How to set up the Calendar Service in macOS Sierra Server

Server’s calendar service is one of my favorite features in the Server app and the one most likely to fly under your radar. When you think about hosted calendar services your mind likely drifts to Google, iCloud, or Exchange, but the Server app’s calendar service offers more features than you may be aware of and gives you the benefit of keeping your business’ private calendar information secure and within the walls of your company.

In addition to the usual calendar fare, Server’s Calendar service lets you manage resource schedules (say, conference rooms and projectors), delegate calendar responsibilities to surrogates, offers automatic schedule checking for all invited attendees, including resources, allows file attachments, private event annotations, and uses Apple’s push notification services to update events. In short, it’s a pretty robust hosted calendar that’s likely to fit most of your needs.

Turn on the Calendar service

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Turn up the Time Machine service in macOS Server

You’re probably familiar with Time Machine, Apple’s excellent built-in backup application designed to make backing up your Mac and restoring data simple and safe. But, unless you have an Airport Time Capsule, it’s likely that you only think about Time Machine as a way to back your Mac up to an external hard drive connected to your Mac.

What you may not know is that the macOS Server app offers a way for you to back up all the Macs in your home, small office, or your entire enterprise environment.

How Time Machine works

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How to set up macOS Server’s VPN service

Last year we looked at services you could use to secure connections to servers and websites when you were on the public Internet. This week we’re going to take a look at setting up the Server app’s VPN service, which you can use to gain secure access to your private network on the public Internet.

The acronym VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and VPNs allow users to be anywhere in the world and create a secure connection to private networks. VPNs secure your data using data encryption and tunneling, If you want more information on how VPNs work, take a look here, but in simplest terms, using a VPN is like connecting a very long ethernet cable from a computer anywhere in the world to your private network.

VPN and the Server app

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Why 'Transfer Purchases' doesn't copy apps to iTunes when backing up your iPhone

Last week we talked about creating a backup of your iOS device that, when restored, would also restore all your apps. As I noted in the article, an iCloud backup restores apps and their related data, and restoring using an iTunes backup does, but maybe not the way you expect it to.

Shortly after the article posted, Sandeep Roy sent me a message via Twitter and posted a comment asking about an apparent footnote at the end of the Apple support article I referenced stating that, as of iOS 9, there were changes to iTunes’ Transfer Purchases option that no longer allowed you to transfer app purchases. He asked if I would check it out. The footnote, which Apple Support on Twitter hadn’t told me about and which I hadn’t read when I read the support article, stated the following:

With iOS 9 or later, apps will not sync or transfer to iTunes via Transfer Purchases. If you would like to download your apps to your iTunes library, make sure to turn on Automatic Downloads for your iTunes purchases. You can also download past purchases.

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The difference between backing up an iPhone to iCloud and iTunes

Recently I was hiking in the Adirondacks with my iPhone in my pocket when I got caught in a torrential rain storm. I’m not a crazy case guy, so, as is always the, uh..., case, my iPhone was naked. I didn’t think was a problem. I had on a killer Patagonia rain jacket that was supposed to be completely water proof, including the zippered front pockets, which is where I put my phone when the rains arrived. As it happens, they weren’t waterproof enough (Yeah, Patagonia, I’m looking at you...) and my phone took on more than a couple drops of rain.

I won’t go into the details of the damage, but I wasn’t worried because I have AppleCare + and this was the first time in all my years of unprotected iPhone use that I had to take advantage of it. I also had a full iCloud backup, which put me in good stead once I had a new phone in my hands. But, since an iCloud restore also meant I’d have to be near Wi-Fi and plugged in to get my phone back us to speed. So, I created an iTunes backup before I replaced it at the Apple Store. Yes, I could see my phone in iTunes but the display was dead.

So, I plugged in, backed up and got my phone replaced, and restored my backup from iTunes.

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Starting up using a Network Home and a NetBoot Image

This is the last episode on the NetInstall service, which will let us connect to a network home folder that the user can customize to their liking, using a NetBoot image that they can’t change at all.

To get started with this final ep you’ll need the disk image you created in episode 6 and an external disk to restore the image to.

Creating a fresh OS install

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Setting up NetBoot with Network Home Folders

You may recall from our episode on starting your Mac using NetBoot images that using a NetBoot image requires you to go through the setup process every time you restarted your Mac. This sounds useless, on the face of it, but it isn’t when you use this feature in conjunction with a default image that never needs to change and user accounts and Home Folders hosted on your NetInstall server.

For our last two NetInstall episodes we’ll use the NetBoot service with network Home Folders and Open Directory user accounts.

First steps

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