Apple today rolled out changes to its iOS enterprise tools that make it easier for businesses and educational institutions to manage a large number of iOS devices. These improvements were detailed in a series of new documents posted on Apple’s website and include changes in the Device Enrollment Program, the Volume Purchase Program and the Apple ID for Students service.
Device Enrollment Program
Some of the biggest changes were made in the Device Enrollment Program, which provides an easy way to deploy iPhones, iPad and Macs in a large institution. This program now supports a zero-touch configuration, which allows IT administrators to immediately configure account settings, install apps and setup access to IT services over the air. The new system also provides for mandatory and lockable Mobile Device Management (MDM), which forces all devices to be configured according to each institution’s requirements.
The Device Enrollment Program enables you to automatically manage all your institutionally owned devices. While completing the Setup Assistant, the device can be preconfigured to require automatic enrollment into MDM. This ensures that devices are configured based on your institution’s requirements, and guarantees that all users get the same setup on their devices. You can also lock users’ device in MDM for ongoing management.
This mandatory MDM feature would have prevented many of the issues encountered in the rollout of iPads in the LA Unified School District. This large-scale iPad pilot program was widely criticized when it was discovered that students were removing the installed profiles and enabling access to blocked content on the devices.
Volume Purchase Program (VPP)
Apple expanded the geographic availability and payment options in its Volume Purchase Program, which provides hefty discounts on software and books for large institutions. The most significant change is the addition of purchase orders as an acceptable form of payment. Purchase orders now can be used to buy VPP credit that can be redeemed on the VPP store. This opens the door for enrollment of large institutions that previously had no way to purchase software in volume quantity from Apple.
The VPP is available to educational institutions and corporations in ten countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
Apple ID for Students Under 13 service
Lastly, Apple made it easier for schools and parents to manage devices for students who are under the age of 13. The new Apple ID for Students Under 13 program will give younger students the ability to sign up for a limited Apple ID that is compliant with COPPA regulations. These accounts require parental consent and restrict advertising on the device. They also don’t require a credit card to setup and disable iCloud email by default.