Jamf Blog
Medical professional using an iPad running iPadOS 17
October 26, 2023 by Adam Mahmud

iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 for frontline workers

iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 offer new features that make work easier for frontline workers. Read this blog to find out how Declarative Device Management and Return to Service keep devices up to date and ready for action.

Frontline and field-based workers are using iPhones and iPads for productivity, flexibility, speed and many other purposes — transforming they way they do work.

This is true in healthcare, aviation, manufacturing, retail and beyond. And this growth comes for good reason: Mobility drives new user experiences, business outcomes and the bottom line. While deployment models vary for each organization, one thing is consistent: Apps that simplify mobile work and delight users can save time and money.

While Apple has released some amazing new health and wellness end-user features in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 that help individuals live a better life, let’s unpack some of the IT and device management enhancements that were introduced, and talk about the impact they make for users and IT at scale.

Software updates via Declarative Device Management

The background

One of the largest areas of complexity for large scale mobility — in any market — has been iOS/iPadOS update and application update management. While Jamf Pro has been able to push an MDM software update command to a device, or to a group of devices via mass action, there have long been enhancement requests to go beyond a discrete action taken by an admin. Further, validating that these updates have taken effect in the field has been a challenge for a variety of reasons.

What’s new

Thanks to Apple’s Declarative Device Management, we can natively support this request in Jamf Pro. Declarative Device Management moves beyond the more “reactive management approach” of the MDM protocol. Instead of waiting for a reoccuring push from the MDM service to learn about changes on a device, it can proactively send updated information to the server as needed. This will ensure that device information is more accurately reported, and deployable configurations and apps can be applied more quickly.

Why this matters

For healthcare, one of the most critical groups of mobile devices are those for nurses and clinical staff. As the transition to mobile has evolved, so too has the reliance on mobile to deliver and receive critical communication at the modern frontline of care. This means that it’s more important than ever to ensure that iOS and iPadOS versions are properly managed and updated, so that the critical clinical applications run as expected. Should a specific app not yet be certified against a new OS version, IT can push out a specific version that is supported. While this example is focused on healthcare, the same is true for frontline businesses’ critical use-cases everywhere.

Return to Service

The background

The maintenance challenges of advanced mobility have evolved. And the people responsible for the mobile fleet aren’t always in IT. Retail store managers, field service techs, nurse unit coordinators — these are just a few examples of individuals who rely on mobile devices for their daily work, or are the ones relied upon if/when the devices don’t work. And in those times of need — say when a device just needs to get refreshed and reconfigured — wouldn’t it be great if you could do so without help from a device management admin?

What’s new

New in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, Apple has extended the MDM Erase Device command with a game-changing new feature called Return to Service. This allows all on-device steps typically required for reenrollment after an MDM wipe to be skipped. This means that a user no longer has to select a language, region and Wi-Fi network on the iPad or iPhone, and the device is automatically reconfigured after the initial wipe.

Why this matters

With Apple's new Return to Service capability, a true zero touch mobile reprovisioning workflow is now available. But… it still requires an admin to kick off the management task using Jamf Pro… until now! With the Return to Service app — a new Jamf Pro add-on utility — this new Apple refresh capability is made available in a simple, secure managed app. The means that frontline users, managers and field techs in any industry can safely refresh a device in a single tap... no IT help or trip to a charging cart required.

Upgrade your fleet to iOS and iPadOS 17 with Jamf Pro.

Photo of Adam Mahmud
Adam Mahmud
Adam, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Healthcare, joined Jamf after working for Apple Business, helping organizations of all sizes deploy Apple mobile solutions. He comes from a family of healthcare practitioners and entrepreneurs. With a long history of navigating his own healthcare journey, he has a passion for how technology can improve patient outcomes and clinical efficiencies.
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