Suppressing Helper Tool Installation Prompts

By Emalee Firestein

Learn how to use a Custom Profile to suppress Helper Tool installation prompts for standard users

What are Helper Tools?

Helper tools in macOS are specialized programs or agents that allow applications to perform privileged operations without granting the entire application elevated privileges. These tools are particularly useful for tasks that require higher security permissions than the application typically possesses. For instance, helper tools can manage file permissions, create or delete files, open privileged ports, and modify system settings, among other tasks.

When to Expect Prompts about Helper Tools

Regardless of installation method, apps installed in the system Applications folder in macOS require administrator credentials to update. If an installed app has a built-in update mechanism that automatically checks for updates, users logged in with standard user credentials may see prompts to provide administrator authentication to allow a Helper Tool to run so that the updates can be completed. Users logged in with admin user credentials should not see prompts to allow Helper Tools to run.

How to Avoid Helper Tool Prompts

The best way to prevent your users from seeing Helper Tool Prompts is to ensure that app updates are managed via MDM. Some application vendors provide an MDM payload that can be configured to disable automatic update checks, while others may require a scripted solution. If you're unsure what methods an application supports, please contact the application vendor.

The applicable method for disabling automatic updates varies between applications. Not all application titles support disabling automatic updates.

Example Custom Profile 

The following set of steps can be used to disable the in-app update mechanism for Slack using a Custom Profile. For more information about using Custom Profiles in Kandji, please see our Custom Profile Overview support article.

  1. Download and install iMazing Profile Editor.
  2. In the General domain, give your profile a Name and a unique Identifier.
  3. On the left hand side, scroll down to Available Application Domains and click on Slack.
  4. Click +Add Configuration Payload.
  5. Under the Policy tab in the Slack Domain, click the checkbox next to Auto Update twice. It should remain unchecked and have a dot next to it indicating that it is configured.
  6. Optionally, configure any other settings you would like to apply to Slack.
  7. Save your configuration as a .mobileconfig.
  8. Upload your .mobileconfig to Kandji as a Custom Profile.