Distributing content such as applications and iBooks are an important part of any project that integrates educational technology into the classroom. It can be challenging to install dozens of applications to hundreds of iPads, but many IT Team efforts can be simplified using a mobile device management solution.

The MDM solution helps you distribute and install the applications on the iPads over-the-air (OTA) - which makes things really easy. We have learned a lot of best practices about how to install applications to students iPads by working side by side with IT professionals of schools all over the world. In this article, we share some tips to help you succeed when installing apps on iPads:

1. If you use VPP, check the licenses

It’s important to check if the amount of licenses purchased using the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) is sufficient for the number of students (recipients) who must have the application installed on their iOS devices. If the license number is insufficient, the app install commands will fail.

2. Select the best way to assign VPP licenses

The VPP licenses can be assigned by the device or by the user (Apple ID). The best way to assignment will depend on your school's scenario as well as the deployment model. Next, check out some advice to help you with this decision.

The VPP device-based install of apps was released with iOS 9, which made it possible to remotely install applications to the device serial number - and not to need an Apple ID connected to the device. In Shared Environments, we recommend the use of device-based install for apps because more than one student will use the same iPad device.

In 1:1 devices deployments, the students can add their Apple ID to further customize their device, it is possible to assign the licenses to the user in this case. The user based-attribution is also available for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) projects.

In both cases, the educational institution can assign applications to the users' Apple IDs. Remember that the app will appear in user's purchase history to download on any iOS device owned by that user.

Regardless the deployment model or assignment type, the applications distributed through the MDM solution can always be revoked and reassigned as needed. Important note: in order to remotely install apps without any user interaction, please be sure your devices are updated to iOS 9 or later.

3. Create smaller Install App profiles

When configuring Install App profiles within your MDM solution, we recommend setting up smaller profiles. If you need to install 20 applications on a student’s iPad, create 4 profiles with 5 apps each--for example. One Install App Profile with 20 apps sized at 50Mb each, to be installed on 30 different devices would create 30GB of data to download at the same time (!).

Sending the command to install apps in chunks can greatly reduce the amount of data to be downloaded at the same time. Smaller Install App profiles will not only optimize your network, but also reduces the volume of data being processed by the iPads - minimizing chances of failing commands.

4. Check out the Advanced Options and choose the best for your school

If you use the Mosyle Manager MDM, it is important to check out all the Advanced Options because many of them can help you better manage applications after the installation. These options are flexible and adaptable to meet your school needs.

For example, you can select if you want the applications be automatically updated - which is recommended only for very robust Networks. You can also choose options in the event you need to edit the Install Apps profile, like in the end of an Academic Year. In addition, you can add the applications to the Self-Service page.

Do you have any other best practice for installing applications for an educational environment? Share with us in the comments or tweet us!

Open your Mosyle Manager account