macOS - Upgrade using Self Service

This article explains the macOS upgrade process available through Self-Service

macOS Upgrade using Self Service

A few things to note before upgrading to macOS Big Sur

  • Do not upgrade a computer unless you have physical access to it. Attempting to upgrade a computer remotely will drop the remote connection leaving the computer stuck waiting for local user input.
  • The Big Sur upgrade requires a significant amount of free disk space. The installer itself is much larger due to its support of both Intel and Apple "M" processors. As a result, computers need approximately 60GB of free space for upgrade files to download and the upgrade process to complete.
  • Installing Big Sur on a University-Owned Mac will also install Jamf Connect for authentication. All university owned Macs running Big Sur will get this feature, even if the upgrade is installed through methods other than detailed below. For more on Jamf Connect, please see the Jamf Connect KB document

Starting the Upgrade Process

Step 1. Open the Self Service application from the Applications folder, dock, Spotlight or Launchpad.

A screenshot of a cell phone Searching for Self Service in Spotlight

Step 2. From the Self Service application search for the currently available version of macOS, this example shows Big Sur and selects the Upgrade to Big Sur policy.

The Big Sur upgrade appearing in Self Service


Before the installation begins, there will be a prompt warning the user that the computer will automatically restart once the installer is ready to begin the upgrade.

Starting the Big Sur Upgrade

Step 3. If the macOS installer is not present, there will be a prompt to Download it. Some computers may already have the installation files cached. If the Installer is already present on the computer, the installation process will begin immediately. Skip to Installing the Upgrade if you are not prompted to download the macOS installer.

Choice to download the Big Sur Upgrade

There will be a notification that the download will happen in the background. Click OK. When the download is complete the installer will begin the upgrade process.

Big Sur is now downloading

Installing the Upgrade

The computer will begin the installation process as soon as the installer is ready. This will cause the computer to restart, rebooting several times during this process. The typical upgrade takes between 30-60 minutes depending on the age of the computer. This process is completely automated and the user will not have to take any action until the upgrade is completed and the user logs into their account.

Preparing the macOS installerStep 4. The final step in the upgrade process requires the user to log in as they usually would. After logging in, the upgrade will finish which may also take several minutes. For further information, scroll down to Using Jamf Connect Login in the Jamf Connect KB document

KeywordsmacOS, Big Sur, Monterey, Ventura,macOS 12, macOS 13, macOS 11, OS, Mac, Upgrade, Jamf, Self Service   Doc ID108280
OwnerHelp Desk K.GroupUW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Created2021-01-12 12:25:11Updated2023-07-18 11:00:18
SitesUW-Milwaukee Help Desk
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