Here is a guide to setup 300+ iPads to be used by students. I'll be using Meraki MDM to set the Restrictions, Configurator to load WiFi, Meraki Profile and Supervise and iTunes to load the Apps.
You should have a basic understanding of MDM software, Apple Configurator and iTunes to use this guide so beware.
First we need to wipe all the iPads from the previous year. I do this with our cart which holds 30 iPads so we are doing this 30 at a time but that really only equals @ 10 run throughs but get some help. So, fire up Configurator and Unsupervise and ReSupervise all devices then UnSupervise, again just so we know they are clean and can still connect to our Base Station Mac that will be the Supervising Overlord. This Takes a while so in between batches we'll get Meraki ready to receive our new devices.
I wiped out all our devices from the Meraki database so as to start fresh. In Meraki we want to change the Default Tag that is applied to all new devices. I simply use “Student”, this will allow us to later set all our Restrictions to all devices with that Tag.
To setup a Profile, From Meraki Dashboard, go to MDM – Profiles – +Add New. Create the Profile and Tag. No need to set up the Settings of the Profile, that can be done later and changed whenever you want, even after the profile is deployed. Save.
From Meraki Dashboard, go to Configure – General – Scroll down to Enrollment Settings. Remove any Tag already in there and put in Student or the name of whatever profile you want the iPads to default to. Save.
Next we need the URL of the Meraki Enrollment for Apple Configurator. From MDM Dashboard, go to MDM – Add Devices – Scroll down to Apple Comfigurator and copy the URL from there.
We're done with Meraki for a while.
Open up Configurator and get it set. I have one profile set to just install wifi settings. It is necessary to have a wifi connection in order to install the MDM profile.
Skip the apps tab and open Setup.
Just check everything. You can change anything you want later, after the MDM profile is installed. For the MDM profile to be applied you will click on Configure Settings. Put in the Enrollment URL you copied from before. Save.
Now, supervise one iPad with your current setup.
Once the device reboots you'll be taken to the welcome screen slide to open.
You will be presented with the wifi setup. Give it a few seconds and it will auto connect because of the wifi profile I setup before in Configurator. Touch Next. Now, as long as the wifi is working, you can touch Apply Configuration. This is referencing the URL you put in earlier. The next screen will be the Get Started screen and the iPad is ready for customizing.
Plug the iPad in to iTunes and install all the apps you want to use for all the students. Put everything in folders or just arrange them the way you like.
In iTunes, open preferences – devices – and delete all the backups you have.
Now create a new backup of your configured iPad and unplug it and close iTunes. Do not encrypt the backup.
Open up Configurator and Supervise your first batch. Once completed, close Configurator and unplug all the iPads but leave them in the cart.
Open iTunes and plug in the first iPad. You will be greeted by a restore screen in iTunes. Because you only have one backup, you can just hit Continue. Be ready to unplug the iPad in a few seconds.
The iPad will do a quick restore, once the progress bar disappears unplug the iPad. Click OK on the next dialogue box.
Plug in your next iPad and repeat. This will be time consuming but it pays off. If you try to keep the devices plugged in while restoring you will soon find that the computer can't handle it and you will wait a very long time between processes.
Once you plug in the last one and restore, you can leave it. Plug all your iPads back in and go get lunch AND dinner. All the iPads will continue to restore all the apps from the first backup and if your like us your pushing @ 300 GB over USB 2.0. If you get an error that an app could not install, it will have an “!” Next to it in the iTunes drop down list. Just select it and hit sync. It will install the missing app to that device.
Once complete, close iTunes, leave them plugged in and open Configurator. Open supervised and Refresh all the devices plugged in via USB.
Unplug and put in the next batch and repeat from Supervise to restore to refresh for all your devices.
At any time you can configure your Mobile Profile in Meraki.
Open Meraki Dashboard. MDM – Settings – select the profile you setup with the default tag and configure away. You can watch as the App Store magically disappears. I don't recommend removing the App Store until you have all the iPads ready to go, it should not matter but just in case, leave it on until your really ready to hand them out.
Anyway, These iPads are ready to hand out to students. Make sure they name them so you can find them in Meraki in the event you need to change something on a particular iPad.
That's it for now.
Stay tuned, next i'll show you how to set a global proxy on all your iPads to block just about anything you want, anywhere they go, for just a few dollars, total!
Meraki is a free service and you can read my other blog entries on it for more info.
Please comment if you have more info on this or have a question.