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What happened to Apple’s macOS Server application?

Early this year, Apple announced the new direction for the macOS Server application, which indicated to be an exit plan for Apple to get out of the traditional server market. In the past, Apple used to sell the OS X Server application separately to the operating system (macOS). But since the release of macOS 10.7 (Lion), Apple combined the server application into the operating system and started introducing the functionality in the macOS server app itself. By doing so, the organization tried to capture the server market with more simplicity and by providing user-friendly server administration. The Mac community welcomed the move of merging the macOS X server application and the macOS server. Small to medium businesses with apple infrastructure were primary customers for the macOS server app due to the following reasons: 

  • The macOS server app was easy to configure and maintain compared to Windows Server and Linux Server OS.

  • The commonly used file-sharing protocol SMB (Server Message Block) protocol was slower and less efficient in the Apple environment as Apple’s own AFP (Apple File-sharing Protocol) protocol.

  • The macOS Server app was cost-effective as it provided server features for nominal prices compared to other server options out there.

However, Apple is continuing support to the macOS Server app with all functionality for individuals and businesses who bought the macOS server app before the start of 2018 (macOS 10.13 and earlier). Services will be provided for the macOS Server app, including: 

  • Profile Manager

  • Open Directory

  • Xsan

According to Apple, the following services will be removed entirely from the macOS server app and macOS:


  • Calendar

  • Contacts

  • Mail

  • DHCP

  • DNS

  • Instant Messaging

  • NetInstall

  • VPN

  • WebHosting


Apple also removed the file share server, forcing users to utilize the inbuilt file sharing functionality, which offers a limited but simple permission option for basic file sharing. Apple will also decommission the AFP protocol and focus on mobile device management. The new approach will promote Apple’s services and products like iPhones, Macbooks, iMacs, or Apple TVs, etc., leading to cloud technology and creating an even bigger ecosystem for Apple. For that reason, it was not surprising that the tech community and some Mac enthusiasts were not happy with the announcement of the new Apple direction for the macOS server app. The reason behind this is justified due to the cost-effective, simplicity, and distinguishing features of the macOS Server app. However, Apple was not dominating the market share compared to Windows and Linux Servers. Therefore Apple tried to push businesses to look into alternatives like IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service), windows server, and other cloud file storage options. 


Technology trends change sooner or later, and it is highly recommended to plan ahead of time before hitting any roadblocks. Feel free to reach out to helpdesk@tavanca.ca if you are using the macOS server application, and you would like us to recommend steps or assist with the migration from Apple server to an infrastructure that fits your needs.

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