Decommissioning Day

So the varsity vacations are after all right here and each sysadmin is aware of that that implies you’ll be able to get started ripping issues aside with general abandon. It is the happiest day of the 12 months!

This 12 months, I’ve numerous jobs to do since its refresh 12 months. The primary activity is to decommission all the outdated units.

As a part of the hand-in this 12 months, I intentionally made positive all of the pupils had became off In finding my iPad so as to disable the Activation Lock. This most commonly labored and just a few nonetheless had it enabled.

Subsequent, I made up our minds to unsupervise them from Apple Configurator. I had numerous rather massive USB hubs so I attached them all of sudden 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 had been carried out. Some of the giant issues at this level is that you are operating with outdated Lightning cables, a few of which may no longer paintings completely. Numerous occasional random screw ups.

Anyway, I were given that carried out and it proved that all the set was once not activation locked and had been erased. I discovered a couple of units that claimed to be supervised however Configurator may no longer see them. I feel this dates again to the insects we encountered within the iOS 7 transition the place some units misplaced their supervision identities, however I did not stay an in depth document of that point so cannot be positive.

In consequence, I stopped up forcibly restoring about six units. No giant deal.

El Capitan

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

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

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


Subsequent factor I did was once arrange a brand new MDM. We now have used Casper Suite for years now and I believe it the only non-negotiable factor about my iPad deployment apply. I in actuality could not reside with out it.

Our earlier Casper example predates the discharge of VPP Controlled Distribution in the United Kingdom so it had a large number of cruft in it about coupon codes and such. Between that and the upward push of Apple Faculty Supervisor, I made up our minds 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 system and set up Casper.

Within the outdated MDM, I revoked all of the apps from all of the customers. The fastest manner to try this is to delete your VPP token from Settings > World Control > VPP Accounts. This mechanically revokes each VPP license you could have 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 person. This appears to be a greater manner for varsity 1:1 eventualities. In my analysis in class, I found out that virtually no pupils ever put in a school-provided app on a non-public iOS tool.

Instrument Project means that you can push an app at once to a tool and pull it again at will. Apple ID task every now and then labored and every now and then did not relying on more than a few components.

In consequence, we’re transferring to tool task for all pupil units within the subsequent deployment.

We also are switching to the Casper cellular app for get entry to to self carrier. Prior 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.

Any other factor we’re doing this deployment is making extra use of non-compulsory installs of apps. There are a definite set of apps we need to be in every single place at all times – iTunes U, Google Power, Pages, Notability – and different apps that we’ve got sufficient licenses for to make to be had to everybody however which everybody may no longer want. Those 2d forms of apps are going into Self Carrier and pupils can pull them onto their units as required.

As we begin to transfer against Controlled Apple IDs, we will be able to be leaning extra on non-compulsory installs via Self Carrier. It is because Controlled Apple IDs can not purchase apps at once, so the whole thing has to return throughout the MDM.

This if truth be told supplies an extra receive advantages in that you’ll be able to deploy apps with any age score. Prior to now, we had allowed scholars unfastened get entry to to the App Retailer, matter to a 12+ age score. This posed an issue when sure apps we would have liked to deploy had been rated 17+, corresponding to Amazon Workspaces. Via the similar token, there have been some apps that we undoubtedly did not need that had been rated underneath 12+ (Hello, Snapchat!) Now, with Instrument Project and Controlled Apple IDs, we will deploy handiest the apps we wish without reference to age score.

Any other query, despite the fact that, is whether or not you even in point of fact want Controlled Apple IDs. So far as I will see, you handiest in point of fact get two advantages from having a Controlled Apple ID over simply, smartly, no longer having an Apple ID in any respect.

Initially, you’ll be able to subscribe to iTunes U lessons. That is clearly crucial for secondary colleges however a lot much less necessary for number one colleges.

Secondly, you get iCloud garage for backup and different makes use of. At this time, Controlled Apple IDs are nonetheless restricted to the similar quite stingy 5GB that client Apple IDs are restricted to. In an international the place Google are throwing limitless unfastened garage at colleges, that is beginning to really feel like an actual pinch. In a Shared iPad global the place you are anticipating with the intention to offload a pupil’s complete knowledge load to iCloud, I will’t see how 5GB is sustainable.

Nonetheless, should you aren’t the use of Shared iPad and you’ve got sufficient revel in to understand that catastrophic hardware screw ups are very uncommon, possibly you are not looking for iCloud garage.

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