In this age of many-to-one management suites, like Mobile Device Management (MDM) applications, a tool that is effectively one-to-one like Apple Configurator 2 (AC2) seems counter-productive at times–especially if your organization has more than a few dozen devices to manage. Indeed, when you’re managing hundreds or thousands of devices, the brilliant pairing that is Apple School Manager (ASM) and your MDM really shine when it comes to virtually zero-touch provisioning, deployment, and management are concerned.
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Formally known as Device Enrollment Program (DEP), Apple’s web-based database that contains entries for all of your organization’s Apple devices, including iOS, macOS, and tvOS-based devices. The database itself, populated automatically when enterprise purchases are made, allows devices to begin the provisioning process the moment they are taken out of the box when a match is made between the device’s serial number and one of the entries in the database. From there, the process is handed over to the MDM to complete on-boarding.
The process is pretty flawless, I would say, and the workflow is incredibly efficient once it’s configured properly. One chink in the armor though is the ASM database itself. More to the point, if entries are not added properly, or worse, deleted altogether. When the latter occurs, there was no way to re-add entries to the database–until recently. If your device meets the requirements for being added to ASM below, you can use the manual method of importing devices into the database.
- Devices must be running iOS 11 (or newer)
- Devices must be running tvOS 11 (or newer)
- Mac computer with Apple Configurator 2.5 (or newer) installed
- Organization profile has already been created in AC2
- Supervision identity has already been linked between MDM and AC2
- Wireless network configuration profile created
Importing devices into Apple School/Business Manager
1. Launch ASM and connect your iOS device via USB to the Mac.
2. Select the device(s) you wish to add and click the Prepare button (Figure A).
3. A new window will open. Select Manual Configuration from the drop-down menu and check the box for Add to Device Enrollment Program. Additionally, check the box for Supervise Devices.
4. If the device already has a record in your MDM by serial number, then leave the Activate and Complete Enrollment box unchecked. However, if the device is new to your organization or the record was deleted from the MDM, then check the box to finish activation and enroll in your MDM as well. Click the Next button to proceed (Figure B).
Note: If you do not wish to allow devices to connect to computers, do not check the box next to Allow Devices to Pair with Other Computers. Otherwise, check the box to allow this functionality.
5. At the Enroll in MDM Server pane, select the MDM server previously linked from the drop-down menu, then click the Next button (Figure C).
6. At the Assign to Organization pane, select the organization previously linked from the drop-down menu, then click the Next button (Figure D).
7. At the Configure iOS Setup Assistant pane, place a check next to each of the boxes you would like to skip during the setup process, then click the Next button (Figure E).
8. At the Choose Network Profile pane, select the configuration profile that will allow the device to connect to a wireless network to complete activation and setup, then click the Prepare button (Figure F).
9. After the device has been supervised, we’ll need to log into the Apple School/Business Manager website and locate the Assignment History section. Clicking it will reveal the history of devices being imported and by what method. Entries with Devices Assigned by Apple Configurator 2 in the Assigned To line have been successfully added from AC2 to ASM.
10. Make a note of the serial numbers of the devices just added by AC2. Go to Device Assignments and under Choose Devices, enter the serial numbers separated by commas. Then, select the Assign to Server under Choose Action and select the server name in the second drop-down menu. Click Done to save your changes.
Note: Remember that if you’re using an MDM, to go back into the management suite and reapply the PreStage Enrollment profile to the newly added devices.
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