Set up Citrix SSO for macOS users

Citrix SSO app for macOS provides best-in-class application access and data protection solution offered by Citrix Gateway. You can now securely access business critical applications, virtual desktops, and corporate data from anywhere at any time. Citrix SSO is the next generation VPN client for Citrix Gateway to create and manage VPN connections from macOS devices. Citrix SSO is built using Apple’s Network Extension (NE) framework. NE framework from Apple is a modern library which contains APIs that can be used to customize and extend the core networking features of macOS. Network Extension with support for SSL VPN is available on devices running macOS 10.11+.

Citrix SSO app replaces the legacy Citrix Gateway plug-in that was based on Kernel Extensions (KE) which is going to be deprecated by Apple soon. Citrix SSO App supports advanced features like Server Initiated Connections and DTLS.

Citrix SSO app provides complete Mobile Device Management (MDM) support on macOS. With an MDM server, an admin can now remotely configure and manage device level VPN profiles and per-app VPN profiles. Citrix SSO app for macOS can be installed from a Mac App store.

Feature comparison between Citrix VPN and Citrix SSO

The following table compares the availability of various features between Citrix VPN and Citrix SSO.

Feature Citrix VPN Citrix SSO
App distribution method Citrix Downloads page App Store
Number of tunneled connections 128 128
Access from browser Supported Not supported
Access from native app Supported Supported
Split tunnel (OFF/ON/REVERSE) Supported Supported
Split DNS (LOCAL/REMOTE/BOTH) REMOTE REMOTE
Local LAN access Enable/Disable Always enabled
Server Initiated Connections (SIC) support Not supported Supported
Transfer login Supported Supported
Client side proxy Supported Not supported
Classic/Opswat EPA support Supported Supported
Device certificate support Supported Supported
Session timeout support Supported Supported
Forced timeout support Supported Supported
Idle timeout support Supported Not supported
IPV6 Not supported Supported
Network roaming (Switch between Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and so on) Supported Supported
Intranet application support Supported Supported
DTLS support for UDP Not supported Supported
EULA support Supported Supported
App + Receiver integration Supported Not supported
Authentication – Local, LDAP, RADIUS Supported Supported
Client certificate authentication Supported Supported
TLS support (TLS1, TLS1.1 and TLS1.2) Supported Supported
Two factor authentication Supported Supported

Compatibility with MDM products

Citrix SSO for macOS is compatible with most MDM providers such as Citrix XenMobile, Microsoft Intune and so on. It supports a feature called Network Access Control (NAC) using which, MDM administrators can enforce end user device compliance before connecting to Citrix Gateway. NAC on Citrix SSO requires an MDM server such as XenMobile or Intune and Citrix Gateway. For more on NAC, click here.

Configure an MDM managed VPN profile for Citrix SSO

The following section captures step-by-step instructions to configure both device-wide and per-app VPN profiles for Citrix SSO using Citrix Endpoint Management (formerly XenMobile) as an example. Other MDM solutions can use this document as reference when working with Citrix SSO.

Note: This section explains the configuration steps for a basic Device-wide and Per-App VPN profile. Also you can configure On-Demand, Always-On, Proxies by following the Citrix Endpoint Management (formerly XenMobile) documentation or Apple’s MDM VPN payload configuration.

Device level VPN profiles

Device level VPN profiles are used to set up a system wide VPN. Traffic from all apps and services is tunneled to Citrix Gateway based on the VPN policies (such as Full-tunnel, Split-tunnel, Reverse Split tunnel) defined in Citrix ADC.

To configure a device level VPN on Citrix Endpoint Management

Perform the following steps to configure a device level VPN.

  1. On the Citrix Endpoint Management MDM console, navigate to Configure > Device Policies > Add New Policy.

  2. Select macOS on the left Policy Platform pane. Select VPN Policy on the right pane.

  3. On the Policy Info page, enter a valid policy name and description and click Next.

  4. On the Policy detail page for macOS, type a valid connection name and choose Custom SSL in Connection Type.

    Note: In the MDM VPN payload, the connection name corresponds to the UserDefinedName key and VPN Type Key must be set to VPN.

  5. In Custom SSL identifier (reverse DNS format), enter com.citrix.NetScalerGateway.macos.app. This is the bundle identifier for the Citrix SSO App on macOS.

    Note: In the MDM VPN payload, the Custom SSL identifier corresponds to the VPNSubType key.

  6. In Provider bundle identifier enter com.citrix.NetScalerGateway.macos.app.vpnplugin. This is the bundle identifier of the network extension contained in the Citrix SSO macOS app binary.

    Note: In the MDM VPN payload, the provider bundle identifier corresponds to the ProviderBundleIdentifier key.

  7. In Server name or IP address enter the IP address or FQDN of the Citrix ADC associated with this Citrix Endpoint Management instance.

    The remaining fields in the configuration page are optional. Configurations for these fields can be found in Citrix Endpoint Management documentation.

  8. Click Next.

    CEM VPN policy page

  9. Click Save.

Per-App VPN profiles

Per-App VPN profiles are used to set up a VPN for a specific application. Traffic from only the specific app is tunneled to Citrix Gateway. The Per-App VPN payload supports all the keys for Device-wide VPN plus a few other keys.

To configure a per-App level VPN on Citrix Endpoint Management

Perform the following steps to configure a Per-App VPN on Citrix Endpoint Management:

  1. Complete the device level VPN configuration on Citrix Endpoint Management.

  2. Turn the Enable Per-App VPN switch ON in the Per-App VPN section.

  3. Turn the On-Demand Match App Enabled switch ON if Citrix SSO must be started automatically when the Match App is launched. This is recommended for most Per-App cases.

    Note: In the MDM VPN payload, this field corresponds to the key OnDemandMatchAppEnabled.

  4. Safari Domain configuration is optional. When a Safari domain is configured, Citrix SSO starts automatically when users launch Safari and navigate to a URL that matches the one in Domain field. This is not recommended if you want to restrict VPN for a specific app.

    Note: In the MDM VPN payload, this field corresponds to the key SafariDomains.

    The remaining fields in the configuration page are optional. Configurations for these fields can be found in the Citrix Endpoint Management (formerly XenMobile) documentation.

    CEM configuration

  5. Click Next.

  6. Click Save.

    To associate this VPN profile to a specific App on the device, you must create an App Inventory policy and a credentials provider policy by following this guide - https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/04/19/per-app-vpn-with-xenmobile-and-citrix-vpn/

Configuring split tunnel in Per-App VPN

MDM customers can configure split tunnel in Per-App VPN for Citrix SSO. For this, the following key/value pair must be added to the vendor configuration section of the VPN profile created on the MDM server.

-  Key = "PerAppSplitTunnel"
-  Value = "true or 1 or yes"

The key is case sensitive and must be an exact match while the value is not case sensitive.

Note: The user interface to configure vendor configuration is not standard across the MDM vendors. Contact the MDM vendor to find the vendor configuration section on your MDM user console.

The following is a sample screenshot of the configuration (vendor specific settings) in Citrix Endpoint Management.

split-tunnel-per-app-CEM

The following is a sample screenshot of the configuration (vendor specific settings) in Microsoft Intune.

split-tunnel-per-app-Intune

Disabling user created VPN profiles

MDM customers can prevent users from manually creating VPN profiles from within the Citrix SSO App. To do this, the following key/value pair must be added to the vendor configuration section of the VPN profile created on the MDM server.

-  Key = "disableUserProfiles"
-  Value = "true or 1 or yes"

The key is case sensitive and must be an exact match while the value is not case sensitive.

Note: The user interface to configure vendor configuration is not standard across MDM vendors. Contact the MDM vendor to find the vendor configuration section on your MDM user console.

The following is a sample screenshot of the configuration (vendor specific settings) in Citrix Endpoint Management.

disable-VPN-CEM

The following is a sample screenshot of the configuration (vendor specific settings) in Microsoft Intune.

disable_VPN_Intune

Known issues

The following are the known issues currently.

  • EPA login fails if the user is placed in the quarantine group.
  • Forced timeout warning message is not displayed.
  • SSO app allows login if the split tunnel is ON and no intranet apps are configured.

Limitations

The following are the limitations currently.

  • Some of the EPA scans (for example patch management scans, web browser scan, kill process) might fail because of restricted access to the SSO app due to sandboxing.
  • Split tunneling based on ports/protocols is not supported.