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Jamf Now and Apple Business Manager: Dynamic Duo

With Apple’s launch of Apple Business Manager in June of 2018, we’ve heard some people ask if they still have a need for Jamf Now to manage their devices.

Do I still need Jamf Now to manage devices?

The short answer: yes!

Using Apple Business Manager without a mobile device management tool is like eating peanut butter without jelly, cookies without milk or strawberries without cream: they are good when separate, but together become iconic.

Apple states that:

Apple Business Manager is a new place for IT teams to automate device deployment, purchase and distribute content, and manage roles in their organizations. Working seamlessly with your mobile device management (MDM) solution, Apple Business Manager makes it easy to enroll devices, deploy content, and delegate administrative privileges.

(Download their Getting Started Guide for more information.)

As you can see, a mobile device management (MDM) tool like Jamf is an integral part of the equation.

As an administrator of the free Apple Business Manager platform, when you purchase devices through an authorized Apple channel, your macOS and iOS devices will automatically be enrolled in Apple Business Manager. You can then auto-assign them to your Jamf Now account which will allow for greater control over all of your company owned assets. In addition to the auto-assignment, using Apple Business Manager makes the MDM non-removable by an end user — adding an additional layer of security to your investment.

Within Jamf Now is where you will decide which settings you want to control, like requiring a passcode or adding Wi-Fi and email. You can also decide which apps you want on your devices. We know that each team may have specific needs for their day-to-day work, which is why Jamf Now allows you to customize groups of your devices for their specific uses by using Blueprints. Jamf Now has 75 restrictions you can use to ensure your devices meet your expectations and compliance needs. Certain iOS restrictions within Jamf Now require supervision (i.e. Disable Messages or Disable Deleting Apps). Using Apple Business Manager to Auto-Enroll your devices is the easiest, fastest and recommended way to ensure your iOS devices are supervised. Jamf Now works in conjunction with Apple Business Manager to be the powerful tool it is.

So, what is Apple Business Manager capable of on its own? Without an MDM, Apple Business Manager is an excellent way to see which devices your company purchased and invite additional users. However, it does not include remote controls of devices.

As mentioned, Apple Business Manager will give an administrator the ability to invite and assign roles to other employees. So, if you want a backup for while you are on vacation, you can give your second-in-command full access to your Apple Business Manager account. You can also specify that a user only have access to assign devices to MDM or to manage content (including downloading apps).

Can I use Jamf Now without Apple Business Manager?

Again, the short answer: yes!

For those of you who do not have an Apple Business Manager account, you can still use Jamf Now for your management needs. In order to use Jamf Now without Apple Business Manager, you will need to Open Enroll your devices. This will allow the administrator the ability to push out passwords, Wi-fi, email and a limited number of restrictions. Keep in mind, however, your end-users will be able to remove management at any time — potentially eliminating security measures you have intentionally put in place.

Should I use Jamf Now without Apple Business Manager?

The short answer: probably not; you want the dynamic duo on your side.

Each platform’s individual capabilities are great, but we are talking about the perfect small and medium business tech-tool pair. A real Mario and Luigi, Woody and Buzz, or Captain Kirk and Spock level team-up. When using Apple Business Manager with Jamf Now, you get all the abilities mentioned above as well as zero-touch device deployment with over-the-air operating system updates to scale with your growth. Uniting the two products puts an iOS device into Supervision mode, which gives you the greatest control over your devices including Lost Mode and Activation Unlock.

Apple Business Manager paired with Jamf is our recommended deployment method because it results in a seamless experience for IT as well as for the end-user. The two programs paired together give admins the reassurance and feedback you need to know your devices are managed. This allows an organization the highest level of security while maintaining the integrity of the end-user Apple experience.

Because Jamf wants you to try out Jamf Now, your first three devices are free.