Overall, the Apple Deployment program is a very positive step in the right direction. Apple has FINALLY recognized that their devices, that many of their policies, simply didn’t work in an education or business environment. Although it took them years to recognize this fact, I’m glad they finally did and took action to correct it. Let’s take a look at what, I think, are some advantages and disadvantages of the program.
- Automatic MDM enrollment
- Over the air device supervision
- Ability to lock (prevent removal) of the MDM profile – prevents students from potentially removing restrictions profiles
- Fairly easy set up and configuration
- Schools/district can legally create Apple IDs for students under the age of 13 using Apple IDs for Students program
- No need for Apple Configurator anymore
- Ability to assign multiple administrators for multiple sites
- No way to name the device during enrollment – when using Apple Configurator, we could specify the name of the device. With DEP, the device has a generic name. There is also no way to prevent students from changing the name on their device.
- No way to add a custom lock screen – when using AC, we could customize a lock screen for each of our schools and add it to that school’s devices.
- No way to easily add asset codes – Our MDM product allows us to add inventory asset codes during the enrollment process. This made it easier for us to locate devices inside of the MDM.
- It’s been our experience that once the device is enrolled using DEP, it can no longer be configured using Apple Configurator. This should be a positive thing, right? The downside is that the device activation requires a wifi profile be setup on the device. If you were using Apple Configurator to do this, after the first time you enroll the device in to DEP, you’ll no longer have this ability. Our solution for this is going to be creating a separate wifi network that directs traffic only to the Apple activation servers. This way, we can enroll/activate them easily, then push out the real wifi profile from our MDM once the device is enrolled. We still use Apple Configurator to batch update the iOS on multiple devices. This works well when we need to use it.