Monday, December 5, 2016

Can I upgrade my Mac's operating system to macOS Sierra?

ITS has been testing macOS Sierra since its release in September 2017. Apple has released several maintenance updates since the initial 10.12.0 release. We recommend that you only upgrade if your computer has at least 35GB of storage space available and 8GB of RAM or more. Before upgrading, make sure you have a backup plan and set aside plenty of time. ITS does not recommend this upgrade for Mac models older than 4 years.

Even if your Mac meets all of the minimum requirements, you’ll need a newer model Mac and a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch to use features like Handoff, Auto Unlock, Siri, Apple Pay on the Web, Apple's Continuity tools, and more. Does your Mac meet the requirements to use all of macOS Sierra's new features? If not, you may want to think about whether it is worth the effort to install it.

macSierra Upgrade Checklist

✓ Back up my data to H or Google Drive.

Backing up your data is strongly recommended. Once the update is complete, there's no going back.

✓ Check software compatibility.

What are the most important software programs you use every day? Many programs such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive are known to work great with macOS Sierra, but some specialized software may need patches or paid upgrades before they work. If you aren’t sure, contact the ITS Help Desk at Faculty members may contact their Academic Information Associate.

✓ Make sure I have enough storage space.

You need 35GB of available storage capacity. To find the available storage go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Storage.

✓ Make sure I have enough memory (RAM).

ITS recommends at least 8GB of RAM, otherwise your computer will run very slowly. To find the memory (RAM) go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac then Overview, look for Memory.

✓ Make sure my hardware is compatible if I want to use Sierra’s new features.

Macs older than 4 years can run some, but not all, of Sierra's new features, including Universal Clipboard. Apple Watch Unlock will only work on Macs with Bluetooth 4.0. So if you want to make the most out of the new software, make sure you have one of the Mac models listed below.
  • Mac Pro (late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (late 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (mid-2012 or newer)
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (mid 2012 or newer)

✓ Make sure my operating system (OS) is compatible.

Your Mac must be running OS X 10.7.5 or later. To find the version of OS X, go to the Apple menu and choose About This Mac.
  • OS X El Capitan v10.11
  • OS X Yosemite v10.10
  • OS X Mavericks v10.9
  • OS X Mountain Lion v10.8
  • OS X Lion v10.7

✓ Clear my schedule.

Upgrading your device to macOS Sierra may take hours.

More information and resources

Thursday, December 1, 2016

eduroam, new wireless option at Mac and beyond

Connect to eduroam at Mac and other participating institutions

When you are visiting a friend at the U of M, or attending a conference at Carleton, or studying abroad at the University of Madrid, wouldn't it be nice if your phone and laptop were connected to Wifi upon arrival? Connect to eduroam wireless network at Macalester so that you will always be connected to wifi where eduroam is available.

Use your own Macalester credentials

During the fall 2016 semester, Macalester enabled eduroam, a new wireless network that one can sign into on campus with their Macalester username (full email address) and password. Once you set up your mobile device, when you go to other participating eduroam institutions locally or abroad, your device will automatically be connected to wireless internet.

Visitors use their own credentials

The same is true if someone is coming to Macalester from a participating eduroam institution. If they are signed up for eduroam on their home campus and traveling to Macalester, they will automatically be set up with wireless internet access at Mac.

Get connected to eduroam

Read the step-by-step get connected to eduroam guide. Contact the ITS Help Desk at for assistance.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Spear Phishing - NOT from Payroll!

Several Macalester people have received the following spear phishing message in the last day or two. It is NOT legitimate, and does NOT originate from College Payroll staff! This is an attempt to fool you into surrendering confidential information. Don't fall for it.

Here's the text of the scam, followed by some clues to its true nature.


From: Payroll Services <>
Date: Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 9:28 AM
Subject: Your Record Updated -- IMPORTANT

This email is to confirm That You have successfully updated
your  email address via  1600 Grand  Portal .

This update occurred on 11/14/2016 at 7:13 am

If you did not update this information online, please go
or call the Information Technology Services ( ITS) Help
Desk at 651 -696-9400  for assistance.

Please note that if you have multiple email accounts with
the university, you may receive this message at each email
address. If you Performed multiple updates, you may also
receive separate email Confirmations.

Thank you,
Payroll Services.

email is to confirm That You have successfully updated


The scammer put some effort into this message, tailoring it to make you react without thinking. (Those Macalester details are what makes it 'pear phishing.) You might have been temporarily deceived by the From address, by the apparent Web link on Macalester's site, and by the reference to the ITS Help Desk. But look again.

*Who is the message sent TO? Our Payroll colleagues will use your specific Macalester address when emailing you, not leave the To: field blank.

*The telephone number for the Help Desk is wrong, as the online Directory shows. 

*Look at the phrasing, spacing and punctuation. Macalester is not a university. Our portal is 1600grand (one word). The Web link appears to be a Macalester page but isn't. The writing is stilted and oddly capitalized. Official Macalester communications will be better written and clearer than this.

ITS can, and does, protect your data with firewalls, a segmented network and vigilant Infrastructure staff. Scammers know this, recognizing that the quickest way into your account is to fool you into surrendering your credentials. When you receive an email message that looks odd to you or just seems "iffy," stop and think. Take your time to read it carefully. Don't click on any links. Get a second opinion from an ITS staff member, such as your AIA or the ITS Help Desk (the REAL phone number is 651-696-6525

). Don't let surface details like an apparent Macalester address fool you: there are wolves in sheep's clothing out there.  Don't let them into your account!