Back in the MDM Ice Ages, when admins pushed out a new app to a device, users would have to enter an Apple ID and password right then and there in order to download the app. This caused a number of problems, as some admins didn’t want users to get a hold of the Apple ID and password and set off on a downloading spree. Apple recently added a feature that allows admins to push out new apps to mobile devices without requiring the user to enter an Apple ID and password. Furthermore, Systems Manager has implemented this into the dashboard so you can take advantage of it right away. This blog post will take a look at how to silently push an app from start to finish.
1. Mobile device requirements
First, there are a few device dependencies in order to silently push apps. The device must be supervised by Apple Configurator and the device must be associated with an Apple ID (this means someone has to log into their Apple account on the device at some point, but it is not required at the time the app is pushed). And if you haven’t heard, you can now supervise your devices over-the-air using Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (learn how to configure DEP with Systems Manager here).
2. Purchase Licenses from Apple VPP program
Next, the app needs to be purchased from the Apple VPP program. This goes for free or paid apps. Below we have 1000 licenses of a free calculator app.
3. Dashboard automatically syncs to Apple VPP program
Purchased VPP apps are populated in the dashboard, available to be assigned.
4. Assign apps to mobile devices
Below we will click on the Calculator app and assign one of our licenses to a user. For a refresher on VPP managed distribution and setting up users, take a look at this article.
5. Add to Systems Manager App Management
Now we are ready to silently push out the app just as we would any other. Navigate to MDM > App. Select ‘+ Add new’ and find the app you’d like to push to your devices. Here, we searched for ‘calculator’ and clicked ‘Add’.
6. Silently push app to devices
Select the app to be pushed and define the scope. Below, we chose to push the app to all devices with the tag “vpp_managed.” Once we save, the app will be pushed.
7. App is silently pushed with no Apple ID and password prompt
On the iPad, we were prompted for the app installation but were not asked to enter a password.
This feature helps admins keep a tighter grip on those precious Apple IDs and passwords. It can also save a great deal of time when apps need to be pushed to many devices at once. Apple has made a number of new feature announcements and this is just another one that we have been able to quickly implement in Systems Manager. For more information on some of these new features check out our in depth look at Apple’s Device Enrollment Program as well as updates on content filtering and more from Systems Manager.