It’s pretty well known among Mac admins that, starting with Big Sur (macOS 11), Apple has removed the ability for the
profiles command to silently install .mobileconfig profiles. Apple wants you to use an MDM to deliver profiles silently… or have users themselves manually install profiles.
If you try to install them silently the old way, you’ll get an error message:
/usr/bin/profiles -IF ~/Desktop/Totally\ Fake\ Wi-Fi\ Profile.mobileconfig
profiles tool no longer supports installs. Use System Preferences Profiles to add configuration profiles.
But you may still have reasons to semi-automate profile installations outside of them being MDM-delivered.
If you double-click the .mobileconfig, all it does is give you this notification, and clicking it doesn’t actually launch up System Preferences:
But if you run a command like this:
open /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Profiles.prefPane ~/Desktop/Totally\ Fake\ Wi-Fi\ Profile.mobileconfig, System Preferences will launch up and prompt the user to take action to install the profile:
Once the user does take those actions, the profile will be installed!