Decommissioning Day

So the varsity vacations are in the end right here and each and every sysadmin is aware of that that suggests you’ll be able to get started ripping issues aside with general abandon. It is the happiest day of the yr!

This yr, I’ve various jobs to do since its refresh yr. The primary job is to decommission all the outdated gadgets.

As a part of the hand-in this yr, I intentionally made positive the entire pupils had grew to become off In finding my iPad to be able to disable the Activation Lock. This most commonly labored and only some nonetheless had it enabled.

Subsequent, I determined to unsupervise them from Apple Configurator. I had various fairly massive USB hubs so I hooked up them abruptly and plugged in about 30 iPads. Configurator (we’re nonetheless on 1.8 at this level) promptly fell over.

So I unsupervised them in smaller batches till all have been finished. One of the vital large issues at this level is that you are running with outdated Lightning cables, a few of which may now not paintings completely. A lot of occasional random screw ups.

Anyway, I were given that finished and it proved that all the set was once not activation locked and have been erased. I discovered a couple of gadgets that claimed to be supervised however Configurator may just now not see them. I believe this dates again to the insects we encountered within the iOS 7 transition the place some gadgets misplaced their supervision identities, however I did not stay an in depth file of that point so cannot be positive.

Because of this, I stopped up forcibly restoring about six gadgets. No large deal.

El Capitan

Subsequent step was once to improve the Configurator device from Yosemite and Configurator 1.8 to El Capitan and Configurator 2. At this level, a number of iPads have been in the back of of their model of iOS. I left them that approach as a result of I figured that Configurator 2 may do a greater task of upgrading more than one gadgets without delay.

Sadly, at this level, the Mac determined to throw its disk. Cue a 2+ hour rebuilding procedure which was once tedious however uneventful.

Thankfully, Configurator 2 was once significantly better at dealing with more than one gadgets without delay. I used to be then in a position to replace 25 or so iPads without delay with out factor. Bradley and I’ve given Apple Configurator a troublesome time at the podcast through the years however AC2 is undoubtedly a lot, significantly better than model 1.


Subsequent factor I did was once arrange a brand new MDM. Now we have used Casper Suite for years now and I believe it the one non-negotiable factor about my iPad deployment observe. I truly could not reside with out it.

Our earlier Casper example predates the discharge of VPP Controlled Distribution in the United Kingdom so it had numerous cruft in it about coupon codes and such. Between that and the upward thrust of Apple College Supervisor, I determined that it was once definitely worth the effort to arrange a brand new MDM.

We host our MDM on Amazon EC2, so it was once simple to throw up a brand new digital device and set up Casper.

Within the outdated MDM, I revoked the entire apps from the entire customers. The fastest approach to try this is to delete your VPP token from Settings > International Control > VPP Accounts. This routinely revokes each and every VPP license you’ve got assigned.

I re-uploaded the brand new VPP token to the brand new MDM server and as soon as all of it synced up, I had all my app licenses within the new server.

App Deployment

Within the early days of VPP, you needed to assign each and every app to a person Apple ID. Since iOS 9, you’ll be able to assign to a tool as a substitute of a consumer. This appears to be a greater manner for college 1:1 scenarios. In my analysis in school, I found out that virtually no pupils ever put in a school-provided app on a non-public iOS software.

Tool Project permits you to push an app without delay to a tool and pull it again at will. Apple ID task occasionally labored and occasionally did not relying on more than a few elements.

Because of this, we’re transferring to software task for all pupil gadgets within the subsequent deployment.

We also are switching to the Casper cell app for get right of entry to to self carrier. Up to now, Casper’s Self Carrier was once a internet clip. The local app, in addition to being sooner and extra responsive additionally lets in directors to ship push notifications to all or some iPads with the app put in.

Some other factor we’re doing this deployment is making extra use of not obligatory installs of apps. There are a definite set of apps we wish to be all over the place at all times – iTunes U, Google Force, Pages, Notability – and different apps that we have got sufficient licenses for to make to be had to everybody however which everybody may now not want. Those 2nd types of apps are going into Self Carrier and pupils can pull them onto their gadgets as required.

As we begin to transfer in opposition to Controlled Apple IDs, we will be able to be leaning extra on not obligatory installs thru Self Carrier. It is because Controlled Apple IDs can’t purchase apps without delay, so the whole thing has to come back during the MDM.

This in fact supplies an extra receive advantages in that you’ll be able to deploy apps with any age ranking. Up to now, we had allowed scholars unfastened get right of entry to to the App Retailer, matter to a 12+ age ranking. This posed an issue when positive apps we needed to deploy have been rated 17+, equivalent to Amazon Workspaces. By way of the similar token, there have been some apps that we undoubtedly did not need that have been rated beneath 12+ (Hello, Snapchat!) Now, with Tool Project and Controlled Apple IDs, we will be able to deploy most effective the apps we would like irrespective of age ranking.

Some other query, regardless that, is whether or not you even in point of fact want Controlled Apple IDs. So far as I will be able to see, you most effective in point of fact get two advantages from having a Controlled Apple ID over simply, neatly, now not having an Apple ID in any respect.

At the start, you’ll be able to subscribe to iTunes U classes. That is clearly crucial for secondary faculties however a lot much less essential for number one faculties.

Secondly, you get iCloud garage for backup and different makes use of. At the moment, Controlled Apple IDs are nonetheless restricted to the similar slightly stingy 5GB that client Apple IDs are restricted to. In a global the place Google are throwing limitless unfastened garage at faculties, that is beginning to really feel like an actual pinch. In a Shared iPad global the place you are anticipating as a way to offload a pupil’s whole knowledge load to iCloud, I will be able to’t see how 5GB is sustainable.

Nonetheless, in case you aren’t the use of Shared iPad and you have got sufficient revel in to grasp that catastrophic screw ups are very uncommon, perhaps you don’t want iCloud garage.

Nonetheless, those are early days in our redeployment. There is undoubtedly extra paintings to do!