Apple is continuously improving and optimizing their well-known operating systems, their popular hardware and also their workflows in order to manage the devices at schools. Keeping the goal of providing the best user experience in mind, Apple created the Deployment Programs for technology administrators, and they are upgrading these services even more by gathering the programs into a single platform: Apple School Manager (for Educational Institutions) and Apple Business Manager (for Enterprise).
In this article, we sort out the most relevant information about each of these programs, so you can understand the basics about Apple School Manager - and how this change represents an improvement when compared to what is formerly known as Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP). The Apple Deployment Programs will no longer be available starting December 1, 2019, so it's time to go Apple School Manager at your school or district.
This is a great resource to read before you begin your deployment! Or even if you want to understand what Apple School Manager can do for your educational institution.
Most Mac Admins and technology administrators are familiar with the terms DEP and VPP when it comes to Apple device deployment in schools. If you don't know these terms, we will explain to you shortly what it is Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP).
The Device Enrollment Program (DEP) was part of Apple's Deployment Programs, helping companies and educational institutions deploy iOS and tvOS devices, as well as Mac computers more quickly. Admins can automate the supervision process, take advantage of the zero-touch deployment and enrollment of Apple devices into the MDM solution.
In the past, DEP had its own portal and device deployment was detached from the management of other important items for schools such as educational content and students accounts/credentials. The same DEP capabilities can be accessed through the Apple School Manager portal.
Apple School Manager helps administrators to simplify initial device setup by automating supervision and enrollment, the same way Device Enrollment Program (DEP. Apple devices can be pre-configured to require mandatory, automatic enrollment in the MDM solution. You can also configure them to prevent users from removing the management profile. This ensures the devices will be configured correctly and all users will receive these settings on their devices.
Devices in Apple School Manager can be automatically and wirelessly supervised. The supervision enables a high level of remote management and allows effective commands and tools for teachers such as the Apple Classroom App and Schoolwork integrated with MDM capabilities. Apple School Manager is also ideal for large-scale deployments for School Districts because of its zero-touch configuration.
To take advantage of all these Device Enrollment capabilities, the devices should be enrolled in the Apple School Manager portal. In the past, the school could only enroll in the Device Enrollment Program (DEP) if the devices have been bought directly from Apple, from a participating Apple Authorized Reseller or from a cellular carrier.
But with iOS 11, admins are able to enroll the iPhone and iPad devices, as well as Apple TVs, into Apple School Manager and take advantage of Device Enrollment capabilities. Any device purchased from all kinds of channels can be enrolled using the Apple Configurator 2 software. This decision positively impacts many educational institutions that have donated devices.
The Volume Purchase Program (VPP) was also part of Apple's Deployment Program, and its main focus was to make it faster to buy and distribute applications and Books for students, teachers and staff. When this is integrated with MDM solutions, IT administrators can remotely manage content, installing apps and books to devices and users.
Just as the Device Enrollment Program (DEP), the VPP had its own portal in which the IT Admin needed to log in in order to purchase the content licenses - which proved to be time consuming because the admin has to log into different portals to manage the same deployment.
But what was formerly known as VPP is available in Apple School Manager, allowing the Admin to log into the same portal to also manage the content licenses. It can be easily found under the "Apps and Books" label on the left. You can learn more about how to migrate that in our article.
The Apps and Books area (formerly VPP) is a scalable Apple School Manager pool of capabilities for managing your institution's content needs, allowing the admin to select and receive a large amount of free or paid applications, both to iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and Apple TV devices. Books are also available for purchase from the Books Store.
Other Apps and Books (formerly VPP) feature is managed distribution, which enables the distribution of applications and Books to devices or users. You can use an MDM solution like Mosyle Manager or Apple Configurator 2 to distribute the licenses.
By using this feature, applications that are no longer needed by certain groups can be revoked and redirected to other users or devices in your school. This way, you can keep the number of licenses you have purchased. You are also able to distribute apps to devices without the need for an Apple ID. Books can also be distributed but remain as the recipient's property. They cannot be deleted or revoked to be distributed to another user or device.
So now it's time for Apple School Manager, since it gathers not only all the capabilities previously offered by DEP and VPP programs, but also enhances the identity management, as we will see further on this article.
Basically, Apple School Manager is a web-based portal that will help you deploy your Apple devices in your school. From this single portal, you are able to provide students, teachers and staff with access to Apple services by creating Managed Apple IDs, set up devices to the MDM server, purchase and organize licenses for apps and books, and empower teachers with tools like Apple's Classroom and Schoolwork apps to engage their students even more.
Recently, Apple made available the federated authentication in Apple School Manager by the integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory. The Admin can connect ASM to the Microsoft Azure Active Directory and get all students and staff members automatically set up with Apple services. With this, they can use their existing Microsoft account credentials to log into the devices, to the iCloud and too Schoolwork. We explain how this process works in this article about Managed Apple IDs.
Also, if you have a mobile device management solution that provides built-in identity management, you can further automate this process so the users can be authenticated by the MDM agent and enjoy the school's self-service of apps and books.
The Apple School Manager also helps administrators set up Apple Shared iPads, which means that more than one student can log into the same iPad device using Managed Apple IDs while making sure their files and schoolwork are safe in the iCloud - remembering that students have 200GB iCloud storage for free!
The Apple School Manager works side-by-side with the mobile device management solution, automating the enrollment and initial configuration of the devices in your school. That's why it's important to choose the right MDM solution that really meets your needs.
Since Apple School Manager can provide you a unique experience with all the Apple programs you need for your deployment in one single portal, why shouldn't your mobile device management solution have this too?
Your school can achieve an even more successful Apple deployment by using a robust Apple-only device management solution that provides all the Pro features a Mac Admin expert needs to deploy and manage the devices while also providing capabilities designed exclusively for Education.
Learn more about the plan that better fits your school or district’s budget
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