Jamf Blog
Mac labs, reimagined
April 24, 2022 by Tim Herr

Streamlining deployments and updates in Mac labs

In this session from Bett 2022, Jamf systems engineer Scott Mackay gives advice on combining Jamf Pro with the latest functionality of macOS Monterey and Apple School Manager for rapid and stress-free deployments.

In “Mac labs, reimagined” from the Bett 2022 conference in London, Jamf systems engineer Scott Mackay addresses the challenges that IT admins face in maintaining these spaces. He defines a Mac lab simply as “A room or buiding equipped with Apple Macs to support learning and teaching.” Such labs can cause difficulties for admins, as he explains:

  1. Shared use of machines can raise issues with organizing and retrieving the correct user’s files or folders
  2. The kind of applications (art and music software, for instance) often found in Mac labs can take up excessive amounts of memory
  3. Students store large projects on the devices, further taking up memory

At the end of the academic year, admins generally have to complete a complex series of tasks in a short period of time to prepare a Mac lab for the next group of students. These include updating applications, testing and redeploying Macs. (Regarding the last action, a machine may have reached its end of life and need to be replaced, or the academic purpose of certain machines or even the entire lab may change from one year to the next, requiring different applications and configurations.)

Having explored the setting of the Mac lab and the common problems that IT admins face, Mackay proceeds to explain how Jamf can work with the functionality of macOS Monterey and Apple School Manager to streamline workflows and produce fast, easy deployments.

Get the best out of Jamf and Apple in the Mac lab

According to Mackay, three key functionality areas that admins can use to streamline Mac lab deployments and maintenance are as follows:

  1. “Erase all contents and settings” option in macOS Monterey
  2. Automated Device Enrollment and Auto Advance through Apple School Manager
  3. Jamf Connect

iOS users should already be familiar with the “Erase all contents and settings” option, which restores the device to its factory settings. With the release of macOS Monterey, this exact functionality is available for Mac. The “Wipe Computer” command in Jamf Pro, when used on T2 machines or newer, will activate the desired action in macOS without requiring additional installers or scripts.

Apple School Manager provides two features that are particularly helpful for Mac labs: Automated Device Enrollment (ADE) and Auto Advance. Admins can use ADE to automatically enroll a device in an MDM solution such as Jamf Pro, supervise it without touching it and then lock MDM enrollment for ongoing management. The additional Auto Advance feature makes it possible to skip all Setup Assistant panes on a Mac that is plugged into an Ethernet connection.

Jamf Connect is useful for provisioning of users with cloud identity provider credentials. Admins can set a password policy in it to secure a machine, and it also supports multi-factor authentication (MFA) at the login window, which may be required for school compliance under regulatory schemes like GDPR. Jamf Connect can also sync user passwords across applications, making password changes painless for users while keeping their data safe.

An effective deployment workflow for Mac labs

Mackay ends by combining all of these features in a structured workflow and listing the requirements that admins will need to be able to implement it. He notes the benefits of the workflow: faster turnaround on servicing machines, no need for admins to sit in front of machines, and less time spent on setup. By unlocking the full potential of the relationship between Jamf and Apple, IT departments can eliminate pain points and get Mac labs ready for use faster than ever.

Read more BETT Apple at School content:

Watch the on-demand presentation now!

Photo of Tim Herr
Tim Herr
Tim Herr, Copywriter.
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