Apple Business Essentials: Everything you need to know

Rick Cooper

Jan 13, 2022

6 min read

After the acquisition of Fleetsmith in 2020, Apple has done their homework and are ready to enter the device management sector with their Apple Business essentials. Google launched its basic management suite called Android Enterprise Essentials a year ago. It is a secure mobile management service developed by the Android team to protect your corporate devices and data. Apple finally has its answer to AEE but before we Hurrah! Over this fact, let us take a deep dive into Apple Business Essentials.

What is Apple Business Essentials (ABE)?

Apple Business Essentials is a new service introduced by Apple, seemingly for small organizations with up to 500 employees. It combines device management, 24/7 Apple Support, and iCloud storage into flexible subscription levels. Apple also revealed a new Apple Business Essentials app, for employees to download work-related apps and get support.
With ABE, Apple aims to capture the growing popularity of its devices in the corporate sector, where there is a need to manage their devices remotely.

ABE allows admins to configure, deploy, and manage Apple devices from afar. It features iCloud storage and employs managed Apple IDs for authentication and permission.

Where can I get Apple Business Essentials?

Apple Business Essentials is now in beta for small businesses in the U.S with less than 500 employees. You can subscribe to the beta for free and the service will be fully available in spring 2022.

Starting in spring 2022, AppleCare+ will be available as an add-on to an Apple Business Essentials plan. It provides 24/7 phone access to Apple Support, training for both IT managers and employees, and up to two device repairs per plan per year. Additionally, employees will be able to request repairs straight from the Apple Business Essentials app, and an Apple-trained technician will be on-site in four hours or less.

Is Apple Business Essentials, essential?

Yes and a No. It is a fact that a management suite is necessary in the case of an organization using multiple devices. When it comes to ABE, it is a tool that is specifically aimed at small and medium businesses.

This comes in at the right time, with all the workplaces going remote. There is a need for remote device management. ABE is a solution that can automate trivial tasks and ease up the set-up process on Apple devices.

On the other hand, there are a lot of established MDM players in the market that have been into device management for years. Over the years, a lot of these companies have built features that unlock advanced management capabilities. So, looking at ABE and its pricing, it is going to be a hard sell for Apple to move people from these established MDM providers.


The program requirements are as follows:

  • iOS 15
  • macOS Monterey 12.1 or later
  • tvOS 15
  • Safari or ChromeAll company devices must be in Apple Business Manager (ABM), or you must use Configurator to get them there
  • Individual BYODs can be User Enrolled for iOS

Features and bundle programs by Apple for ABE

To enroll your devices into ABE, all you need to do is sign into your managed Apple id and you are good to go.

Apple offers various plans for different devices and users. Once you create a plan, you can create smart groups and assign them to the plans. So, when an employee joins your company, they will be automatically added to the designated plan.

Collections are the next feature that Apple boasts about; it is where you bundle the sets of apps and permissions, then assign them to a user or user group.

Apple offers dedicated iCloud for work, with ABE. There is also an option to bundle Applecare+ with the subscription you pick.

Managed Apple ID: What businesses need to know


There are Three plans that Apple currently offers:

  • The Single device plan is the first and most affordable option. This package comes with 50 GB of storage and is $2.99 per month for each device that uses the program. It’s a single device plan, which means you can only use it with one device per user.
  • Second, comes the Multidevice plan. This plan provides 200 GB of storage and costs $6.99 per user each month. You can manage up to three devices per user with this package.
  • Finally, you have an option for a multi-device plan with more storage. Here, you are allowed access to three devices per user, but includes storage of 2TB.


We have discussed some of the features that ABE offers, not to sound crude, but these features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to device management. UEM’s offer granular control over various device management capabilities. UEM’s like Hexnode offer all the plans, user grouping, security, collections, and much more.

Right now, ABE offers support only to SMB’s. Imagine a case where a small business enrolls with ABE and outgrows the 500-user mark that Apple has capped. It is going to be a huge hassle to shift to another MDM. Rather choosing an MDM that supports the whole spectrum from a small enterprise to a huge company would be a wise choice.

What if an Enterprise has devices from ecosystems other than Apple, ABE lacks support for multi-platform support, and knowing Apple, it is certain that it is highly unlikely that they introduce it later on. Choosing a device management suite that supports all the mainstream OS like Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS would be the way to go. Lastly, Applecare can also be acquired on a separate subscription, without ABE.

Now this does not mean that we write off ABE, it is still a very powerful tool and Apple is known to create a seamless experience across its devices and we can hope the same with its entry into the management suite but it is too early to conclude anything and for now the established players aren’t going anywhere.

Hexnode UEM

Businesses use Hexnode UEM, an award-winning Unified Endpoint Management system, to manage endpoints from a single console. It provides a comprehensive mobility management program that works with Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, Fire OS, and Apple TVs.

Rick Cooper

Product Evangelist @ Hexnode. Millennial by age. Boomer by heart.

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