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Guide to Apple Mobile Device Management

In comparison to Android devices, Apple devices are largely enterprise-friendly — thanks to their operating system that is jam-packed with advanced security features. As we steer towards an ecosystem where remote work is becoming a norm, Apple devices will play a key role in enhancing productivity and efficiency for the entire workforce. 

However, unlike personal devices, work devices entail critical corporate data and can jeopardize security in the event they are stolen or hacked. IT managers are thus tasked with ensuring that Apple devices used within corporate environments are safe to use and do not pose any future threats.

That’s where an Apple MDM solution enters. A powerful MDM solution enforces security and ensures that the workforce stays flexible and productive. Deploying an MDM can keep distractions away, trim down the time/cost involved in distributing updates, streamline workflows, and secure emails. It is great for large enterprises and small businesses.

In this guide, we’ll walk through what exactly Apple MDM is, explore its use cases and features, and learn to manage Apple devices with Apple MDM. 

What is Apple mobile device management?

Apple mobile device management is a solution that enables enterprises to manage devices effectively by deploying specific apps and software. Primarily, it’s used to safeguard critical data from getting compromised.

There are several benefits of deploying an Apple device management system, including:

What is Apple mobile device management used for? 

Conversations around mobile device management are often enterprise-focused. But Apple device management is also largely used by schools and families alike. 

Tip for families: If kids have easy access to iOS devices, their usage is likely a looming concern. Don’t worry; Apple mobile device management solutions let parents control devices and take away the stress of how their kids use them. 

In addition to that, MDM solution helps: 

Tip for schools: Similarly, with the help of an Apple mobile device management solution, schools can secure their devices by implementing screen locks, passwords, and encryption by signing up for Apple school manager. Admins get the full right to prevent the installation of any 3rd party or unauthorized apps, and have control over usage. 

Admins can also track the location of the devices and take stringent measures (like wiping off data) in case the device is lost or stolen.

Apple mobile device management features

There is no shortage of MDM solutions for Apple devices across various pricing ranges. However, it is essential to understand what elements of mobile device management are must-haves for your organization. 

Remember, changing a mobile device management solution mid-deployment can be time-consuming and costly — mostly because you have to erase each device, and re-enroll completely. Below are some features we recommend considering.

Ease and standard of device enrollment: 

Profile management for seamless control over devices:

Robust Apple device management:

Manage assets using advanced methods:

Stringent security standards:

Comprehensive audit and summary of the devices:

You may also consider these additional pointers before choosing an apple device management vendor. 

Either opt for different mobile device management vendors for different devices or choose a vendor that supports all Apple devices (automatic assignment by device type simplifies this process). 

It is also worth noting that the Apple volume purchase program (VPP) is a free service offered to corporations. VPP helps simplify and streamline the buying and distribution of apps.

How to manage Apple devices with Apple MDM

Almost all iOS devices, be it iPhones, iPads, or macOS, come with a built-in structure that supports the Apple device management solution. This makes it easy to configure devices securely and wirelessly. Such configuration is accomplished by sending explicit commands and profiles to the Apple device. Mobile device management can be deployed in both user-owned and organization-owned devices. 

For corporations, Apple business manager works seamlessly with MDM to automate and streamline the deployment.

According to Apple, the following devices have a built-in framework that supports MDM:

Before used devices are considered for MDM deployment, it is essential to make sure they are safe for Apple MDM solution deployment. Unchecked devices can leak critical data and cause irreversible damage. 

If you discard used devices, make sure any work-related and personal data is wiped off completely.

Phonecheck offers industry-standard used device certification, diagnostics and erasure,  and helps reveal any glaring issues beforehand. 

Depending on the Apple device management solution you have opted for, below are key steps to manage apple devices with MDM. 

Create and add an APNs certificate 

APNs or the apple push notification service certificate acts as a catalyst between the MDM solution and the Apple devices.

The need to create and add APNs is to maintain consistent and secure communication between them — so Apple devices can learn about any updates, policies, or messages safely.

Other relevant certificates are an SSL certificate for an extra layer of security, and another certificate to sign configuration profiles. All of these are relevant to maintaining safe business devices. 

For your Apple device to work in tandem with APNs, ensure the network traffic is allowed from the devices to the apple network. Apple devices should be able to connect to a specific port on a specific host. For example, TCP port to 5223 to securely communicate with APNs.

Be sure to make note of your managed Apple ID since it is required when these certificates need to be renewed. 

Enroll Apple devices 

Apple device enrollment program in MDM can be accomplished with the help of the Apple business manager (and Apple school manager in the case of educational institutions).

 

Apple’s automated device enrollment allows you to automate MDM enrollment and streamline device setup. Here’s how:

Create and assign profiles 

MDM solution lets you create departments (or device groups). That way, you can automate the allocation of docs, policies, and apps to specific groups. 

You can enable kiosk mode on iPads and iPhones. In this mode, only one app can run in the foreground, and the user is restricted from accessing any other apps or settings within the device.  

Furthermore, you can configure the policies for proper OS management and remotely enable Lost Mode if a device is stolen/lost. 

Need to check an Apple device? Get a detailed history report from Phonecheck

Apple device management offers your business great benefits, from operational flexibility to multi-layered security.  But, before you purchase used Apple devices or sell old ones, it’s incredibly important to make sure the MDM is turned off. 

Turning off the MDM ensures that your security architecture is not revealed to a third party. It also stops any pre-existing MDM (in a new Apple device) from interrupting your iOS device deployment. That's exactly where Phonecheck enters. 

Our industry-standard device certification software executes enterprise-level diagnostics and data wipes for your Apple devices. Check and certify  used Apple devices at scale with ease through Phonecheck, or check out the PhoneCheck Certified History Report for individual reports— which costs about the same as a cup of coffee.

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