Learn the fundamentals of iOS management

To help those new to iPad and iPhone management — or those looking for a refresher on the basics — we've put together a guide to explain the ABCs of iOS deployment, security and inventory.

August 30 2018 by

Kerry Fortman

If your organization offers its employees a choice in mobile device, you may have discovered, as we did, that 75 percent of workers will choose an Apple device over Android. Great news for employees who are getting to use the device they are most productive and familiar with. Potentially anxiety-inducing news for IT admins who are unfamiliar with iOS management and are now tasked with deploying and security an influx of iPad and iPhone devices.

We get it. We’ve worked with organizations and schools just like yours; new to Apple and looking to get the most out of their technology initiatives. To help, we’ve put 15+ years of Apple expertise (11 with iOS) to use by creating a beginner’s guide for iOS management.

So, before your anxiety levels go up another notch, just know that with basic iOS knowledge and the right mobile device management (MDM) solution, managing your iOS devices will be a breeze.

Here’s a brief introduction to the iOS management fundamentals we cover in the guide:

Deployment and provisioning: Getting devices into the hands of end users

There are several enrollment methods you can utilize to get your fleet of iOS devices out the door and to your end users. We recommend using Zero-Touch enrollment via Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager (previously known as the Device Enrollment Program). This method allows you to ship hardware directly to users (still in the box!) with the device already configured and ready for enrollment into management the first time they turn it on — no visit from IT required.

Configuration management: Applying the right settings

There are many options to customize your iOS devices for your users. With configuration profiles and smart targeting, tailoring these devices has never been easier.

Configuration profiles help you get employees up and running by applying Wi-Fi, VPN and email settings directly to the device.

Smart targeting allows you to collect inventory details (more to come on that) and build out groups based on specific inventory details. This allows you to leverage specific criteria and apply settings to devices based on that information.

It’s important to mention though that not all Apple management solutions offer smart targeting, make sure to check with your management vendor to ensure that functionality is available.

App management: Ensuring the correct software and apps are on each device

Users and IT alike are familiar with Apple’s rich library of content via the App Store but managing and deploying these apps might be new. We recommend deploying all apps (both purchased and free) via Apps and Books with Apple School Manager (for education customers) or Apple Business Manager (for enterprise customers). With this process, app licenses are automatically readied by your MDM server and can easily be deployed directly to assigned devices — no Apple ID required.

Inventory: Reporting on the status of each device

You can’t manage what you can’t measure — the inventory data your MDM solution collects can be used for a wide range of organizational needs. Common data points collected relate to:

  • Hardware details
  • Software details
  • Management details
  • Many more!

Security: Protect devices and adhere to organizational standards

By pairing MDM with Apple’s native security features, organizations are given even greater control over the devices under management. You can apply restrictions, require Touch ID, hardware encryption, and supervision to enhance greater level of security on your devices.

User empowerment: Offer resources and apps on demand

Self-sufficiency is key when it comes to supporting your end users. One of the easiest ways to do this with your technology initiative is to create and offer a customizable app catalog. This catalog empowers users with instant access to IT-approved resources, apps, content and tier-one help through trusted apps — all with a simple click and without submitting a help ticket to IT. if you haven’t already, check out Jamf’s Self Service for iOS and the app catalog we offer.

How do you read the whole guide?

Read the iPhone and iPad Management for Beginners guide for much more insight, including management tips, best practices and real-world examples. Whether you’re brand new to managing iOS or have been managing Apple since the beginning, we think you’ll learn something new.

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