Occasionally, when discussing various deployments with Bushel customers, we’ll recommend you use a tool called Apple Configurator for certain tasks. Apple Configurator is a great tool to manage iOS devices. It’s also a pretty decent tool when you need to create profiles for use on Macs. Apple Configurator is easily installed using the Mac App Store.
However you plan on using Apple Configurator, the first step to use the product is to download it for free and install it on an OS X computer. To install Apple Configurator, first open the App Store and search for Apple Configurator. When listed, click on Apple Configurator.
Then click on Get, then click on Install App. If prompted for your Apple ID, provide it.
This downloads Apple Configurator to the /Applications directory on your computer. Once installed, open Apple Configurator and click on Prepare to get started. We’ll post some more articles about using Apple Configurator to perform tasks, as we get the product more aligned with Apple Configurator-based workflows. There’s also a series of articles at http://krypted.com/guides/apple-configurator/ to help guide you through the process of getting comfortable with Apple Configurator.
We have some devices that we support that are running iOS 7. But iOS 7 is old and so we can’t support every option on the platform. So what should you expect to be supported on iOS 7?
Open In management – Protect corporate data by controlling which apps and accounts are used to open documents and attachments
App Store Licensing – iOS 7 supported managing licenses via VPP; however, it was through codes that were distributed in Excel spreadsheets. Bushel supports managing VPP licenses. But we do not support managing these types of codes and therefore do not currently support VPP on iOS 7.
DEP. Originally, DEP was called Streamlined Enrollment – DEP enables us to automatically enroll devices during activation and we support doing so on iOS 7.
Open In Management was introduced in iOS 7 and so we support that feature going back to iOS 7. Because Bushel cannot manage apps on iOS 7 though, we cannot manage Managed Open In for apps.
Lock Screen. Bushel can control lock, wipe, reset passcodes, etc. Bushel cannot manage Activation Lock Bypass for iOS 7 as that feature is not actually available on iOS 7.
Custom Payloads (e.g. those created in Configurator that run alongside Bushel):
New User Accounts
Enterprise Single Sign-on
Per app VPN
Disable Cellular Data in Apps
Disable Find My Friends
Disable Host Pairing
Disable OTA PKI Updates
Disable Touch IDs to unlock devices
Deploy fonts via profiles
Web Content filtering
Overall, Bushel is not as helpful for iOS 7 as it is for iOS 8 and iOS 9. But we can do a lot of the basic tasks that many environments look to us to do. Before you plan on integrating Bushel into your business processes for iOS 7 and below, we strongly recommend testing each feature to verify that the feature actually works.
Getting a bunch of iOS and Mac devices setup is more of a logistical challenge than a technical hurdle. When you buy a couple iPads, it’s pretty simple to set them up for the email, security settings and apps that you need those devices to have. You can put them all on a table, give them an Apple ID and then set them up identically to give to users. But the first time someone wipes a device, or looses a device that you need to wipe, you’ll have to do that manual labor again. And if you’re buying more than a couple of Apple devices, then the amount of time becomes amplified to manage all of these tasks. This is where a management solution comes into play.
The first management solution that many look at is Apple Configurator. Apple Configurator is a free download off the Mac App Store and allows you to setup “profiles” for devices. These profiles then get applied to devices, automatically configuring settings on the devices: for example, disabling access to the App Store or configuring an email address. Apple Configurator has a lot of cool things that it can do, but you have to connect a device to a computer running the same instance of Apple Configurator that you used to setup devices initially, so over time it becomes pretty labor intensive and logistically challenging to manage a growing or permanent set of devices.
Apple Configurator, the first step towards managing Apple devices for many organizations
Next, many look to Mobile Device Management, or MDM for short. MDM allows you to manage devices over the air, instead of over USB. MDM can push settings to devices wirelessly. So if you decide you’d like to switch mail services, you can change the settings on all of your devices without plugging them into a computer, having users manually enter new mail settings or worse, manually entering those settings for the users when they bring you the iPad.
Bushel, MDM for the masses
The point of management solutions was once to restrict what people could do. This made sense, because with viruses running rampant in corporate networks and users accidentally clicking on a button and blowing up their computer, doing so helped to further secure devices while also reducing the support burden for those devices. With iOS devices and even the Mac, it’s getting harder and harder for a user to break a device. Therefore, we’re in a place now where we want to empower users rather than restrict them.
We worry less about security vulnerabilities on devices where the operating system isn’t able to be altered. This allows us, as with Apple, to improve the experience for the people who use devices. Which invariably leads to a mixed use of those devices. Facebook coexists with the work apps. But then, when people take devices home they’re often responding to mail and working a little at home to make up for any wasted time working on personal items in the office. By using the Apple deployment programs as they are designed, we can reduce the amount of manual effort required to manage devices while making for the most graceful user experiences possible!
Here are a few best practices so that you get started down the right path with Bushel:
•When you create an account, you’ll create a company url for enrolling devices in the future (i.e. company.bushel.com). Just keep in mind that this address is what you’ll share with employees if they need to enroll devices so shorter is better than longer but logical is also helpful.
•When you activate your account, you’ll link with Apple’s Push Notification Service (APNS). Whatever Apple ID you use to link with APNS will be required to renew annually. You may choose to link it to a company email address instead of an individual email address. Many people create a company email for this purpose, something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Just know that whatever Apple ID you use for APNS will be needed each year to renew.
•When you create a free Volume Purchase Program (VPP) account with Apple (http://www.apple.com/business/vpp/), you will create a separate Apple ID. Apple requires this ID to be unique for the Volume Purchase Program. It cannot match any existing ID used for iTunes so I recommend creating your VPP Apple ID while signing up for the program. Again, you may choose to use a company email vs an individual email because there’s annual renewal here as well. Many companies create an email that looks something like email@example.com for this purpose.
While these aren’t deal-breaker details, they can definitely make your life a lot less stressful once you roll into the deployment and you happen upon that first year of renewals with Apple’s various programs. We have a number of video tutorials on our YouTube channel as well: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfJ5xon9jky9fM12vhdYj2A