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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support Network
Opening a .mobileconfig file in Lion exposes an otherwise hidden System Preference, 'Profiles' as shown here.

The .mobilconfig files are typically used to manage network settings on iOS, including the Access Point Name (APN).

To view this in Lion, just open a .mobileconfig file from Finder and System Preferences will now reveal 'Profiles' with a means to manage multiple profiles.

If you install a .mobileconfig, Profiles will remain available in System Preferences; if you delete all profiles, then Profiles no longer appears in System Preferences.

This doesn't yet seem to affect network access or browsing at all, so it is possible this feature exists to pave the way for more unified management of APN on desktops with mobile internet access, similar to iOS. You saw it here it first!

[crarko adds: I think the point of this is to indicate possible future support of cell networks in OS X, perhaps on a future MacBook Air. It doesn't seem to have any immediate utility.]
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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support | 12 comments | Create New Account
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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: unremarkable on Oct 28, '11 07:49:18AM

this is also used by OS X server for managing machines. Once you "enroll" a machine to be managed by the server, you'll see the profiles sys pref pane. You can push settings like network (wifi or wired), access control, mobility accounts, etc. Very useful, but I don't know if it has anything to do with cell stuff eventually coming to the mac.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: praseodym on Oct 28, '11 08:17:53AM

While this is indeed new in Lion, it is not unused at all. It is the only way to configure a network using 802.1x (or 'WPA2 Enterprise') authentication, which is used at nearly all companies and universities to provide network authentication.

Apple provides more information: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4772



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: bside on Oct 28, '11 08:31:13AM

My university distributes connection settings needed for 802.1X authentication using such profiles. Adding this profile will add a new WiFi connection (access point), install a certificate and, of course, set up 802.1X. It is well possible that this very same profile could even be used on iOS devices.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: ardy8888 on Oct 28, '11 08:34:26AM

This appears to work for more than just network configurations. I have a profile for iOS that configures my email accounts. I just deleted my accounts from my Mac and when I double clicked the .mobileconfig, the accounts were recreated and worked perfectly! I'm surprised Apple hasn't noted this feature addition to Lion.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: dfjdejulio on Oct 28, '11 08:37:30AM

Actually, it does something with regard to browsing. Open the iPhone configuration utility and create a configuration bundle that has a "web clipping" in it. You'll find that installing it on a macintosh will create an icon for that web clipping and, for me at least, it put it in my dock. So I suppose it's at the very least a way to distribute web "widgets" to both iOS and MacOS users, having them show up sort-of like apps in both cases.

(I bet some of the LDAP, IMAP, and Exchange stuff works too -- this looks like a step towards more consistent enterprise management of Apple systems.)



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: punkrockscience on Oct 28, '11 10:08:56AM

This actually my be invaluable for people using wireless networks using 802.1X authentication, as there isn't a way to add the info for those networks manually otherwise. Previously, you had to download the iOS client for this kind of profile and fake it with that.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: AlecEdworthy on Oct 28, '11 03:24:02PM
On Mac OS X Lion .mobileconfig files can also be used to pre-configure WPA/WPA2-Enterprise wireless LAN settings (certificate trusts, SSID, username, password, EAP types etc) in the same way that they can under iOS. We are using it as one way for our users to configure their Lion laptops with eduroam wireless settings here at Loughborough University in the UK.

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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: elvisizer on Oct 28, '11 04:08:12PM

it certainly does have current utility- this is where you manage (well, ok, all you can do is remove, but still!) provisioning or configuration profiles created in either the iphone configuration utility or profile manager on lion server. I'm already using mobileconfig profiles to deploy VPN settings and 802.1x certificates.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: kamath on Oct 28, '11 11:02:58PM

Anyone who supports anyone in a corporate environment with 802.1x for access control to their wireless network will almost certainly have found out about Profiles when Lion came out.

While you can manually set up access to an 802.1x controlled network, making a profile and distributing it (with Mac OS X Lion Server) can be significantly easier. You can also use the iPhone Configuration Utility to make profiles, though you have to be careful not to use iphone specific profile elements.

For those of us that went through the hell of people upgrading to Lion and killing their wireless network connection on our corporate network, this is old news.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: eirikwulff on Oct 29, '11 02:12:59AM

This is also a built-in feature in Mac OS X Server's new Profile Manager. You can enroll both Mac OS X and iOS devices and build custom .mobileconfig profiles for both platforms in the same file through the web interface. You may set profiles for users, user groups, devices and device groups, and it automatically pushes the profiles to both Lion and iOS devices upon save.

After the 10.7.2 update, you may also distribute in-house apps using the Profile Manager. All in all, this is a feature that has received way too little attention. Other tools for MDM costs WAY more than Lion Server, and they often do not cover client computers as well.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: Paolo Bosetti on Oct 29, '11 07:27:10AM

The same Profile panel is also used to maintain developer profiles when developing for Mac App Store or iOS App Store. Every registered Mac or iOS developer knows that. I think that this preference pane is mainly intended to manage development and 802.1x network profiles, but it can also show and manage APN profiles just because the profile format is (incidentally but wisely) shared.
I do not look at this as a hint of possible future SIM-equipped MacBooks.



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10.7: Hidden Mobile Network Profile support
Authored by: waffffffle on Oct 29, '11 10:02:57AM

Configuration profiles can be created with the Profile Manager feature of Lion Server. They can configure accounts, policies and restrictions on iOS and Lion clients. The APN settings are iOS only.



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