Mar
16
2012

Apple Configurator Part I: Walkthrough

Apple is really good at just putting stuff out there and not telling anyone about it. Earlier this week Apple released the Apple Configurator. This is the tool we have been waiting for since the iPad was released. This tool seems very intuitive and I cannot wait to play with it this weekend. Unfortuneatly right now the tool is Mac only.

 

 

Here is the description from the Mac appstore:

 

Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution.

 

Three simple workflows let you prepare new iOS devices for immediate distribution, supervise devices that need to maintain a standard configuration, and assign devices to users. Quickly update 30 devices at a time to the latest version of iOS, configure settings, and install apps and data for your students, employees, or patrons.

 

Apple Configurator can be used by larger organizations and businesses to set up new devices, install enterprise apps, and enroll each device with a Mobile Device Management solution for remote management by an IT administrator. It is perfect for the classroom or student lab where devices need to be quickly refreshed and kept up to date with the correct settings, approved policies, apps and data. Apple Configurator can also be used to personalize devices with data and documents for specific users.

 

Prepare devices

• Configure up to 30 devices at a time

• Update devices to the latest version of iOS

• Create and restore a backup of settings and app data from one device to other devices

• Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to new devices*

• Use the built-in editor to create and install iOS configuration profiles

• Enroll devices with your Mobile Device Management solution for remote management

 

Supervise devices

• Organize supervised devices into custom groups

• Automatically apply common configurations to supervised devices

• Quickly reapply a configuration to a supervised device and remove the previous user’s data

• Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to supervised devices*

• Define and apply common or sequential names to all devices

• Restrict supervised devices from syncing with other computers

 

Assign devices

• Add users and groups manually or autopopulate via Open Directory or Active Directory

• Check out a device to a user and restore the user’s settings and data on that device

• Check in a device from a user and and back up the data for later use, possibly on a different device

• Apply custom text, wallpaper, or the user’s picture to a device’s Lock screen

• Import and export documents between your Mac and Apple Configurator

• Sync documents between assigned devices and Apple Configurator

 

* Installing paid apps from the App Store requires redemption codes from the Volume Purchase Program for Education or Business. The Volume Purchase Program is not available in all regions.

 

You can download it free here: itunes.apple.com/us/app/apple-configurator/id434433123?mt=12

You can find support information here: http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/

Here is the help file for the “Apple Configurator”: http://help.apple.com/configurator/mac/1.0/

 

Video Walkthrough:

 

 

What is your current workflow for setting up an managing devices? Does this make it easier?

 

Special thanks to @ryanworcester for tipping me off to this!

About the Author: TJ Houston

TJ Houston is the Director of Technology at Huron City Schools. TJ leads professional development in all areas of technology and loves developing ways to make teachers, students, and staff's lives easier with the use of technology. TJ also loves photography and his portfolio can be found at http://www.tjshots.com. All of the views on this site are his own.

  • Son Tran

    TJ – thank you for the great article. 

    Question: If i’m part of a Volume Purchasing Program (VPP).  I would buy paid apps in the specific business program’s website right and not through an iTunes account right?

    • http://www.tjhouston.com/ TJ Houston

      All purchases still go through the Apple Store is that what you mean? Lets say I want to buy pages I would buy it through the Apple VPP store and download through the Appstore I would not go to Apple directly. Does that answer your question?

      Thanks
      TJ

  • Dsis

    TJ, we are looking at this as a tool to manage our devices at the campus level at each of our 65+ campuses. When you say that it can mange “up to 30 devices”, what does that mean? If we have 90 devices on a campus will we need to install the configurator on 3 machines?  Are you of the opinion that it needs to be maintained through district tech folks, or is it not too time consuming for campus teachers to maintain? Just curious…

    • http://www.tjhouston.com/ TJ Houston

      It is my understanding this means you can only manage 30 devices at a time. For example if you had a cart of 30 ipads you wanted to update you could do that one and than move on to another cart using the same computer. 

      Let me know if you have any other questions. 

      Thanks
      TJ

      • Dan_Mayhew

         I think the 30 iPad limit is just because that is what Apple tested on its 30-unit cart.

    • Dan_Mayhew

       We have tried it with a lot more than 30, using a 49-port USB hub from Datamation Systems and even connecting multiple carts to a Mac host (each cart with 32 iPads).  It worked fine.

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  • Eroby

    Hello TJ Thanks for the video explanation. In your video you were talking about the VPP program and inputting them on the configurator tool. I would like to know how I input those in there do you have another explanation on this. Thanks.

  • IST

    When trying to create a profile it says that it contains no payload, what does it mean by payload?

    • http://www.tjhouston.com/ TJ Houston

      Can you post a screenshot?

  • Brenna Steinborn

    Hi TJ,
    I am new to Mac computers but have been playing with iPads, iPods, and iPhone. We are now purchasing devices for deployment in our schools. So far we have 55 iPods and 25 iPads and I purchased a Macbook Air for the Apple Configurator because I want to manage all the devices easily but I have a few questions and was hoping you could give me some advice.

    Do I use one iTunes account for all the apps and just assign the apps to each different profile? What are the groups good for? Once you update the devices to the newest iOS you have to manually set them up again like a system restore…is that correct? Do you suggest disabling youtube, itunes, and syncing to other accounts?

    I have more questions but this is it for now, thank you for your time!!

    Brenna Steinborn
    WBCSD #83 

    • http://www.tjhouston.com/ TJ Houston

      Hope all is going well. Let me know if you have any more questions. It was nice talking to you on the phone!

      Thanks
      TJ

    • Jodi Anderson

      TJ – I’m interested in the answer to this post, or was it too involved for typing? I’m an Asst. Network Mgr. in a HS in NJ. This summer our district is deploying over 200 iPads at all grade levels. I will be in charge of the HS. My boss has asked me to spearhead the research on how to deploy as this is our first iPad deployment. Your blog and YouTube video has been so helpful. Is there a way I can communicate more directly with you via email perhaps. If you’re willing of course. Anything you’re willing to share would be most appreciated. Thanks

      Jodi Anderson
      Westfield HS

      • http://www.tjhouston.com/ TJ Houston

        I like to answer questions via email as comments can sometimes get lost. Feel free to email me at thouston at huron-city.k12.oh.us. 
        Thanks
        TJ

  • Wim Bontinck

    Download link doesn’t work, not found in the app store either :-(

    • http://www.tjhouston.com/ TJ Houston

      Fixed the download link!

      Should work now. 

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  • Joseph Phillips

    You should put what state you are located. I live near Huron, OH.

    • http://www.tjhouston.com TJ Houston

      Awesome I live in Huron. We should grab a coffee some time!

  • Pingback: How To: Wirelessly View Your Ipad Screen On Your Computer « TJ Houston.com

  • Nancy Latimer

    TJ, just reviewed your video and was looking at the Apple Configurator Help.  They specifically say NOT to use a passcode with supervised devices, because you cannot configure locked supervised devices in Apple Configurator.  Any thoughts on this?

  • Lee-Ann Cammett

    I have Apps that we downloaded when there was a free day (example Everyday Math Apps). How do I handle these types of Apps with the Configurator since I got them for free but now the Configurator is asking for a Voucher Code?

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  • Carl

    Great YouTube and blog TJ! Our School in Christchurch New Zealand are setting up our ipads, VPP cam to New Zealand at the end of last year. Thanks again!

  • Lisa C Kaufman

    Super helpful! We will look to apply this for about 10 devices of iPod and iPads in our institution! Many thanks!

  • Cindy Medeiros

    So glad I found this. We just got 20 ipads for classrooms and I am trying to figure this out! I will check out the Cfg help files. Do you know whether there is a way to allow teachers to add (free) apps using their own iTunes account, or will the configurator delete them when you update? I tried it yesterday on a new one and it removed the free apps I downloaded separately.

    • http://www.tjhouston.com/ TJ Houston

      Shoot me an email and we can talk! tj@tjhouston.com

      Thanks
      TJ

Find Me Online:

About Me:

My name is TJ Houston.
I am the Director of Technology at Huron City Schools. I love integrating technology into the classroom and helping teachers find the way on the information super highway. Things I love: My family, My awesome Girlfriend, Technology, Education, and Photography.

I run PD sessions twice a week and run community training the first Saturday of the month. I love teaching people new things.

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