Apple Configurator in 2022: What’s new with iOS 16?

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Over the approaching weeks, I will take a look at Apple’s WWDC 2022 bulletins that can influence of IT professionals in each schooling and enterprise environments. There’s quite a bit to unpack this yr which may not have made the headlines in most information tales, so I sit up for unpacking the small tidbits and what sort of influence every one will make for IT professionals who handle Apple gadgets, but additionally those that use managed Apple gadgets for work and in school. This week, I wish to take a look at the information that Apple Configurator on iPhone can now onboard different iPhones and iPads into Apple Enterprise Supervisor and Apple College Supervisor.

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers managed an enterprise IT community from 2009 to 2021. By means of his expertise deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a cellular system administration system, enterprise grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will spotlight methods during which Apple IT managers deploy Apple gadgets, construct networks to assist them, practice customers, tales from the trenches of IT administration, and methods Apple might enhance its merchandise for IT departments.


It is arduous to imagine Apple Configurator is now over TWELVE years outdated. Actually, you’ll be able to nonetheless learn the unique launch story from when 9to5Mac lined the announcement. I can nonetheless keep in mind the place I used to be when it was introduced. I used to be leaving one other faculty that was seeking to migrate to Google Workspace (Google Apps on the time) from their native Change Mail Server, and I used to be giving them some suggestions from after I had performed it a number of years earlier.

After I acquired again to the workplace, I began to see the discharge bulletins throughout varied Apple web sites. In comparison with at the moment’s cloud-first instruments, Apple Configurator is not one thing that the majority companies can use as their solely iOS and macOS administration device. Nonetheless, on the time, it was a elementary breakthrough for a lot of organizations simply getting began with iOS administration. It lastly made know-how just like the Quantity Buy Program scalable for organizations shopping for apps in bulk. The function of Apple Configurator in 2022 is far completely different, however let’s take a look at what was life earlier than it was launched.

Earlier than Apple Configurator

Earlier than Apple Configurator, the method of deploying apps was suspect at greatest. You’d purchase nevertheless many copies of an app you wanted (20 was/is the minimal to get a reduction) and obtain an Excel spreadsheet with App Codes. You’d take the primary one, redeem it in iTunes, after which “hold” the check for compliance causes. In case you had been deploying apps to non-public gadgets, you’d merely e mail the app code to individuals with a purpose to redeem it.

With Apple Configurator, you’d redeem the primary code in iTunes to seize the App file, add it to Apple Configurator, and then you definately’d import the spreadsheet to unlock further licenses. You’d then have the choice to sync it over a USB connection to gadgets in bulk. I tinkered fairly a bit discovering USB hubs that might energy a number of iPads at a time – probably the most I might ever get was 8–10 going without delay. If you’d wish to take away an app, you’d plug it again up, uncheck it in Apple Configurator, after which resync. In comparison with at the moment’s surroundings, this course of appears archaic, however on the time, it was mild years forward of what we had.

MDM + Apple Configurator in 2022

The function of Apple Configurator in 2022 is far completely different. Actually, you do not even have to make use of it. Apple’s zero contact deployment mannequin implies that it could possibly hand out boxed gadgets and workers/college students can unbox, hook up with Wi-Fi, get enrolled in MDM, and get the best apps and profiles put in. It is doable that IT can run an Apple deployment for a few years with out ever touching a tool. With Erase All Contents and Settings, it is doable for an IT division to wipe gadgets and disown it from MDM to resell/trade-in when the lease is up as properly. Within the age of distant work, it is actually superb what all IT professionals can do with out touching a tool.

Apple Configurator remains to be helpful if you wish to use it, although. In my expertise, I’ve discovered that utilizing it on freshly unboxed gadgets to manually set up a Wi-Fi profile can pace up deployment instances if IT does not wish to spin up a password-free Wi-Fi community. I might usually use the macOS model of Apple Configurator to put in a single Wi-Fi profile on all of the gadgets as I unboxed them after which let others assist me undergo the method of onboarding it the MDM, and so on. It isn’t required, however it’s a pleasant possibility.

Apple Configurator for iPhone

Final December, Apple launched the preliminary model of Apple Configurator for iPhone after saying it at WWDC 2021. The principle cause to make use of the iPhone model of the App was to onboard gadgets not bought via the varsity’s Apple account into Apple Enterprise/College Supervisor. In what state of affairs would this be useful? My preliminary pitch for the app was if a Mac was donated to a faculty or enterprise (non-profit) to make use of in day-to-day operations. I bumped into this case many instances, and I would by no means flip down free iPads, however it did make managing them a problem.

With the replace to Apple Configurator in 2022, faculties and companies will now have the choice to onboard iOS and iPadOS gadgets into their Apple accounts that we have bought immediately from Apple. Why is that this useful? For a similar causes I discussed above with donated gadgets, there’s additionally an rising use case: provide chain issues. Discovering gadgets which might be in inventory has turn into a problem. Discovering gadgets in bulk has turn into a good greater problem. I’ve learn numerous tweets all through the spring and summer season from faculties with delayed shipments. The summer season interval is when faculties are usually ramping up for his or her fall system rollout, so an August or September supply is not ultimate. I’ve talked to a number of faculties who’ve been piecing Mac deployments collectively by shopping for gadgets at Greatest Purchase, Amazon, B&H Picture, and different retailers. With Apple Configurator for iPhone, these gadgets can ultimately make their means into their Apple Enterprise/College Supervisor account, in order that they perform identical to they got here immediately from Apple.

Abstract of Apple Configurator bulletins from WWDC

The extra iPad and iPhone onboarding for Apple Configurator for iPhone will not assist a faculty at the moment, however it is going to assist sooner or later. If provide chain points are nonetheless round in 2023, it’s going to give faculties another choice for the place to buy their gadgets. In the event that they get gadgets donated that assist iOS 16, faculties and companies can merely say Thanks, onboard them into Apple Enterprise/College Supervisor, and add them to their cellular system administration system identical to all the opposite gadgets within the fleet. It would seem to be a minor improve, however it’s a major enhancement in the best state of affairs.

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