Bushel is a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. We can manage all kinds of cool things, but there are a few things we can’t do. These include:
- Controlling where app badges are on screens
- Enrolling without first entering a wi-fi password
- Supervising devices that aren’t managed using Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP)
- Updating iOS devices (iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches) to the latest operating system
Apple Configurator can do many of these tasks, but has limitations. There’s a tool out there called GroundControl. GroundControl is super-simple to use, like Bushel. GroundControl can deploy a backup to a device, which is how it controls where badges are on screens. GroundControl can also provide the wi-fi credentials to get on a network, places devices into supervision (so Bushel can easily manage Activation Lock Bypass on non-DEP enabled devices), and can erase and update devices. In short, GroundControl closes a lot of the gaps we have. On the flip side, GroundControl cannot manage settings over the air, which is what Mobile Device Management is all about.
So let’s look at what all this looks like. Before we get started, if you’re going to follow along, know that you’ll need to wipe an iOS device in order to supervise the device, which GroundControl will want to do by default. And when we’re done, if you want to unsupervise your test device, you’ll need to wipe it as well. So, get a GroundControl account and login. Once logged in, we’ll create a Payload, associate it with a Launchpad and create a Policy to deploy it. The payload is a collection of all the tasks you’ll perform on a device. Click Payloads and then New Payload, to create your first payload. When prompted, use the “Add an item…” button to add tasks to what a given payload will do.
In this example, we’ve uploaded a Backup. and will now add a Restore from Backup task.
Then choose an image to restore or use the Upload new Restore Image option to upload a new one.
Next, we’re going to add a Wi-Fi payload so that our devices will automatically join our wireless networks. To do so, use the Add WiFi button in the “Add an Item…” menu. When prompted, provide the information for your wireless network, or upload a profile with the information in it.
When you have entered all of the required information for your wireless network, click Save.
With the GroundControl Launchpad screen open, make sure the service is started and then plug in an iPad that is wiped and not yet activated into the system.
The device should skip activation, install your backup (aka image) and then apply the payloads you’ve configured. The end result should be a device configured complete with email, security settings and more. You can then enroll this device into Bushel using Open Enrollment to take advantage of the setup and supervised device for MDM.
Overall, we find that Bushel is perfectly useable as a standalone tool. And we find that Apple Configurator can be a great tool according to what you need. But as Bushel makes it easier to own devices for Non-IT device administrators than does Profile Manager, GroundControl makes it easier to setup a lot of devices than does its free alternative. If you’ll be working with a lot of iOS devices, then we couldn’t recommend GroundControl more!