Moving VPP from Configurator to Bushel

Posted by Michael Devins on May 7th, 2015

Apple’s Configurator app for the Mac streamlines many setup and management tasks for iOS deployments. Although it lacks some of the core capabilities that a Mobile Device Management solution like Bushel can provide, there are some unique aspects of this deployment tool.

Before Mobile Device Management integrated with Apple’s Volume Purchase Program, Configurator was the tool used to distribute apps to devices. At the time that this workflow started, managed distribution was not an option. The only way an organization could purchase apps was in the form of redeemable codes. The downside of redeemable codes is that once you give it to a user, it gets linked to that Apple ID and becomes property of that individual. Enter Configurator.

For this workflow, you would import a purchased app into Apple Configurator. Then you would import a spreadsheet of valid Volume Purchase Program (VPP) redemption codes downloaded from the VPP portal. Each time you installed an app on a device, Apple Configurator would mark one code as redeemed. Finally, if you used Apple Configurator to remove a redeemed VPP app from a supervised device, Apple Configurator would mark the corresponding redemption code as available. See the full process at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202426.

For most organizations today, redemption codes are out and managed distribution is in. But what happens to all of these purchased codes that your organization was previously assigning with Configurator? Good news: If you properly reclaimed that code after your deployment, Apple has a process for converting redemption codes to managed distribution licenses.

Apple points out two important caveats before you convert your codes:

  • Make sure you want all your unredeemed codes or codes redeemed through Apple Configurator converted to managed distribution before you request migration. If you choose migration, all previously purchased codes must be migrated and all unredeemed codes will be disabled after you convert to managed distribution. If you have unredeemed codes in circulation within your organization, you may want to redeem them, alert users that they won’t be available, or delay migration until they have been redeemed.
  • If you use Apple Configurator for devices that are shared between employees or students, you may want to use redemption codes because managed distribution requires individual Apple IDs. Apple Configurator will continue to support distribution of apps through redemption code for shared or non-personalized devices.

Important: The migration from redemption codes to managed distribution is permanent and cannot be reversed.

So you’re ready to move to managed distribution and deploy apps via Bushel? Simply use this support form to request the conversion. Be sure to select “Migrate redemption codes to managed distribution” in the menu at the top of the form. As soon as Apple completes your conversion, you will have managed distribution licenses of those apps available to deploy via Bushel. Pretty cool, right?