Apple, with its new iOS 9.3 upgrade, appears to have added a feature for IT administrators that could upset a lot of employees. According to a PDF on the company’s Developer Center, employers will be able to dictate where app icons sit on company iPhone home screens.
The change was first spotted by iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who links to Apple’s “Configuration Profile Reference” PDF. Within it, Apple mentions a “Home Screen Layout Payload,” which “defines a layout of apps, folders, and web clips for the Home screen.”
This feature, which is new to iOS 9.3, allows IT admins to specify where each app, folder, and web bookmark sits on company iPhones. It means all company devices can be set up the same, but it prevents employees from customizing the layout to suit them.
In addition to this, Apple allows admins to blacklist or whitelist specific apps. So, if they see certain built-in apps such as Videos as unnecessary distractions, they can prevent them from being used. They could also disable Camera, which can’t be used in confidential settings.
iOS 9.3 also lets admins disable iTunes Radio, and lock notification settings, which could prevent them from turning off or changing how notifications are displayed for important apps like Messages and Mail.
For more information on how these things are implemented, check out Apple’s “Configuration Profile Reference” PDF. It’s worth noting that iOS 9.3 is still in beta, so some of these things could still change — but it is expected to make its public debut very soon.
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