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Apple Configurator in 2022: What’s new with iOS 16?

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Over the approaching weeks, I’ll have a look at Apple’s WWDC 2022 bulletins that can affect IT professionals in each schooling and enterprise environments. There’s loads to unpack this yr which may not have made the headlines in most information tales, so I sit up for unpacking the small tidbits and what sort of affect every one will make for IT professionals who handle Apple units, but in addition those that use managed Apple units for work and at college. This week, I wish to have a look at the information that Apple Configurator on iPhone can now onboard different iPhones and iPads into Apple Enterprise Supervisor and Apple Faculty Supervisor.

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers managed an enterprise IT community from 2009 to 2021. Via his expertise deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a cellular system administration system, enterprise grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will spotlight methods through which Apple IT managers deploy Apple units, construct networks to help them, practice customers, tales from the trenches of IT administration, and methods Apple might enhance its merchandise for IT departments.

It’s exhausting to consider Apple Configurator is now over TWELVE years previous. In actual fact, you may nonetheless learn the authentic launch story from when 9to5Mac coated the announcement. I can nonetheless bear in mind the place I used to be when it was introduced. I used to be leaving one other faculty that was trying to migrate to Google Workspace (Google Apps on the time) from their native Change Mail Server, and I used to be giving them some ideas from after I had completed it a number of years earlier.

Once I obtained again to the workplace, I began to see the discharge bulletins throughout numerous Apple web sites. In comparison with in the present day’s cloud-first instruments, Apple Configurator isn’t one thing that the majority companies can use as their solely iOS and macOS administration software. Nonetheless, on the time, it was a elementary breakthrough for a lot of organizations simply getting began with iOS administration. It lastly made expertise just like the Quantity Buy Program scalable for organizations shopping for apps in bulk. The position of Apple Configurator in 2022 is way completely different, however let’s have a look at what was life earlier than it was launched.

Earlier than Apple Configurator

Earlier than Apple Configurator, the method of deploying apps was suspect at greatest. You’d purchase nevertheless many copies of an app you wanted (20 was/is the minimal to get a reduction) and obtain an Excel spreadsheet with App Codes. You’d take the primary one, redeem it in iTunes, after which “preserve” the check for compliance causes. In case you have been deploying apps to private units, you’d merely electronic mail the app code to individuals as a way to redeem it.

With Apple Configurator, you’d redeem the primary code in iTunes to seize the App file, add it to Apple Configurator, and then you definately’d import the spreadsheet to unlock further licenses. You’d then have the choice to sync it over a USB connection to units in bulk. I tinkered fairly a bit discovering USB hubs that might energy a number of iPads at a time – probably the most I might ever get was 8–10 going directly. Once you’d wish to take away an app, you’d plug it again up, uncheck it in Apple Configurator, after which resync. In comparison with in the present day’s setting, this course of appears archaic, however on the time, it was mild years forward of what we had.

MDM + Apple Configurator in 2022

The position of Apple Configurator in 2022 is way completely different. In actual fact, you don’t even have to make use of it. Apple’s zero contact deployment mannequin signifies that it might probably hand out boxed units and workers/college students can unbox, connect with Wi-Fi, get enrolled in MDM, and get the correct apps and profiles put in. It’s doable that IT can run an Apple deployment for a few years with out ever touching a tool. With Erase All Contents and Settings, it’s doable for an IT division to wipe units and disown it from MDM to resell/trade-in when the lease is up as nicely. Within the age of distant work, it’s actually wonderful what all IT professionals can do with out touching a tool.

Apple Configurator remains to be helpful if you wish to use it, although. In my expertise, I’ve discovered that utilizing it on freshly unboxed units to manually set up a Wi-Fi profile can pace up deployment instances if IT doesn’t wish to spin up a password free Wi-Fi community. I’d typically use the macOS model of Apple Configurator to put in a single Wi-Fi profile on all of the units as I unboxed them after which let others assist me undergo the method of onboarding it the MDM, and so on. It’s not required, however it’s a pleasant choice.

Apple Configurator for iPhone

Final December, Apple launched the preliminary model of Apple Configurator for iPhone after saying it at WWDC 2021. The principle purpose to make use of the iPhone model of the App was to onboard units not bought by way of the college’s Apple account into Apple Enterprise/Faculty Supervisor. In what state of affairs would this be useful? My preliminary pitch for the app was if a Mac was donated to a faculty or enterprise (non-profits) to make use of in day-to-day operations. I bumped into this case many instances, and I’d by no means flip down free iPads, however it did make managing them a problem.

With the replace to Apple Configurator in 2022, faculties and companies will now have the choice to onboard iOS and iPadOS units into their Apple accounts that we’re bought straight from Apple. Why is that this useful? For a similar causes I discussed above with donated units, there’s additionally an rising use case: provide chain issues. Discovering units which can be in inventory has develop into a problem. Discovering units in bulk has develop into a good greater problem. I’ve learn numerous tweets all through the spring and summer season from faculties with delayed shipments. The summer season interval is when faculties typically are ramping for his or her fall system rollout, so an August or September supply isn’t supreme. I’ve talked to a number of faculties who’ve been piecing Mac deployments collectively by shopping for units at Greatest Purchase, Amazon, B&H Photograph, and different retailers. With Apple Configurator for iPhone, these units can finally make their manner into their Apple Enterprise/Faculty Supervisor account, so that they operate similar to they got here straight from Apple.

Abstract of Apple Configurator bulletins from WWDC

The extra iPad and iPhone onboarding for Apple Configurator for iPhone gained’t assist a college in the present day, however it’s going to assist sooner or later. If provide chain points are nonetheless round in 2023, it’ll give faculties an alternative choice for the place to buy their units. In the event that they get units donated that help iOS 16, faculties and companies can merely say thanks, onboard them into Apple Enterprise/Faculty Supervisor, and add them to their cellular system administration system similar to all the opposite units within the fleet. It would seem to be a minor improve, however it’s a big enhancement in the correct state of affairs.

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