Mac OSX Sierra release

*Please note that the new Optimized Storage feature added in Mac OS X Sierra may transfer sensitive or confidential materials from your hard drive to iCloud. University Systems stongly recommends that any faculty and staff upgrading to Mac OS X Sierra disable Optimized Storage and refrain from using iCloud to store any university data as the privacy of this data can not be guaranteed.

General

Mac OS X Sierra (version 10.12, hereafter referred to as Sierra) is the latest release of the Apple operating system for Macintosh workstations such as iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Pros. Released on September 20th, 2016, Apple lists many new features and improvements over the previous version at http://www.apple.com/osx. A pre-release version of Sierra was tested for compatibility with a number of UVic applications and systems.

Until a more thorough test and review of the release version of Sierra can be performed after September 20th, 2016, University Systems does not recommend upgrading to Mac OS X Sierra (version 10.12).

New Macintosh hardware

If you are buying a new Macintosh it may come with Sierra pre-installed. We recommend that you run Software Update to ensure you have any updates both for OS X but also for any Apple applications that may require an update to run under Sierra.

Updating your Mac

If you have technical support through Desktop Support Services (DSS), in your department, or through the Computer Help Desk, please contact them to arrange your upgrade.

If you are planning to update your existing Mac to Sierra yourself we recommend you follow this process:

http://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade

It is especially important that you back up your Mac prior to upgrading.

Web browsers

Java plugin

If you are using an older version of Java, please note that your older version will be disabled if you upgrade to Sierra. Oracle Java 8u101 appears to run normally but may have to be reinstalled after upgrading.

Safari 10.0

The latest version of Safari does not have issue rendering and interacting with the UVic websites tested. My page, Webmail, Outlook Web Access, CourseSpaces, FAST, and Banner all work as expected. Sign on to UVic works across uvic.ca and web.uvic.ca without issue. By default, the Java plugin is not enabled in Safari. When accessing a website that requires Java for the first time (such as Banner), you will be prompted to enable the Java plugin and reboot your browser. You may also need to make a security exception for banner.uvic.ca in the Java Control Panel.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox 48 was tested with the same process as Safari and preformed as expected.

Productivity applications

Microsoft Office 2016

Microsoft Office 2016 suite does not appear to have any compatibility issues with Sierra as long as it is updated to the latest version available. Documentation for configuring Outlook 2011 for use with UVic’s Microsoft Exchange Email and Calendaring system is available here which is very similar to Outlook 2016. For more support setting up Outlook 2016 for Mac please contact the Computer Help Desk.

Mac Mail, Calendar & Address Book

Please note that the following is provided for informational purposes only. University Systems does not support the use of Mac Mail, Calendar, and Address Book with the Microsoft Exchange Email and Calendaring system at UVic.

Mac Mail, Calendar and Contacts' compatibility with Microsoft Exchange has improved over previous versions of Mac OS. When starting Mac Mail for the first time it prompts for a name, email address and password. Once one enters their NetLink ID and password Mac Mail will automatically detect UVic's Exchange server. Once an exchange account is setup, Mac Contacts automatically has access to one's Exchange address books and the UVic global address list.

Although Mac Mail functions with the UVic Exchange servers, it does not implement all of the features of an Outlook client. Exchange server-side rule configuration, mail categories, and mailbox delegation are not fully supported and there are known mail synchronization issues.

Networking, Security and printing

Wireless

Wireless connectivity with the UVic, UVicStart and eduroam wireless networks was without issue. When connecting to UVic and eduroam a prompt opened asking for a username and password. Entering netlinkid@uvic.ca and an associated password worked as expected without requiring any certificate configuration.  Instructions to configure UVic wireless networks are available here.

Network storage

University storage resources work as expected with netdrive.uvic.ca shares setup being identical to previous versions of Mac OS.

Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP)

Symantec now has a tested version of SEP that is compatible with Sierra. UVic Staff and Faculty can download the latest version of the SEP client from the Systems software distribution page. If you are using Sierra , it is important to follow all best practices with respect to securing your data

Printing

Printing requires appropriate PPD (Postscript Printer Definition) files that work in Sierra and those may or may not be available from the printer manufacturer – check their website for updated drivers. You may be able to use the Generic Postscript driver.

Printing using PaperCut works with the current 15.2 PaperCut workstation client.

Siri

Apple has integrated Siri into MacOS Sierra. Siri is a built-in “intelligent assistant” that allows the user to speak natural language to give commands. Please note that the voice commands are sent to Apple in order to process your request. Other information, such as your name, nickname and relationships found in your contacts are also sent to Apple. This data is not associated with your AppleID, instead Apple uses a random identifier. More information can be found here: http://www.apple.com/ca/privacy/approach-to-privacy/

UVic applications

Filevault 2 Whole Disk Encryption

Filevault 2 successfully ran and encrypted the hard drive as expected in OS X 10.12 Sierra.

VPN client

UVic uses a Cisco Systems virtual private network for securing remote connections to the university's network. The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client version 3.1.04074 installs without issue using the instructions available here. A test of connection stability was satisfactory.

iCloud

OS X 10.12 Sierra continues Apple's integration of iCloud service within the operating system.  Before using any iCloud features, University Systems recommends that you review the internet storage section of the secure your data page.  This section outlines relevant UVic policies and provincial legislation surrounding privacy and the use of cloud services.

University Systems recommends that faculty and staff refrain from using iCloud to store any university data as the privacy of this data can not be guaranteed. 

Other application compatibility

RoaringApps has created an application compatibility wiki for Mac OS X Sierra here:

http://roaringapps.com/apps

If you have concerns about a specific application, or a particular version of an application, you can visit RoaringApps to see if other users or the vendor have reported any issues with OS X Sierra.

You may want to simply try the Yosemite or OS X 10.7-10.10 option on vendor websites when downloading application installers – it may work fine in Sierra.

Questions about Sierra?

If you have any questions about Mac OS X 10.12, please contact the Computer Help Desk for additional information. We will continue to update this bulletin as we test additional features and compatibility with OS X 10.12.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Desktop Support Services or the Computer Help Desk at helpdesk@uvic.ca or 250-721-7687.