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Upgrade your Apple devices over winter break

Upgrade your Apple devices over winter break

If you haven’t upgraded your school’s Mac and iPad devices to iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan, consider taking advantage of the wonderful winter break that is coming your way. While students and faculty are recharging for the next semester, you can help get the new productivity, security, and management capabilities safely on their devices. To help you make this process seamless—and not time-consuming so you can enjoy some winter break as well—we’ve put together a simplified workflow for your upgrades.

Prepare for your upgrades
By planning ahead, you can minimize disruptions and unplanned downtime. Here are a few things to help you get ready for your upgrades:

  • Set up a caching server to speed up the download of software distributed and save bandwidth.
  • Ensure you meet the hardware requirements for OS X and iOS. Run an inventory report to see which devices require action.
  • Research your commonly used apps prior to installation to establish that they are supported by the latest software update.
  • Test your IT systems to know that network connectivity is strong, Exchange ActiveSync v16 functions are in place, and that you are running Casper Suite 9.8 or higher to fully support the new operating systems.

Choose your iOS deployment method
You can either manually install the iOS 9 update by going to the Settings app on each device and choosing General > Software Update. Manual updates take about 15 minutes from start to finish for each device. Or you can leverage Apple Configurator to automate the update process. This allows you to connect 30 iPads at a time to a Mac running the free Apple Configurator app and update each device at once, while still retaining existing data.

Choose your OS X deployment method
Your deployment method for OS X depends on whether or not you’d like to keep existing data on your Macs.

If you want to keep data:
Download the Install OS X El Capitan app from the Mac App Store and upload the “InstallESD.dmg” file into Casper Admin. Then choose to either deploy via Self Service or install automatically for the user by creating a policy.

If you want to erase data:
This method allows you to use common imaging techniques. You can either re-image your Macs over-the-network using NetBoot or locally via Target Mode Imaging. NetBoot is very handy for labs or carts and allows you to image multiple Macs at once. Target Mode is great for laptops that are not hardwired to your network.

Follow-up after deployment
After upgrading, we recommend running another inventory report to ensure all the devices successfully upgraded. This way, when students and faculty return from break, you know their devices are fully updated and ready for them to use.

If you’d like to learn more about the new Apple operating systems and how the Casper Suite makes the upgrade process easier, please visit our managing Apple OS upgrades page.