Category Archives: Apple

WWDC 2017 – What’s new in Apple MDM

Last week, Apple once again hosted WWDC in San Jose and made numerous exciting announcements for their products. Of course, my main interest lied in new MDM capabilities and improvements with Apple device management, specifically around Apple School Manager.

Thursday, June 8th, Apple unveiled those new capabilities. Some of the highlights are outlined below.

Enrollment

  •  Apple TV is now supported with Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP). If you use Apple TV’s in your district or university, management of these devices just got a lot easier. Supervision is no longer default, but still available.
  • All devices can now be added to DEP, even those purchased outside of supported channels (ie directly from Apple). Requires iOS 11. (FINALLY!!)
  • New panes will be able to be skipped which includes the keyboard chooser and Apple Watch migration screens on iOS devices
  • Lots of new security enhancements for MDM

Apple School Manager

ASM

  • No longer in preview since last month
  • New streamlined interface
  • Improved search, filtering and navigation
  • Activity view to track background actions
  • Create up to five Administrator accounts
  • Support for PowerSchool SIS

Distribution

VPP

  • Integrated, updated UI
  • Easier management of purchases
  • License transfer between locations
    • ASM shows number of available licenses
    • Available licenses can be transferred
    • Assigned licences cannot be transferred

Management

  • iOS
    • Require tether for MDM commands
      • This combined with caching server will help make iPad deployments in schools go faster.
    • Software updates on
      • Passcode locked devices (supervised)
      • Non-DEP devices (supervised)
    • Preserved data plan when erasing device – new
    • Lost and Found (supervised)
      • Lost mode sound
      • Location accuracy
      • System app removal – new
    • Data Protection
      • Restrict Wi-Fi networks configured by profiles (iOS 10.3)
        • Exempts carrier profiles – new (iOS 11)
      • Allow VPN creation – new
    • Classroom
      • Unprompted app and device lock – new
      • Automatic joining of classes – new
    • AirPrint
      • Custom port
      • iBeacon discovery (supervised)
      • Credential storage in KeyChain (supervised)
      • Allow AirPrint (supervised)
    • Assessments
      • Activity continuation
      • Universal clipboard
      • Dictation
      • Smart punctuation
      • Classroom screen observation
    • Restrictions are going to require supervision coming in 2018. This means that only supervised devices will get restrictions! Be sure to take advantage of new DEP settings to ensure all your devices are supervised!
  • Classroom
    • Classroom 2 (shipped this past Spring)
      • Teacher created classes
      • Document transfer between teacher and students
      • Mute devices
    • Classroom 2.1 (new this week)
      • Managed class behavior for teacher-created classes on supervised devices
      • Student activity view
  • Content Caching
    • Built into macOS High Sierra
    • Tethered caching UI

You can watch the whole session only here: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/304/

I was a little disappointed overall from the announcements, but there are some good things in there to help the life of school administrators of macOS, iOS, and tvOS devices. There was a lot of “coming soon”, “later this year”, “next year” talk, so hopefully we will see how much Apple and third-party MDM vendors can get accomplished. Look here for more details and guides as the new features are released to general public.

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