Apple Silicon, the softwareupdate binary and password prompts


With Apple recently releasing macOS 11.0.1, many Mac Admins over at the Slack started to see password prompts like the above.

Some digging has revealed that this password prompt is shown when the softwareupdate binary is called, and only on Apple Silicon devices.

Calling the softwareupdate binary is something which we Mac Admins have done for years, and it’s likely folks have workflows in place calling the softwareupdate binary which is then triggering this prompt.

So, what’s the fix? Short term, don’t call the softwareupdate binary on Apple Silicon devices and raise this issue with Apple. 

Longer term? Unsure. There is still documentation around Apple Silicon devices to be posted  by Apple, and until we have documentation we can but guess.

4 thoughts on “Apple Silicon, the softwareupdate binary and password prompts

  1. Hmm, I attended a k-12 webinar from apple about silicon devices and the work flow process for imaging is NOT the same as the work flow process we use for intel Macs. GRRRRRR!!!!!!
    If you get access to documentation, I would appreciate an email with details.

  2. Anne Pender

    I was prompted to enter credentials when trying to reinstall Big Sur via startosinstall… except it refused to believe that the account I was using (local, created by my MDM during the original install but not via Apple’s first-account process) was an admin. I created a 2nd admin account, used it to demote and then re-promote the first account, and then it worked. (At least until the system finally rebooted and it said it couldn’t activate because there were no admin accounts, and I had to erase and reinstall to continue. Which in this case was what I wanted to do, but with numerous extra clicks.)

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