Apple Macintosh Systems in the Department of Physics


The Department of Physics has a large deployment of Apple Macintosh Systems. This page describes the main Apple Macintosh services provided by the department and also any Frequently Asked Questions.

The Department of Physics supports any Apple Macintosh system that is running a supported version of MacOS, this is normally the last three versions of MacOS. If you have any Apple support queries or questions then please email the following email address:

itsupport@physics.ox.ac.uk

Initial Setup and Standard Applications Installed on Physics Apple Macintosh Systems

Every Apple Macintosh system setup by Physics IT Support has Self Service installed and can either be setup with a minimal install which installs the minimum requirements for connecting a system to the Physics network or has a standard set of applications installed on the system. Whenever possible these applications are updated automatically on your system. These are:

Apple Macintosh Desktop Systems


All Apple desktop systems setup by the department use your Physics account credentials to login.

Systems running macOS Sierra 10.12 or earlier your home directory is mounted from a Physics file server in /home/username, your home directory has two nightly backups of your data.

Systems running macOS High Sierra 10.13 or later your home directory is stored locally on the system disk in /Users/username and the home directory will synchronise with the Physics file server hourly. For more information on the home directory setup in macOS High Sierra please see the following webpage here

Each system should also have a /Data directory which can be used to store any software or data you wish to store locally on the system, we recommend creating a directory with your username and storing your datasets, software or applications in that directory. Any data stored locally on the system is not backed up unless you have Physics Time Machine enabled on the system.

Apple Macintosh Laptop Systems


Apple MacBook laptop systems are setup with a local administrator account normally with the same username as your Physics account but with a different password.

By default laptop systems are not backed up however we recommend that you use the built in Time Machine backup service either to a external USB device or to the Physics Time Machine Server. All new laptop systems are encrypted with the builtin FileVault disk encryption system, for older laptops which do not have encryption enabled it is available from Self Service.

Physics Self Service and installing other Applications and Software.

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All Apple Macintosh systems setup by IT Support comes with the Physics Self Service application installed. This application allows you to update or install preconfigured software onto your Apple Mac system.

All Apple Macintosh systems are able to install software from the Apple Apps Store if you sign in with your Apple ID account. If you need to purchase software from the Apple Apps Store then contact IT Support.

If wish to augment the existing MacPorts installation on your desktop system with your own MacPorts installation then you can do so via MyMacPorts. If you wish to build your own software and libraries then you can in your /Data directory, for more information on building your own software then please click here.

If you are still unable to install software onto your Apple Macintosh system then contact IT Support

Upgrading Apple MacOS Operating System

Apple release a new version of MacOS every year and they tend to only release security updates for the last three versions, therefore you will need to keep the operating system on your system up to date.

  • Advice on how to upgrade your Apple Desktops system can be found here.
  • Advice on how to upgrade your Apple Laptop system can bet found here.