Simplifying Device Retirement and Refresh

Organizations that build a strategic process around technology refreshes provide the best possible experience for their users — and take advantage of Apple devices’ high resale values.

March 10 2020 by

Sam Weiss

If your organization recently deployed a fleet of new Apple devices, building a process to decommission them might be the last thing on your mind. While it may be tempting to kick that can down the road, there are a multitude of benefits to planning ahead. Organizations that don’t build a strategic process around technology refreshes might not be providing the best possible experience for their users — nor taking advantage of Apple devices’ high resale values.

Our recent webinar outlined the three components of planning for an Apple device refresh.

  1. Determine how long you plan to keep the devices
  2. Create a plan to sell the hardware
  3. Develop a process to “un-manage” and release ownership

Before planning a refresh, however, it’s important to know why an organization might want to upgrade their Apple devices. While you don’t need new hardware every single year, enhancements and upgrades make users more productive, more creative and — in some cases — provide an IT admin with more management capabilities.

From a reliability and performance perspective, newer Apple devices have hardware that benefit the mobile workforce in huge ways. From a productivity standpoint, modern Apple devices support AirDrop, Face ID and exciting new features like Augmented Reality. For education organizations, newer iPad devices support Apple Classroom and Shared iPad: all critical for educational organizations. And from a security and management perspective, it’s important to have the latest operating system on all of your devices. Not only does Apple include important security fixes in each release, they also support additional MDM capabilities: allowing an admin even more fine-grain control over their fleet.

There is another financial reason an organization might decide to refresh their devices: residual value. While Apple devices are not like fine wines in that they don’t increase in value over time, used Apple equipment has a strong secondary market. Organizations that are strategic with their device refresh generally try to take advantage of peak value: the period of time when the secondary market will pay more than the remaining amortized value for a piece of equipment.

Diamond Assets is a national exclusively-Apple Asset buyback company. The CTO Jeremy Egger joined the webinar to expand on device refresh best practices and process considerations.

Mark Buffington, a technical relationship manager at Jamf, also joined the webinar to detail the four-step process that all devices need to go through to prepare for new ownership. While every organization will have to account for individual nuance, the general process is:

  1. Determine which devices to retire and organize them in Jamf Pro
  2. Unassign or release them from Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager
  3. Erase and reinstall macOS or reset iOS
  4. Remove the device from Jamf Pro, or mark as unmanaged

The webinar spends time on all of these steps and details the questions Jamf Pro administrators need to consider while designing a device off-boarding process.

As with all plans, start with a vision for an optimal user experience and work backwards. Jamf Pro has built-in functionality to assist with this, and the webinar highlights publicly-available tools and scripts that assist with operating system reinstallation (links below).

To further assist Jamf Pro administrators with device lifecycle management, Diamond Assets explained and demonstrated Clarity: their free Jamf Pro integration. Clarity enhances Jamf Pro device inventory with valuable information about the age and value of an Apple fleet. Using features such as Smart Groups, extension attributes and inventory preload, Clarity displays information related to device refresh directly in Jamf Pro. More information about Clarity

Device refresh is an important part of building a sustainable Apple ecosystem. A properly-timed refresh can take advantage of an Apple device’s resale value and the ability to forecast that value can increase buying power.

Jamf Pro offers tools that enable true lifecycle management. With planning and preparation, you too can build a thoughtful process around device refresh.


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