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What is Apps and Books and how it can help you distribute content in your school

Learn how to migrate licenses from VPP and set up Apps and Books in Apple School Manager


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Applications and digital books become essential materials when we talk about educational technology, and the App Store and iBooks Store feature thousands of apps and books that definitely have the power to enhance learning experiences.

For IT coordinators, educational technology professionals and Mac admins, delivering content to the devices of students and teachers is one of the most important steps during the Apple deployment. Now it is easier to perform this procedure by using the Apps and Books feature within the Apple School Manager portal.

If you already have some kind of experience in deploying Apple devices, you may ask yourself “and what about VPP?”. The Volume Purchase Program (VPP) has been used by schools to purchase and distribute content to the devices and users. In the past year, Apple integrated it with Apple School Manager under the "Apps and Books" label, making all the features IT administrators need to manage content in the educational environments available in one single portal.

So how does Apps and Books and Apple School Manager work together? What if the school already has licenses purchased in VPP? How to update data to the MDM software solution? The answers to these questions are all right here! Read on to discover!

What is Apps and Books?

Before we start explaining what is Apps and Books, keep in mind this feature is within the Apple School Manager portal, which means you’ll need an ASM account to access it.

With Apps and Books in ASM, you are able to search content and purchase licenses with education volume discounts. Many applications in the Volume Store offer special pricing for purchases of 20 or more licenses to educational institutions, which will definitely save some of your district budget.

When integrating ASM with a mobile device management (MDM) solution, you are able to organize both app and book licenses and remotely assign them to the devices or users.

Administrators have the ability to revoke and assign app licenses to different devices and users with Managed Distribution, this way the school or district retains ownership of the purchases. iBooks can also be purchased in volume using the Apps and Books area, so you can then assign them to users using your MDM software solution.

Important note: Application licenses can be assigned through both user-based and device-based assignment. iBooks can only be assigned through user-based assignment.

Check out the latest features available in the Apps and Books area:

Simplified purchasing

Now you are able to search for and purchase content directly in the Apps and Books section of Apple School Manager (ASM). With this, you can keep track of all licenses purchased or transferred to your locations in one single platform. In Settings, you can manage Volume Purchase Program (VPP) credit and update billing information.

Transfer licenses

Now school administrators are able to transfer unassigned licenses to other locations. After completing the transfer, the licenses will be available in the new location and associated with the new location’s token. Any user with access to make content purchases for the location in ASM (Admin, Manager, Content Manager roles) can manage any unassigned licenses.

Important note: Before transferring licenses, make sure they are not assigned to devices. To streamline this process, you can revoke licenses using your mobile device management (MDM) solution.

Apps and Books

Share licenses

Now it’s possible to share licenses between purchasers who have access to the same location.

How do I get access to Apps and Books?

You can access Apps and Books by logging in to your Apple School Manager account. If your school/district has an Apple School Manager account, the Administrator will need to modify your user settings so that you have access to Apps & Books. If your school/district has not enrolled in Apple School Manager, navigate to school.apple.com and request it.

There are a few steps to get your school setup with an Apple School Manager account. First, you’ll need to provide information about your school/district in a form, then just submit it. After a few days, if approved, you’ll get an email where you can create an Apple ID to get started on Apple School Manager. You can find more info about ASM in this article.

What if our school already has a VPP account?

What to do if your school already has a Volume Purchase Program (VPP) account? You will want to migrate your VPP account to Apps & Books so that all VPP info will be available and displayed in Apple School Manager. Don't worry - it is a simple process.

Before you migrate, be sure to contact your MDM Vendor to make sure they support Apps and Books. Mosyle Manager MDM fully supports Apps & Books, and if you have any questions during the process, feel free to contact our Customer Success Team who can help you along the way.

Migrating VPP licenses to Apps and Books in ASM

To help with the migration process, we’ve organized some important information provided by Apple Support and added some tips and best practices shared by our Customer Success Team!

Invite purchasers to Apple School Manager

If your school or district has purchasers with existing VPP accounts that aren’t in Apple School Manager yet, invite them to join before you start the migrating process. To do this, login to your ASM account, click Settings > Enrollment Information > Invite VPP Program Facilitator.

Migrate purchasers to locations

It is recommended to migrate only one VPP purchaser per unique location. You can do this in two different ways. The first way is restricting the account access in ASM to the appropriate location for each purchaser. The second is to direct each user to the specific location that they should choose.

Important: If each purchaser migrates to a unique location, all licenses (both assigned and unassigned) will move to Apps and Books. In the event all licenses are purchased or transferred to a location before the VPP purchaser migrates to the unique location, only the unassigned licenses will move to that location.

What happens if multiple purchasers migrate to the same location? The assigned licenses might not migrate properly and the licenses will remain associated with the purchaser’s legacy VPP token which should remain uploaded to the MDM.

In this case, you should revoke the app licenses in the MDM platform so they can be transferred to a location of choice in the Apps and Books section of the ASM’s Settings. Important note: the assigned book licenses will always remain assigned to the user and cannot be revoked.

All licenses that move from VPP to Apps and Books will be associated to the new location token. If any assigned licenses don’t move during the migration process, no worries - they will remain associated with the purchaser’s legacy VPP token. Double check if all purchases have been migrated properly and then repeat the procedure.

What are the location-based tokens in Apps and Books?

Apps and Books uses location-based tokens, which means all licenses purchased or transferred to a location are associated with that location’s token. This is a different approach from the Volume Purchase Program, as VPP uses legacy tokens that are all account-based tokens.

Content managers and purchasers in ASM can access tokens for all of their locations in the Apps and Books area in the ASM Settings, and only one admin user needs to upload the location token to the MDM software solution, making the process easier.

Step-by-step for migrating the licenses from VPP to Apps and Books in ASM:

How to manage content licenses using Apps and Books and the MDM

When integrating the Apple School Manager with a mobile device management (MDM) solution, you are able manage the Apps and Books licenses, by revoking and assigning them to devices or users of your school and/or district remotely.

The IT admins have the ability to revoke and assign apps to different devices and users using Managed Distribution. This content distribution method made possible by integrating Apps & Books in ASM and the MDM is a great way to ensure the school's ownership of purchases.

This is particularly important when we think about getting devices ready for a new academic year. IT admins can revoke app licenses, maintaining the school's ownership, so they are able to reassign them to different students and/or devices for the upcoming school year.

iBooks can also be purchased in volume using Apps and Books allowing you to then assign them to users using your MDM software solution. Keep in mind iBooks will always be distributed through user-based assignment.

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