Utilizing a Mac and not using a community connection – The Eclectic Mild Firm

2023-03-14 02:59:17

If community connections are actually so vital to Macs, what can a Mac working Ventura do with out being related to a community? Can it nonetheless run apps, and the way does it address duties like Gatekeeper checks? This text explains what does and doesn’t work when a Mac working Ventura has no community connection in any respect.

To analyze this, moderately than making an attempt to dam community connections on a Mac, I constructed a brand new model of my light-weight virtualiser Viable with the choice to run fully locked down in a sandbox, with none shared folders, and with no community gadget obtainable. That is an replace to the sandboxed model of that app, ViableS. If you wish to do that out your self, ViableS 1.0.8 (beta 8) is offered from right here: viables1b8


This merely provides a checkbox so you possibly can run a VM with or with out its NAT community connection gadget.

Putting in macOS

Organising a macOS VM in ViableS is a two-step course of. First, the VM must be put in from an IPSW picture into a brand new VM bundle. As soon as that’s executed, you begin that VM up for macOS to finish set up with personalisation and configuration, simply as you’d when your Mac first begins up into a brand new macOS boot quantity group.


Early throughout that course of, macOS 13.2 detected that no community was obtainable, and supplied to attempt connecting with Ethernet. The opposite possibility, admission of the unhappy undeniable fact that your Mac doesn’t connect with the web, resulted in a dialog making an attempt to influence me that I actually needed to attempt once more. However I persevered via its warnings, and the remaining configuration accomplished efficiently.


In fact, with out an web connection, Software program Replace was unable to replace the VM to 13.2.1, so for that I shut it down, enabled the community, opened that VM once more and put in the macOS replace. As soon as that was full, I began the VM with out the community, and it ran nice. In fact it had no Location Companies, so didn’t have a clue which period zone it was in, in order that and its clock needed to be set manually.

There was a time when Apple supplied standalone updater packages for macOS, however that got here to an finish with Massive Sur, and its swap to this new replace mechanism. When you had no choice to allow a community connection, the one answer now could be to make use of the complete installer app. Many people pointed this out to Apple early in Massive Sur’s launch cycle, however Apple has chosen to not present standalone macOS updaters any extra.

Working apps

To have the ability to assess what results the absence of a community have on macOS and apps, I then wanted to repeat throughout extra software program together with Ulbow and different utilities, Pages, and the Xcode 14.2 xip file. I did that by working the VM briefly in Viable, utilizing a shared folder, earlier than returning to my networkless VM. In different circumstances, that would simply be carried out utilizing a detachable disk.

Working the VM in a sandbox, with none community connection or shared folders, thus fully remoted from the host Mac besides via enter gadgets (keyboard and trackpad) and its show gadget, I then carried out the next duties:

  • ran a number of apps for the primary time, with out quarantine;
  • ran one app with its quarantine flag set;
  • ran Pages and created a brand new doc;
  • put in Xcode from its xip file;
  • ran Xcode for the primary time, and accomplished its set up;
  • created a brand new undertaking in Xcode, constructed and ran its Hiya World demo app;
  • booted into Restoration mode and accessed Startup Safety Utility and different instruments.

I encountered no difficulties or delays performing any of those duties. Certainly, if something, the primary run of apps like Xcode was began with much less delay than when an web connection is offered. Gatekeeper nonetheless requested me to verify that I actually did need to run the app that was in quarantine, however did so completely fortunately, and it was right here that I first seen the brand new com.apple.provenance prolonged attribute in motion. Though WhatRoute had no community connection obtainable, it too ran nice.

Gatekeeper checks

Log extracts masking Gatekeeper checks have been obtained utilizing Ulbow. Like most of my apps, Ulbow itself expects to have the ability to connect with the web to test for its personal updates, though it not checks its personal safety and integrity with a full signature test. Though neither of these connections was doable, these apps ran nice and not using a community.

Throughout Gatekeeper checks, two web connections are usually made, to api.apple-cloudkit.com for notarization checks, and ocsp2.apple.com for the validity of the code-signing certificates. The primary of these was tried as soon as, failed, and was promptly deserted. The OCSP test was tried a number of instances, however was additionally deserted rapidly.

Failure of these two on-line checks didn’t forestall or delay profitable app launching.

See Also

What doesn’t work

Light-weight VMs don’t assist connecting with an Apple ID in any case, and that forestalls entry to all App Retailer apps aside from Apple’s free merchandise Pages, Numbers and Keynote, which run with out being signed in. This additionally prevents signing in to iCloud companies.

Though not examined, any third-party app that depends on signing into an account or on distant licence-checking may even fail and not using a community connection, clearly. People who carry out checks for updates, corresponding to apps utilizing Sparkle, shouldn’t be affected, however merely report that they have been unable to test for updates.

The obvious limitation of a VM with no community connection is reliance on community time companies to right system clocks, which drift noticeably and lose synchronisation with different Macs and gadgets with web connections. Different companies and apps not obtainable, corresponding to Messages and FaceTime, needs to be straightforward to determine.


Within the full absence of a community connection:

  • macOS Ventura installs and configures appropriately;
  • Gatekeeper first-run checks full immediately, even when an app is in quarantine;
  • apps that don’t require a community connection operate usually;
  • Pages, Numbers and Keynote operate usually;
  • Xcode installs and runs usually, however with out entry to on-line accounts;
  • different App Retailer apps aren’t obtainable;
  • signing into iCloud isn’t obtainable;
  • Software program Replace, together with macOS updates, isn’t obtainable.

For these requiring absolute privateness, and researchers wanting a very sealed macOS testing atmosphere, ViableS 1.0.8 (beta 8) now supplies that.

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