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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
We’ve encountered an issue on Mac OS X devices using Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) where when installing an application, the Mac reports that “redownload not offered by store”. We cannot see anything about this in our mdm logs, but we have come up with a workaround (which works for any MDM solution). And the workaround is to simply log out and then log back into the App Store from the Mac. This will reset the app status and allow for the app to be downloaded. This isn’t a Bushel bug, but we are looking into ways to make the process less error-prone where possible.
Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides a D-U-N-S Number. The D-U-N-S Number is a unique nine digit identification number, for each physical location of your company. DUNS Numbersare FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants.
If one does not exist for your business location, you can create a DUNS number within 1 business day. Once you have created a D-U-N-S Number or obtained your number, you can signup for a Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) account at http://www.apple.com/education/it/vpp/ for education customers or https://vpp.itunes.apple.com/us/store for business. Once you’ve signed up, you can use Bushel to deploy those apps. All the apps!
Earlier this month, we launched a limited time refer a friend offer. Since you guys are still sharing your referral codes (have we mentioned how awesome we think you are?), we’ve decided to extend the referral program for one more month. Now through the end of April, you can earn up to 10 free devices forever (one device for each referral that creates a Bushel account) just by spreading the good word. If you know anyone who could use a little less stress in their life, simply share your personal invitation to join Bushel.
To get started, log into your Bushel account and click the Invite Friends link from the menu at the top of your screen. Scroll down to Referrals and choose your preferred method of communication. Share on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter—we’ll even deliver an email on your behalf!