Backups Issue on macOS Catalina and Big Sur (12.11 and up)

macOS Catalina introduced several under-the-hood security changes to protect Apple users and their data, but these changes have caused a few problems to surface when creating backups to any location other than the default MacPracticeBackups folder.

This article seeks to address the changes MacPractice has made to the software to address these issues. This is for MacPractice Builds 12.11 and up, running MacOS Catalina or higher.

Before following the steps laid out in this article, please ensure that you have updated to the most recently made available build of MacPractice. You can confirm this by navigating to the MacPractice Menu and selecting "Update MacPractice".



What's the Issue?

When on MacOS Catalina and higher, restrictions were added to applications to prevent them from writing data to any location on your storage drive without permission as an added security measure. This is an excellent feature with an unfortunate side effect.

MacPractice uses a process to create backups for MacPractice, called MacPracticeServerController. We need to grant this process permission to write files to any location other than the default MacPracticeBackups path.

How do I grant permissions to MacPracticeServerController? 

In the latest builds of 12.11 and 12.15, we've implemented an alert that triggers if MacPractice detects that it does not have access to a path you select. So, our first step will be to verify our backup paths are correct. You can do this by navigating to the MacPractice menu and selecting Preferences. Once there, select "Server Backups" in the sidebar. From there, we'll have you reset the path for any Automatic Backup scheme that was set by double clicking on the Backup Path column for the backup scheme you want to change, then clicking Open to confirm the set path.

Once you've selected the path, you may see this error. 


This error indicates that MacPractice doesn't have the necessary permissions, and will direct you to open your Security and Privacy macOS Settings. You can click the highlighted button to open up this window.

Alternately, you can simply navigate to the Apple Menu in the upper left hand corner, select System Preferences, and then find Security and Privacy.


Once you have opened up Security and Privacy, you'll want to select the Privacy Tab, and in the sidebar, you'll select "Full Disk Access". You'll also need to click the Lock icon in the lower left corner of this window. You'll be prompted for your macOS user password. 


This section lists all applications that have permissions to access all storage drives. If MacPracticeServerController is not listed, we'll need to add it by clicking the Plus icon underneath the table. This will open up a file selection window.


The MacPracticeServerController is usually located in this path:


The easiest way to access this folder is to click the drop down at the top of the window and select "Macintosh HD" as shown in the image above. Then, locate the Library folder, expand it, locate the MacPracticeServer folder, expand that, then find the ServerController folder. Inside this folder is a bin folder, which contains the app. Double click the MacPracticeServerController file inside the bin folder.

Once you've followed these steps correctly, your Security and Privacy window should look like this:


With this set, MacPractice should now be able to write backups anywhere again with no problems. Before you proceed, you will want to quit MacPractice and re-open it, so it loads the new System Preferences. Once you've done this, we strongly recommend you reset your backup paths in MacPractice Menu > Preferences > Server Backups. If you need assistance, click this link to take you to an article that covers creating manual and automatic updates.

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you need assistance regarding MacPractice backups, don't hesitate to contact our Support Department!



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