Obtaining MAS server url for direct downloads

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by thizisweird, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. thizisweird macrumors member

    thizisweird

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #1
    I'm not entirely sure just how popular this method of downloading is, but my searching for how to do this is just yielding very little results... if any.

    To make things brief: I am currently in possession of three MP 4,1 towers, two of which are currently updated to the 5,1 firmware (the third will be updated very soon). Instead of bogging down my internet connection for 4+ hours when each machine downloads the freakin software update, I wondered if there would be a more efficient method for someone with multiple towers. I searched and browsed until I found this super helpful link: Install macOS Sierra on Mac [Direct Download]

    My only problem at the moment is I don't have a url for the latest 10.12.6 download(s), and I have had no luck finding the urls coming straight from Apple's servers. While I would enjoy getting the link for the latest download(s), I would prefer to be able to fetch these urls on my own. It would also be super helpful for installing anything else of a relatively large size from the MAS to install across multiple machines. When I tested the download speeds using Chrome + Folx with the url provided in the link above, the download time was roughly 1/3 of the MAS download time (4.77GB took just over 1 hour, which is maxing out my connection).

    Considering I have 3 towers, and a painfully slow download going the MAS route, I'm okay waiting a little while to see if I can manage a method to obtain the Apple server urls. If so, I'll save myself nearly half a day's worth of downloading. And for those who will say the estimated download time in MAS isn't the most accurate... you're correct... all previous downloads typically are a bit longer than it estimates. I can wait a little while to basically banish all internet traffic on my network for 4 hours at a time.... if I'm lucky.

    Not too sure how easy this is to do, or if it's something many people seem to know. Fingers crossed, because it will be a HUGE deal to me, and I have a feeling that there are other people out there who would benefit from this.

    Not really looking for alternative download methods, as I'd like to get my copies directly from Apple. I know of a few places to find alternative installations; but since these are not my personal daily use towers, and lesser-inclined family members will be using them, I'd rather keep the installations as squeaky clean as possible. If it were my own tower, I'd simply use a torrented copy. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. organicCPU macrumors 6502

    organicCPU

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    #2
    As the linked article recommends, you can distribute a macOS update with an USB thumb drive. Easily download just on one machine through MAS, make an installer thumb drive and install it on multiple devices. A handy tool for making a bootable USB installer is http://diskmakerx.com

    To distribute not only macOS, but also other Apps from a single download some kind of deployment solution is recommended. On the MacRumors Mac OS X Server forum you'll find discussions about this. As a starting point take a look into Apple's macOS Server help https://help.apple.com/serverapp/mac/5.3/?lang=en#/apd74DDE89F-08D2-4E0A-A5CD-155E345EFB83
     
  3. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #3
    https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1930
    https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1931
    These are right on the support downloads page.
    As mentioned in the post above mine, Apple's caching server will solve the problem in a way that's fully sanctioned and supported by Apple. Right now it requires the macOS Server app, but the same functionality will be built into High Sierra.
     
  4. thizisweird thread starter macrumors member

    thizisweird

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #4
    I think we're overlooking a very big problem on my end: the MAS route takes about 4 hours to download the full 5GB (roughly speaking). This is a problem because the network I'm using is not reliable for that kind of download. If I were to use the Folx extension, like I did when downloading the 10.12 package in the linked article, the download practically uses all of my bandwidth, and is a manageable download time (and it was actually stable with plenty of network traffic).

    MAS doesn't care to use half of my bandwidth, and any networking activity tanks the download speed, which means I'm forced to dedicate about 4 hours to babysit my download. I'd need to ensure the download speed is consistent, and checking to ensure something doesn't go wrong... and I've had the large downloads go bad a number of times when I updated these to El Capitan. My network is NOT practical for downloading through MAS, hence my attempt to avoid it, and the lengthy post. If I was inclined to use MAS, I wouldn't be asking my original question lol. Just being blunt. I know I can go through MAS and do things that way. I don't want to do that, and if I can help it, I will avoid using MAS entirely.

    Unfortunately, this is still using the MAS, which is unreliable. If I had a decent network, and a reliable DSL line (my area is extremely neglected by the ISP, and everyone has problems constantly), I would actually consider this. Still, it's an unreliable method of obtaining all 5GB of Sierra. If I can manage to take everything with a proper internet connection, I'll definitely look into it. But for now, not even worth considering in my situation.

    Both of those require Sierra to be installed on my machines, and all 3 are running El Capitan. Even if I did download those to attempt to use with the MAS solution, I would need to know how to structure the macos_local folder for it to work with MAS.

    I attempted everything in that article, just to "dry run" everything, and the only issue is I don't have the latest version. If I did, I'd be praising the idea instead of begging for help. I'm also clearly not concerned about whether Apple supports my installation method. The method I'm attempting to use is doing nothing more than forcing MAS to pull the data from my hard drive instead of using Apple's server. I'd be relying on MAS to handle everything, and it would be using files that are identical to what it would normally fetch. I think the method I'm going for is probably the closest thing to a standard installation as I can get. It would also allow me to pull the files at my leisure, as fast as my connection will allow, and I don't even need to be near a Mac until it's time to install. I could pull the files on a friend's computer, bring the files home, and after 10 minutes of the bash I can use MAS to install and handle everything. I don't see why anyone would try to get me to try another method, honestly. The only real difficult part of this method is finding the server url to pull the files.......
     
  5. organicCPU, Jul 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    organicCPU macrumors 6502

    organicCPU

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    #5
    I don't think it's possible to get the URL to a specific .pkg file without triggering the download from MAS once. If you prefer doing that by the GUI based MAS or through the terminal command 'softwareupdate' is another question.

    Once you trigger the download you could read out the URL you want. I've been using Wireshark and had a look at a line starting with 'GET /apple-assets-...'. Look at 'Hypertext Transfer Protocol' entry for that line and you'll see the full request URI to the .pkg file.

    I'm sure one could write an easy to use script with the help of softwareupdate, lsof or some package tracing tools that does provide you the path to the package or that even triggers a curl command, but I can't help you with that.
     
  6. thizisweird thread starter macrumors member

    thizisweird

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    I will definitely look into this! That sounds like something I could bang together in a week or so, given that I'm pretty out of my element with any Unix based OS. I do have a very small background with Linux, though, so who knows? I might surprise myself.

    I don't mind triggering the download; however, I do mind downloading via MAS. Either way, much appreciated for the advice! I was wondering how people were pulling those. Figured it was relatively simple, but like I said, I'm out of my element.

    Thanks again, organicCPU
     
  7. thizisweird thread starter macrumors member

    thizisweird

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #7
    For those on the forum that want to give the originally linked article a shot, and want to use the current Sierra download through MAS, it's linked below. Just remember that you will have to build the directory based on the URI I've provided, as the original will not work. But most people using this method will realise that lol ;)

    http://osxapps.itunes.apple.com/app...f-c96a-3c13cf191052/par759846163980697280.pkg

    Thanks again, organicCPU. Wireshark made this a breeze. If the link doesn't work for you, you'll want to grab the new URI, as MAS will only work with the latest package.
     

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