to add or remove applications from your firewall list. You can also modify whether a particular application is blocked.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 11.13.50 am


Disk images provide the option of securing some of your files. But what if there is a lot of secure information that you have? Disk images maybe used but it can become tedious if there are too many files. In such situations using FileVault to secure your files is preferable.

FileVault encrypts your main partition, that is, the partition from where you boot your OS from. Most users would have a single partition on their disk, for them it would mean that FileVault encrypts the whole hard disk. So anything you create on the encrypted partition is automatically secured.

To turn on FileVault:

  1. Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault Tab.
  2. Click ‘Turn on FileVault’.Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.10.02 pm
  3. Authenticate as the administrator if necessary.
  4. You will be asked where you wish to save the ‘Recovery Key’? This key is important because you would need the recovery key to reset your account password if all administrator users forget their password.Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.10.09 pm
  5. You can choose to save it to your iCloud Account
  6. Click continue.
  7. Choose the users who will have the privilege of decrypting the system for daily use.Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.10.16 pm
  8. Click Continue.
  9. Click Restart to start the Encryption process.Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.10.24 pm

Logout & Sleep

If you are leaving the computer idle or unattended for a period of time, then it is a good idea to make sure that the computer itself is locked automatically. These settings can easily be set from System Preferences:

  1. Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy
  2. Click on the General Tab.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 11.20.10 am
  3. Check the box for “Require password after sleep or screen saver begins“. This way the user will have to enter his/her password to start using the computer again. Specify the time duration after which this can happen.
  4. Click on “Advanced
  5. Select the check box to log out after a certain period of inactivity. Specify the time duration.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 11.20.15 am

Find My Mac

This feature has more to do with locating a device that is missing. While it is called Find My Mac, one can locate both OS X as well as iOS devices. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • All the devices to be tracked should be signed in with the same Apple ID.
  • The device must be connected to the Internet.

Setting up Find My Mac is easy:

  1. Open System Preferences > iCloud.
  2. Make sure you are signed in.
  3. On the service list, located on the right hand side, scroll down to the checkbox for Find My Mac.
  4. Select the checkbox for Find My Mac if it is not already selected.
  5. You may need to grant access to location services.

Locating a device using Find My Mac:

  1. On any computer visit www.icloud.comicloud1
  2. Sign in with the same Apple ID/iCloud ID you had signed in with on your Mac.
  3. Once you log in click on the Find My iPhone app. Remember, even if it is called Find my iPhone, you can search for any iOS or OS X device.icloud2
  4. The page should now load with a map of all your devices which are currently online.
  5. You can select a specific device & perform various actions such as: Play Sound, Lock Device, Erase Device. Select the activity appropriate for your needs.icloud4


it is possible to restrict access to a particular set of data on your Mac. Through the privacy tab within System Preferences > Security & Privacy.

From here once can give access to your data at an application level. The kind of data that can be moderated are:

  • Contacts
  • Calendar events
  • Location
  • Reminders
  • Facebook/Twitter credentials

Certain resources such as Location & Diagnostics are controlled by the administrator.

Firmware Password

A Firmware Password is a Logic Board level password. The main purpose of a Firmware Password is to prevent unauthorised modification of the startup process of a Mac. It doesn’t secure your data. But it makes sure that no one can gain access to your computer by changing the boot sequence. It becomes difficult for people to boot your Mac off a network or an external disk.

The process of setting up a Firmware Password is a bit technical. Please consult with a member from the IT Department of your company or contact an Apple Certified Support Professional. You can also approach an Apple Authorised Service Centre for the same. If you have forgotten one, then you will have to approach an Apple Authorised Service Centre for the same. Here are the steps.

Simple steps towards securing your iPhone

Data safety is always a must. With portable devices it gets even more important. Here are a few steps that one can take to make sure their iPhone/iPad/iPod touch is secure. While the guide says iPhone, you can apply many of these steps to other iOS devices, subject to feature availability.


This is the simplest form of security. You are prompted to setup your passcode during the initial device setup itself. While it is not necessary, it is highly recommended. Of course, you can change this at any time. The other option on the newer devices is to use the fingerprint scanner called Touch ID. This adds a convenience to the user while taking care of the security needs. The important thing is that your finger print details are left on the device. Nothing is shared over the internet. The Touch ID is limited to newer devices.






Activation lock is a feature that was first introduced in iOS 7. The idea behind Activation lock is to make sure that no one is able to use a stolen device, even if it is erased. This is activated automatically once you sign into your iCloud account. To use a device after it has been erased, the user must enter the Apple ID & password that was used to sign into iCloud on the device.

Care must also be taken when transferring devices & Activation Lock:


This feature is available via the iCloud service. It allows you to locate your device & shows it up on the map itself. This feature is extremely useful if you have lost the device. Note: For this to work, the device requires an active network connection.



IMG_0439 IMG_0440







Once configured, you can locate the device using the web that is via or through the “Find my iPhone” app on another iOS device.


Another useful option is to automatically erase the phone, if the number of passcode attempts by a user exceeds the maximum specified limit.

This is setup in the Touch ID  & Passcode section within the Settings app.




Just having a passcode or Touch ID may not be enough in all cases. Some data is also available from the lock screen. One can control the availability of data on the lock screen from the Touch ID & Passcode screen within the Settings app.



Additionally, you can also control what information from your device is being shared & which apps have access to that information. There is a lot of flexibility available when it comes to controlling the kind of information being shared.


The user can specify which apps can access their contacts, calendar events, location & other data.


It’s very rare that one leaves their iPhone unattended. But in the rare cases that one is distracted from the task they are performing on the device, it would be nice to know if the device can lock itself up.


This is done through auto lock within the General settings under the settings app.







Located under the general settings within the settings app, restrictions, as the name says, allows us to disable certain applications and actions from being executed.


The passcode is required to enable/disable the feature.