Mobility

Apple Configurator 2 makes iPad and iPhone deploys even easier for SMBs

Apple's Configurator 2.0 is a lightweight and agile configuration app that is a boon to SMBs. Read about the latest version's new features and options.

Image: Apple

Apple Configurator 2.0 allows for even more customization of iOS devices than version 1.0 of the configuration app, and it maintains the original's standardization capabilities for devices en masse from one centralized console. Read about the enhancements in Configurator 2.0, as well as how the latest version integrates with MDM options.

Requirements for running Configurator 2.0

System requirements

  • OS X El Capitan (10.11+) or later
  • iTunes 12.3 or later

Device requirements

  • Apple TV (2nd Generation or later)
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • iPod Touch

iOS requirements

  • iOS 7 or later

New features in Configurator 2.0

iCloud Drive support

As with many native and third-party Mac apps, iCloud Drive support (Figure B) is used to store important documents, configurations, settings, and management profiles, which are stored securely in iCloud and may be synchronized across various devices or shared across departments responsible for device management.

Figure B

appleconfigurator2figb112415.jpg
Image: Jesus Vigo/TechRepublic

Blueprint

Blueprint (Figure C) is arguably the most interesting new feature and will likely be the one that is most widely used. Adding a blueprint creates a template file, and then the user can apply apps, settings, and configurations to it. Once the blueprint is configured, it may be applied to one device or many devices at once, transferring the pre-configuration template to each device in one process.

The blueprint feature also includes automation support for Apple script, Automator actions, and command-line when executed from Terminal.

Figure C

appleconfigurator2figc112415.jpg
Image: Jesus Vigo/TechRepublic

Over-the-Air (OTA) deployments

Apple has made strides in strengthening the management capabilities of iOS so device managers can manage hardware and software while device users still maintain flexibility. With Configurator 2, Apple includes native support for two deployment programs (Figure D): DEP (Device Enrollment Program) and third-party MDM servers for managing hardware devices as well as settings, configuration, and apps for OTA asset management. By enrolling in DEP or implementing your company's MDM solution, businesses of all sizes can enjoy the benefits of centralized management right out of the box.

Figure D

appleconfigurator2figd112415.jpg
Image: Jesus Vigo/TechRepublic

Summary

Though it could be argued that Apple Configurator 2 is a stepping-stone toward a more robust management suite, such as an MDM suite, the ability to set up, configure, and manage any number of iOS devices through the use of templates that simplify the deployment process is a boon to SMBs. Not just for its ease of use or price point, but also in the agility in which this lightweight app performs its tasks and, given its low requirements, the ubiquity in how it runs on just about any Mac to get the job done.

We want to hear from you

Have you used Apple Configurator 2 to deploy iPhones or iPads? If so, how was the experience? What, if any, trouble points did you encounter during your deploy? Sound off in the comments.

Also see

Note: TechRepublic, ZDNet, and CNET are CBS Interactive properties.

About Jesus Vigo

Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from seve...

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