How to opt in and opt out of the Office Insider Program for Office 2016 for Mac

Summary
The Office Insider program is a new initiative to provide early access to the latest product builds to Office customers on all platforms. For more information about this program, go to the following Office website:

Office 2016 for Mac started its official support of the Office Insider program on January 5, 2016, with the release of Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) 3.4. On May 10, 2016, with the release of MAU 3.5, support for Office Insider Slow and Office Insider Fast levels was introduced. The updated MAU contains a check box to opt in or out of the program, and a drop-down menu to select the level. The level determines the type and frequency of updates that are offered to Insiders. The Office Insider check box and drop-down menu can be seen in the following screen shot of the MAU dialog box.

checkbox that allows customers to opt-in or opt-out to the program
Resolution
The technical implementation of the Insider program involves support for multiple channels (builds) in MAU. To determine the appropriate channel, MAU uses rules that are encoded in a set of XML files that are hosted on Microsoft.com.

By default, MAU uses the “Production” channel when it checks for updates. When the Office Insider check box is selected and Office Insider Slow is selected in the drop-down menu, MAU switches to the “External” channel. When the check box is selected with Office Insider Fast chosen, MAU switches to the “InsiderFast” channel. These channels refer to different paths on Microsoft.com. You can view the current channel setting by running the following command in Terminal:

defaults read com.microsoft.autoupdate2 ChannelName
If the ChannelName key has no value or is missing, the Production channel is used. The following table lists the valid values for ChannelName.

ChannelNameXML Path
Productionhttps://www.microsoft.com/mac/autoupdate
Externalhttps://www.microsoft.com/mac/External
Internalhttps://www.microsoft.com/mac/Internal
CustomValue of ‘ManifestServer’ key
InsiderFasthttps://www.microsoft.com/mac/InsiderFast
More information
The Mac implementation of the Office Insider program differs slightly from other platforms as follows:

  • A Mac Insider can be any kind of customer, not only an Office 365 subscriber.
  • The Mac Insider opt-in is based on a local computer setting. It does not apply to all computers or to your account.
  • Mac Insiders can upgrade to a new Office 2016 for Mac update approximately seven days before the update is released to all users.
Mac Insiders can choose between the following levels:

  • Office Insider Slow: Provides fully supported updates approximately seven days before the update is released to all users
  • Office Insider Fast: Provides unsupported updates approximately every week, and stays one version ahead of the Slow and Production builds
  

Frequently asked questions

Q: Can IT departments disable the Insider check box to stop their users from opting in to the program?

A: Yes. The Terminal command is as follows:

defaults write com.microsoft.autoupdate2 DisableInsiderCheckbox –bool TRUE 
However, many enterprise customers will likely set this preference through the OS X Configuration profile.

Q. What is the Internal channel?

A: The Internal channel receives more aggressive and less stable build updates. Typically, this occurs 14 days before the Production channel. The Internal channel is mainly intended for internal Microsoft testing and Partners who have to evaluate software updates or new feature implementation. The Internal channel is not exposed through any user interface. However, the channel name can be set by using the defaults command.

Q. How does a user opt out of the Insider program?

A: The first step is to clear the Insider check box. However, this affects only future build update notifications and does not revert the software that’s currently installed. For Office Insider Slow, since the non-Production build is run only for approximately seven (7) days each month before upgrading to the Production build, it’s likely that users will already be running the same build as the Production channel. However, if users have recently installed an Office Insider Slow build and have to revert to the earlier Production release, they will have to remove the build and download and install an older update. For Office Insider Fast, it may take over a month to receive the next Production release due to being one version ahead of Office Insider Slow and Production during a given month. Thus, users will have to remove the build and download and install an older update. MacAdmins is a good resource for finding older releases.
Office 2016 Mac Insider Program Opt-in Opt-out
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Article ID: 3136076 - Last Review: 05/11/2016 15:37:00 - Revision: 2.0

Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac

  • KB3136076
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