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Deploying VPP apps on Apple TV

Apple Volume Purchase Program is an app deployment platform for organizations and educational institutions to buy and distribute apps and books in bulk. It lets you purchase one or more licenses for an app that can be further associated with the devices using Apple Business Manager. With Apple VPP, you can get store apps – free and paid, enterprise apps, custom B2B apps, or books for deployment. While retaining the ownership, business entities can assign the purchased app licenses directly to the devices or individual users. The managed distribution functionality of VPP makes it easier to keep track of the app licenses assigned. Also, you are free to revoke or reassign apps when they are no longer necessary for a device/user. VPP is the best way for the secure distribution of apps when an organization deploys Apple devices in scale. In addition, by integrating with a UEM solution like Hexnode, Apple VPP simplifies app distribution.

Managing Apple TVs in Hexnode

Apple Business Manager combines Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP) to aid device provisioning in business environments and purchase content in bulk. ABM streamlines Apple TV enrollment in a Unified Endpoint Management solution and helps prepare them for enterprise deployment. Together with ABM, Hexnode offers numerous device management capabilities to configure Apple TVs. Thus, VPP, paired with Hexnode’s app management capabilities, streamlines app deployment on Apple TV.

Enrolling Organization in Apple Business Manager

You can begin with Apple TV device management by
enrolling your organization in Apple Business Manager
. Once you enroll your organization in Apple Business Manager, you can
add the devices to the Hexnode console using Apple DEP
. Before you start enrolling, you have to make few considerations:

  • Apple TVs obtained from Apple directly or purchased from an authorized dealer after 1 March 2011 running tvOS 10.2+ can only be enrolled via the UEM solution.
  • If the device was directly purchased from Apple, a verified “Apple customer number” should be used for the purchase.
  • The device purchased directly from an authorized reseller or carrier must be linked to that reseller’s DEP Reseller ID. Your organization should also add the reseller ID to the list of approved suppliers.
  • For DEP enrollment via Apple Configurator 2, any device running tvOS 11+ can be enrolled in DEP irrespective of where and when it was purchased.

If the devices are already enrolled in Apple DEP, you can integrate the VPP account with the Hexnode console.

Integrating VPP account

To deploy VPP apps to tvOS, configure the VPP settings from the Hexnode console.

Step 1: Download the VPP token from the Apple Business Manager page.

  1. Go to
    ABM website
    .
  2. Login with your account credentials.
  3. Go to Settings > Apps and Books.
  4. Download the server token and save it. It is of .vpptoken type.

Step 2: Configure the VPP account settings on the UEM console.

  1. Login to your Hexnode console.
  2. Select Apple VPP from the Admin > Apple Business/School Manager.
  3. For further set up you need to integrate the VPP token with the MDM. Click on +Add VPP Token.
  4. Enter the credentials and upload the VPP token file that you have downloaded earlier and click Save.

Purchase the apps

  1. Go to the
    ABM website
    .
  2. Sign in with an ABM account. The account should have either of the roles ‘Administrator’ or ‘Content Manager’ to purchase Apps and Books licenses.
  3. Click on the Apps and Books sub-tab under the section Content.
  4. Search the apps or books which you want to buy. Click on the Filter button next to the search bar to avail additional filters for the search results.
  5. Go to Buy Licenses > Assign to. 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 under the heading Quantity. Click Get.
  7. Buy VPP app licenses from Apple Business Manager

  8. Log in to the Hexnode console.
  9. Navigate to Admin > Apple Business Manager > Apple VPP.
  10. Select the VPP account and click Sync to initiate a sync with the VPP account.
  11. Initiates sync on the VPP account added to the Hexnode portal

Once the sync action initiated on the VPP account is successful, you can review all the purchased VPP apps from the Hexnode portal. The Apps tab enables you to filter the apps based on License Type, App Type, Platform etc. You can list the VPP apps separately by choosing the License type as VPP and selecting the App Platform as Apple TV.

App Installation

The purchased VPP apps can be distributed to a device using the Install Application action. When you initiate app installation, it proceeds without any user intervention and assigns the app license to the device.

  1. Navigate to the Manage tab.
  2. Choose the device.
  3. Go to Actions > Install Application.
  4. Choose the application.
  5. Click Done.

You can also execute the Install Application action on any users. In that case, the app gets distributed to every supported device belonging to the user. Hence, the total number of app licenses associated with a user will be equivalent to the number of devices owned by the user.

Notes:

During installation, Apple deploys the updated or device-supported version of the VPP app to the device.

Managed Distribution

The managed distribution of VPP apps makes it feasible to manage VPP apps with changes in app deployment scenarios. Furthermore, once you purchase a VPP app, an exact figure differentiating the available number of licenses to the total number of licenses purchased is recorded. These VPP app license details can be acquired from the Hexnode portal by clicking on the License Type of the corresponding VPP app from the Apps tab. It helps you keep track of the app licenses being used.
VPP licenses

You may also revoke or reassign an app license associated with a user or device. Revoking an app license helps you to associate with another user or reclaim it when it is no longer required by the user. The Revoke License button displayed with the VPP app license details helps you retire an app license.

To revoke the license, select the corresponding app and click on the Revoke License button.
use the revoke license button to reclaim app licenses.

Renew VPP token

The app licenses purchased from the VPP account are synchronized with the UEM portal as long as the token is active. A token is valid for 365 days, and you can determine both the expiry date and countdown days for the VPP token on the Hexnode portal (displayed against the corresponding VPP account). Therefore, the token must be
renewed
before its expiry. Otherwise, you will not be able to purchase apps through VPP.