Ultimate Guide to setup 300+ iPads with MDM. Configurator – iTunes – Meraki MDM

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.

 

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Warning! Configurator 1.3 – DO NOT UPDATE!

Apple has released an update to Configurator 1.2.1 to 1.3. The update removes very important functionality. In version 1.2.1 you could install mobile Profiles to as many devices as you could plug in. Now after the update you can only install profiles, one at a time.

Configurator 1.2.1 has the option to deploy Profiles to all connected devices.

Configurator 1.3 removes the ability to install Profiles to all devices and only allows to install on one devices at a time.

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Creating and Sharing Group eMails

Having a group email list on my iPad is a real time saver. I can type a few letters of our school name in the “To:” files of my email and quickly get a list of groups I have created so I can send an email to a bunch of people at once. The initial set up of this is kinda confusing but pay attention and I'll walk you through it. Once it's done, however, you can easily edit it to keep it up to date and you can quickly share it. Do it once and it works for everyone. For large lists you'll want a computer with MS Word or Apple Pages installed.

So, it's hard to see in the pic but in a new message I have typed the first few letters of my school name and I already see “SCHOOL All & SCHOOL Teachers”. One is everyone that works at the school and one is just the teachers at the school. Creating the list is either super easy and fast or time consuming depending on your IT person. Continue reading

Lock iPad to an App Natively from Settings

Wether you have a youngster who can't help hitting the Home button or just a child with a little ADD, this little tip can help you keep em on task. This can be done on a large scale via Meraki MDM but it can be a little time consuming and may be a little more than you need. For a small class to a single student this is a quick setup you can do to lock their iPad to a specific App.

Lets open up Settings – General – Accessibility. Scroll to the bottom to Guided Access.

Flip on Guided Access and enter a passcode only you know.

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Love the VPP – The Good Parts, App Distribution

So, I’ve complained a lot about the VPP but there are some good points to it as well. I’ll go over a few of them here so there’s some ying to all my yanging.

The most obvious being the volume discount. Buy more than 20 licenses of one app at one time and they are half off. Note that free apps do not show up in the VPP store. I thought it might be cool to buy 200 copies of a free app while on sale for use in the future but Apple is smarter than me… Remember that it’s 20 or more each time. You can’t buy 20 and come back and buy 5 more and get half off. So, it’s good to buy in bulks of 20 as needed. In the case of the VPP, 11 is more expensive than 20.

Another nice thing about the VPP is the 2 accounts that you will need to run it.

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Replace a student or staff iPad in 10 minutes or less.

With a school of 350+ iPads, there are going to be breaks. When one of our iPads is damaged we are quick to replace it. We started off with 5 spares to be swapped out so the student didn't miss anytime. As we are trying to go as paperless as possible and have as much school work done on the iPad as possible, downtime is bad for everyone. Now that I have exhausted our spares they are swapped for repaired iPads. We have a local repair shop replacing the screens.

This process used to take me quite a while when I was using Apple Configurator to help manage the lot but now just using iCloud and Meraki MDM, I have this down to just a few minutes handling the device.

I created a simple form that the student and teacher can fill out before bringing me the iPad that needs replacing.

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