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Apple School Manager

Apple School Manager (ASM) is an education-based web portal specifically designed for IT administrators, staff and instructors to help them with device deployments in educational institutions. Progressing throughout the years, Apple has been successful in implementing their educational technology – ASM in institutions. Apple School Manager provides various features to onboard devices in classrooms, combining the capabilities of the Apple Device Enrollment Program and Apple Volume Purchase Program. With ASM, device management is simple in learning environments as it streamlines device enrollment, distribution of apps and books, the configuration of device settings, etc.

About Hexnode:

Hexnode – one among the top-notch UEM solutions offers a wide range of possibilities for enterprises to manage the devices securely. Hexnode formulates a comprehensive yet straightforward device management model within organizations to ensure corporate data security. Businesses rely on Hexnode to deploy endpoints ranging from smartphones, tablets, laptops, rugged devices, kiosks, and digital signages. It puts forward a diverse set of functionalities, making device administration effortless. Hexnode brings forth a wide range of possibilities to administer devices over different industrial sectors.

Key Benefits:

Apple School Manager offers numerous capabilities for preparing the devices to be used in classrooms. It includes:

Standardized user management

Educators, students and administrators who are part of the eLearning experience can be managed easily with the help of ASM. The ASM administrator assigns users one or more roles like Managers, Instructors, Students, etc. The roles define what the user can do, and the associated privileges vary accordingly. ASM integrates well with other directory services like SFTP, Student Information Systems (SIS), and Azure Active Directory to synchronize student information stored on them. It also simplifies the creation of user accounts belonging to the institution.

Managed Apple IDs are accounts designed particularly for organizations to provide employees access to essential Apple services. Educational institutions make use of Managed Apple IDs to deliver necessary services to students and teachers. These accounts are school-created and school-owned accounts developed to address the security needs within schools. Managed Apple IDs design user accounts with role-based administration and limitations on app purchases, etc. Since Managed Apple IDs are wholly meant for use within an education setting, they permit access to features built typically for schools. Thus, it intends the users to focus on education and learning in your classrooms.

Configure devices remotely

Apple School Manager implements a comprehensive device deployment technology in learning environments. This simplifies classroom management and extends capabilities for delivering an individualized learning experience to students. Supervision allows institutions to exert more control over the school-owned devices and determine what features the user access from the device.

When integrated with a UEM solution like Hexnode, ASM permits organizations to start up supervision on the devices wirelessly during the enrollment process. It helps administrators specify configurations and enforce restrictions for customizing the device for education. Preparing the device with supervision embeds all the services needed by the students and instructors while ensuring that the device complies with data security and privacy requirements.

Manage distribution of apps and books in bulk

Apple School Manager promises a wide range of benefits to modern learners that help them stay focused on learning. The apps and books deployed on the student devices enhance their learning experience. With Apple VPP, app licenses can be purchased in bulk. The administrator can assign, revoke or re-assign apps to users and devices while retaining the ownership of the licenses to the institutions. When used with a UEM solution, VPP simplifies the distribution of app licenses to students and educators.

Shared iPads

Deploying iPads for shared use is prevalent in schools. While configuring the device with the necessary apps and configurations, it is equally essential to deliver an individualized learning experience to each student. Apple School Manager enables multiple students to use the same device by signing in to their accounts on these shared devices using Managed Apple IDs.

Introduction to Hexnode – ASM integration

Over the years, Hexnode UEM has empowered corporates and educational institutions worldwide by providing a unified console for device management. It covers all the security bases to protect confidential data while deploying the devices. With Apple School Manager, Hexnode extends its management capabilities by enabling the out-of-box enrollment and automated deployment of apps and books in the educational premises.

Apple School Manager delivers a straightforward approach to deploying Apple devices. Organizations enrolled in ASM can configure Apple devices for both one-to-one and shared deployments within schools. The device purchased directly from Apple or Apple Authorized Resellers can easily be added to the ASM portal. As the devices are enrolled in ASM, you are ready to prepare the devices for use in classrooms with the help of a Unified Endpoint Management solution.

Supported platforms

DEP enrollment is supported on macOS devices running OS X 10.9 or later, iOS devices using iOS 7 or later and Apple TV running tvOS 10.2 or later.

Key Features

Integrating with Apple School Manager, Hexnode UEM provides numerous benefits apart from streamlined device enrollments and content distribution.

Zero-touch enrollment

Apple School Manager simplifies out-of-box enrollment of devices in schools. The administrators are able to configure device settings to be associated with endpoints even before the devices are enrolled. It brings the device under management automatically and makes it ready to use as the user turns it on for the first time.

Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) is a legacy deployment program that enables administrators to configure and deploy the devices quickly. It supports businesses and educational organizations to pre-configure the devices prior to their distribution among users. DEP works in collaboration with a UEM solution to streamline over-the-air enrollment of devices.

Integrating Apple School Manager with Hexnode

Once your educational institution is registered with the Apple School Manager program, you can begin enrolling the devices. For provisioning the devices using Hexnode, you are required to integrate the DEP account with the UEM portal.

  1. Navigate to Enroll > Platform – Specific > iOS/macOS/tvOS > Apple Business/School Manager.
  2. Click Next.
  3. Enter the name for the DEP account and download the certificate file.
  4. Sign in to your
    Apple School Manager portal
    . The account should have either of the roles Administrator, Site Manager, or Device Enrolment Manager.
  5. Add an MDM server in the Apple School Manager portal by heading on to Settings > Device Management Settings > Add MDM Server.
  6. Provide a name for the MDM server.
  7. Upload the certificate file you have downloaded from the Hexnode UEM portal.
  8. Click Save.
  9. Click Download Token to download a new server token.
  10. Go back to the MDM DEP settings page and upload the token.
  11. Create and associate a Configuration Profile with the devices. The profile consists of the device configurations to be associated with the devices once they are turned on.
  12. Specify the authentication settings specific to the user from the UEM console.
  13. Finally, assign the devices to the given MDM server from the Apple School Manager console.
  14. Log in to the Apple School Manager account.
  15. Select the necessary devices under Devices. Choose the MDM server to assign the devices by clicking on the Choose device management option.
  16. On your Hexnode UEM portal, the assigned devices will be listed under Enroll > All Enrollments > No-Touch > Apple Business/School Manager > DEP Devices. If the devices do not appear here, click Sync with DEP to sync with Apple School Manager.

Apple devices purchased either directly from Apple or a participating Apple Authorized Reseller on or after March 1, 2011, can be enrolled into Apple DEP. The configurations and device settings assigned to the device are deployed as soon as the device starts up. When the user turns on the device, the Apple server pushes the DEP configuration profile associated with the device. It initiates device enrollment. For devices already in use, these configurations will be applied after the factory reset.

Distribute apps and books

Apple Volume Purchase Program is a web console that simplifies app management within an organization. When integrated with a UEM console, Apple VPP permits administrators to buy apps in bulk, distribute custom B2B apps privately, streamline orders with VPP credit, manage content distribution using redemption codes and much more.

Add Apple VPP account to Hexnode

Once Apple School Manager is integrated with Hexnode, educational institutions must add their VPP account to the UEM console for streamlining app deployments.

  1. Log in to the Apple School Manager portal.
  2. Download the server token from the Settings tab.
  3. Add the downloaded server token to the Hexnode UEM console under Admin > Apple Business/School Manager > Apple VPP > +Add VPP Token.

After you have added the VPP account to the UEM console, you may purchase the necessary apps from the Apple School Manager portal. The purchased apps are synchronized with the UEM portal, from where you can distribute the apps to the devices.

You may also initiate a sync from the Hexnode UEM portal manually by navigating to Admin > Apple Business/School Manager > Apple VPP. Clicking on the Sync button corresponding to the VPP account integrated synchronizes all the app purchases with Hexnode. To view all the apps purchased from VPP, head on to the Apps tab. You can filter the apps by selecting the License type as VPP and all the VPP apps will be listed.

Purchase and distributing apps using Apple VPP

  1. Log in to the
    Apple School Manager
    portal.
  2. The account should have either of the roles ‘Administrator’ or ‘Content Manager’ to purchase Apps and Books licenses.
  3. Navigate to the Apps and Books sub-tab under the heading Content.
  4. Search for the required apps/books.
  5. Go to Buy Licenses > Choose a Location. Different locations of the organization will be listed. Choose the Location to which the Apps and Books license is to be assigned.
  6. Specify the required number of licenses. Click Get.
  7. Next, log in to the Hexnode portal.
  8. After initiating a sync, the purchased app will be listed in the Apps tab of the Hexnode UEM portal.
  9. Go to Manage > Devices and select the device(s) you want to install the VPP apps to.
  10. Click on Actions > Install Application.
  11. Select the VPP apps you purchased and click Done.

The apps are pushed to the devices silently on supervised iOS and tvOS devices. The user is required to initiate installation, if otherwise. On macOS devices, the apps are installed automatically.

Restrict users from removing the MDM profile

Institutions deploy MDM profiles on school-owned devices to superintend them and regulate the actions that the user can perform. The MDM profile installed on the device enables device management. While configuring the devices in classrooms, the institutions need to ascertain that the students do not remove the profile. With the assistance of the Hexnode UEM solution, the IT administrators check on MDM profile removal that the organization does not intend. The DEP Configuration profile associated with the device during DEP enrollment helps configure the MDM profile non-removable on the devices.

Schedule Software Updates

Apple releases newer OS updates quite often. For every update, it’s essential to check its feasibility with the school workflow before deploying it on the devices. This demands the validation of software updates in testing environments.

Hexnode’s UEM solution permits you to schedule software updates and delay installation on the devices. Thus, software update management becomes seamless. The updates to the operating system are pushed to the devices only when the organization intends.

Skip setup steps

The integration with Hexnode streamlines zero-touch enrollment and enables institutions to customize the device setup experience for students and staff. The device administrators have absolute privilege over the endpoints, and they decide on the necessary steps to be included in the setup assistant or remove the rest. This enables users to get the devices up and running with their tasks in minimum downtime.

Configure Home Screen Layout

Shared iPads provide multi-user support to the devices owned by the institution. It would be helpful to have all the essential apps and widgets arranged systematically on the home page. When the students or teachers use it, they will find them convenient to handle. Configuring the home screen layout organizes the device with necessary apps displayed well organized in the home screen or the dock. Hence, the institutions ascertain that the students prioritize learning over personal preferences.

Remote Device monitoring

The pre-configurations laid out to the devices from the UEM console are activated as the devices are turned on. Hexnode – ASM integration empowers educational institutions to administer Apple endpoints securely. While setting up the devices for use in schools, Hexnode allows remote monitoring with remote view functionality. Remote viewing permits the administrators to view the device screen from the portal. You can have a live preview of the device’s interface as if they are streamed remotely. It aids in the quick diagnosis and resolution of issues reported by the users without reaching out to the device.

Secure or find a lost device

While distributing devices to the students, the chances of misplacements cannot be overlooked. Hexnode UEM provides numerous features to regain a lost device, including remote device lock, remote ring, and lost mode. Thus, the device administrators are extended every possible measure to retrieve the lost device. The remote device management functionalities, including Policies and Actions, make it possible to keep track of the devices and retrieve the device’s recent location. At once, they improve the chances of recovery while preventing intrusions.

Supported Pricing Plans

DEP enrollment and VPP integration are supported on Pro, Enterprise, Ultimate and Ultra subscription plans.

Conclusion

While provisioning the devices for educational purposes, the organizations prefer every aspect of the user’s device experience to be simple, beneficial and intuitive. Consolidating with Apple School Manager, Hexnode streamlines device deployments in classrooms. It lets you configure the device over the air securely. By providing built-in support for different Apple devices – iPhones, iPads, macOS and Apple TV, Hexnode enables cross-platform endpoint management from a single specialized suite. Institutions make use of the Out of Box Enrollment experience to enroll the devices right out of the box. Hexnode offers numerous functionalities explicitly designed for learning environments, including remote actions, configuration policies, reporting and administration settings. As the devices are set up in classrooms with the necessary services, it empowers the students and instructors with the right services for learning and teaching.