Managing Apple devices in retail

Learn how to incorporate best practices in retail Apple device management, making the most of your in-store devices.

May 30 2024 by

Haddayr Copley-Woods

A retail associate uses an iPhone to conduct inventory in a cosmetics store.

Retail devices: used for a purpose

Retail stores generally require devices for a purpose, used by multiple store associates throughout each day for a specific intent. For example, a store might have an iPad that serves as an in-store access point for customers to peruse the company’s catalog, another iPad near the front of the store for point-of-sale purposes and an iPhone for scanning and logging in-store inventory.

These devices require tighter restrictions and should be optimized for task efficiency, such as with a single app or with role-based configurations. They should also be provisioned with IT tools to assist workers with any immediate needs that arise.

Supporting retail employees with the best devices

Retail workers are always on the move: helping customers find what they need, stocking shelves, organizing and maintaining the store atmosphere and making point-of-sale transactions smooth and pleasant. A stellar employee technology experience can also limit turnover and save time and frustration for associates.

So when the leadership at luxury cosmetics retailer Rituals wanted to best support their retail workforce, they chose Apple. Deploying Apple devices can rapidly streamline workflows and enhance in-store operations; iPads and iPhones, after all, offer the simplest, most intuitive user interfaces. Apple can also offer the best in-store customer experiences with an attractive and stable interface. And, with the help of Jamf management, Apple offers the best shared device and on-site user experience around.

Starting with Apple is a great start.

But how can retailers get the most out of these devices in the best way to support everyone?

Strong leaders in retail businesses know that they need to go beyond simply purchasing the best hardware for the job. To get the most out of these devices, the organization must first take a close look at exactly how these devices could best support associates and their workflows.

There are many ways that associates use mobile devices in-store. Some common ones are:

  • Store associate training
  • Point-of-sale
  • Inventory collection

Learn how Ritual’s IT team of three supports 15,000+ iPhones and iPads at their retail locations.

Bring in outside help

You can make faster headway on these questions by turning to an organization with experience in retail Apple device deployments such as Jamf. Our retail experts work with organizations to explain and implement the intricacies of deploying Apple devices for in-store environments and store associate use.

Understanding Apple device capabilities

What are Apple devices capable of? How can you get the most out of them? IT, mobility and in-store teams can get answers to these questions by working with an experienced provider.

For instance, Apple devices are capable of so much more than simple as a point-of-sale device; with an expert at your side, you can deploy them for multiple tasks throughout the retail store.

By properly managing and securing Apple devices, organizations can:

  • Automate processes
  • Ensure device and data security
  • Improve the store associate experience

Working together

Incorporating retail Apple device management best practices means including everyone.

The best way to get the most out of your devices as an organization is to rely on the most people with expertise. That’s why working across IT, engineering, corporate and retail mobility and other departments to put together their plan will yield the best results.

You’ll need people from different teams who have expertise in:

  • The devices themselves
  • Budgeting
  • Implementation
  • Employee experience
  • Customer experience

For example, the in-store team will want to use devices for specific reasons and the IT and Security teams need to ensure devices can meet compliance and security regulations.

Ask the following questions:

  • How will your organization use these devices? What are the use cases?
  • What is the best way to ensure the devices safely and efficiently perform each job?
  • Who needs to do what to make that happen?

How do you ready Apple devices for retail environments?

When IT isn’t in every retail location, it’s crucial to use zero-touch deployment. That way IT can enroll, deploy, manage and protect devices from a central location— without ever having to touch any of them.


From the very start, IT can and should automate enrollment and device configuration for each device, regardless of whether or not the device is used by a single person, multiple people, or for multiple or single use.

Apple’s Automated Device Enrollment (ADE) immediately enrolls and configures a device when a user turns it on; no IT interaction is required. You can use one of Jamf Pro’s PreStage enrollments to configure and deploy your specific ADE experience to the device.

Jamf highly recommends use of this workflow as ADE is the only method that prevents users from removing the MDM profile.


Making the best use of available automation means less manual device management work for IT. This removes the chance of individual error and increases operational efficiency by getting updates and changes into users' hands faster-- without taking up valuable IT time with day-to-day manual device management work.

For example, IT can create Smart Groups to handle common management tasks such as understanding which iOS devices are on the most up-to-date operating system or which applications are on compliant versions. Smart Groups can help IT define what compliance measures a device or individual needs and can define which groups to update and when.

The importance of automated iOS updates

If an iPhone or an iPad uses a payment app that works only on a certain iOS version, IT can use automated inventory data and dynamic Smart Groups to trigger actions like OS upgrades. These define which groups to update and when, as well as the compliance level each device needs for safe payment app usage.

Timely iOS updates are vital to security: bad actors who attempt to take advantage of day-zero vulnerabilities, for instance, fail when devices are updated as soon as a new version is available.

Learn how to automate iOS device updates with managed software updates.

Securing retail devices

In addition to automating iOS updates, patch management and compliance adherence, a vendor with seamless management and security integration means that you can depend on security being incorporated into every level of management. For many retail organizations, letting associates know the device is secure is vital to running smooth, compliant operations. Many of the devices used in daily operations contain apps with sensitive information, like POS apps and staying compliant with The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Securing and managing access to content, scanning devices for risk, or easy access to view security alerts on mobile devices helps associates stay informed about device health – in real time.

Learn more about the Jamf Trust app.

App management

For the best end-user and IT experience, using a vendor’s application management services rather than attempting to track app updates by hand increases customer and end-user satisfaction, saves IT time and boosts security measures.

Proper app management automates app distribution and management, as well as updates and patches. When set up correctly, IT can tell at a glance whether an app is out of date or up to compliance standards, and store teams at the point of sale can also check app status in real time via Self Service (though most retailers will automate this via Smart Groups so associates do not have to perform this). That means smoother customer interactions, safer transactions and greater peace of mind.

IT inventory management

Especially when devices are scattered across stores that can have a national or global distribution, effective inventory management is a must-have for retail companies wishing to protect and support IT assets.

Part of this IT inventory management means that IT must have an immediate and continuous overview of device health and location, which apps are on what devices and which devices need updates to meet compliance requirements.

Proper device management for retail

Properly managing devices optimizes the store associate’s time and experience, as well as the customer’s.

You want to offer devices that are easy to use, present any needed information at associates’ fingertips and which accomplish tasks without a hitch.

Especially when devices are shared at locations, you’ll want a seamless way to set up devices both for their intended use and for the security level of each individual using the devices.

Setup and Reset and Return to Service apps

Jamf Setup and Reset instantly transforms a device’s configuration based on user ID and connects users to the tools they need with no fuss: completely over the air and without IT interaction. Jamf Reset also remotely wipes a device when a new user gains access, providing better security and privacy for associates and customers. And Jamf’s Return to Service app allows for a device to be completely reset and set back up again which also remembers the managed WiFi network, language and the region.

. . . and you can, too!

If you’d like to create a seamless in-store experience for associates and customers while also increasing security and saving precious IT time, please request a free trial and ask to speak with a retail expert.

See how Jamf can help your retail environment make the most out of its devices.