Volume Purchase Program: Codes vs. Managed Distribution

Posted by Michael Devins on April 29th, 2015

Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) allows organizations to purchase Apps for deployment through a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. This centralized purchasing has a couple major benefits for organizations:

•Buy in bulk. Whether you need 2 or 200 or 2,000, Apple’s Volume Purchase Program makes it easy to buy with just a few clicks.

•One payment method. There is no need for employees to buy apps and request reimbursement.

For years, Apple would provide the purchaser with a spreadsheet of redemption codes that could be distributed manually or plugged into a management tool like the Casper Suite. These codes act a lot like a gift card and once they are redeemed, they belong to the user. That means you’d need to buy new copies of apps as your workforce changed.

Along with the introduction of OS X 10.9 Mavericks and iOS 7, Apple introduced an enhancement to the Volume Purchase Program: Managed Distribution. This offered organizations a new level of flexibility when it comes to app deployments:

•Assign apps to employees and reassign them when your workforce changes. They are no longer permanently linked to the user’s Apple ID.

•Any Apple ID can be invited to receive apps. Your organization only needs to send an email, not type the specific Apple ID. This maintains a high level of privacy for users.

•Managed apps grant a new level of data security with features like Managed Open-in. This means it’s beneficial to use VPP for paid and free apps.

Pages VPP Purchase

Bushel integrates with Apple’s Volume Purchase Program using this Managed Distribution technology. If you have the old style redemption codes that have not been assigned to users, or if you accidentally purchased codes instead of Managed Distribution, Apple has a process for converting those licenses.

To use Bushel with VPP Managed Distribution for painless app distribution, you’ll link your VPP token to your Bushel account. Bushel will automatically display your purchase history within the Apps tab. It will also show how many licenses you have available to assign to users. If you need more copies of an app, you can purchase them from Apple’s VPP Store and Bushel will sync them over the next time you log in.


Managed Distribution will allow you to assign apps to a user. It also allows you to reclaim that app and reassign it to a new user in the future. That means we need a tool to keep track of who gets your VPP apps. Within the Account section of Bushel, there is a tab for VPP.

You will find an invitation page where you can send your employees this invitation to receive apps. Simply enter an address where you know they can each be reached. Each employee will tap “Accept” on this email invitation and anonymously associate an Apple ID with your VPP account. Once an employee accepts an invitation, Bushel can remotely deploy apps to that device. If an employee leaves, you can remove them from this page and reclaim those assigned apps.

Bushel’s minimum system requirements for app distribution: Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or iOS 8.0