How to install apps on student iPads using MDM

How to install apps on student iPads using MDM

Mosyle Team
written by Mosyle Team

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 (MDM).

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 administrators of schools all over the world. In this article, we share some tips to help you succeed when installing apps on iPads. Read on!

1. If you use ASM's Apps and Books or VPP, check the content licenses

It’s important to check if the amount of content licenses purchased using the Apple's Apps and Books or 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.

This information is available within the Apple School Manager or the VPP account. Have you already migrated your legacy VPP token to the ASM's Apps and Books? If not, check out the steps to distribute content licenses using the new location-based tokens.

2. Select the best way to assign the content licenses

The content licenses purchased through ASM's Apps and Books or VPP can be assigned to the device or to the user account - rather the Managed Apple ID. The best way to assign the content licenses will depend on your school's scenario as well as the Apple deployment model. Next, check out some advice to help you with this decision.

The 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 are able to log into the device using their Managed Apple ID. The user based-attribution is also a good method for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) school programs.

In both cases, the educational institution can assign applications to the users' Managed Apple IDs. When using Managed Apple IDs, schools benefits of building an entire educational environment, protecting data and licenses ownership, and students get 200GB of iCloud storage for free. Remember that the app will appear in the 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 Mosyle Manager, our MDM for Education, it is important to check out all the Advanced Options since 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 infrastructures. Adding multiple categories to the instal app management profile is also a good strategy, since it will help you better manage the applications later.

You can also choose options in the case you need to edit the Install Apps profile, preparing the iPad devices for the new Academic Year for example. Quickly edit this management profile and choose to uninstall the apps when the user is removed and also revoke those content licenses, being able to reassign them later.

In addition, you can add the applications to the self-service within the Mosyle Manager app, creating an app library where the applications are available on demand for students and teacher.

5. Streamline workflow by allowing teachers to request apps

If you use Mosyle Manager as your school’s MDM solution, you are able to streamline the process of app requests. In the preferences area, allow the teachers to request the apps they need directly through Mosyle’s Class Manager.

By using this capability, you can approve the installation request right away from your dashboard, creating the management profile that will be sent to the devices and keeping track of the requests according to the teacher and the classes. Save time and efforts by making easier for educators to request the educational content!

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

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