Tag Archives: ipod touch

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Upgrade to iOS 7 from an iOS Device.

Most of my readers have already upgraded from iOS 6 to iOS 7. But, you might need to write some technical documentation on how to do so for your end users. If you find yourself in such a situation, you can just cut-copy-paste this article into your own documentation.

Preflight

First, backup the device. When I did this upgrade I was flying without a net and didn’t bother to back the device I was upgrading up. Having said that, I also don’t keep any data on my device, so I would strongly recommend backing up before you do your upgrade if you do have content you want to make sure your preserve. The upgrade doesn’t erase your data; however, whenever you’re doing a major update, it’s a good idea to backup (it’s also a good idea to backup when you’re not doing a major update). If you need to backup, check out this article on manually backing up with iTunes.

Most will also want to go ahead and update to iTunes 11.1. This will allow the device to work once it’s been upgraded.

Finally, before you get started, connect your device to a power source as you wouldn’t want the device to possibly die due to a power failure in the middle of running the update.

Installation

Once you’ve backed up, open the Settings app on the device.

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From within the Settings app, tap on General to open the General pane of the Settings app..

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From the General pane of the Settings app, tap on Software Update.

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From the Software Update screen tap on Download and Install to start the installation, or let’s tap on Learn More to see what’s in the update.

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At the Learn More screen, you’ll see the release note for the software. This is a major OS update, so there are pages and pages of notes about what this update is for. Provided you’re happy with these updates, tap on Software Update at the top of the screen to go back to the Software Update screen and tap on Download and Install to begin the installation process.

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From the Terms and Conditions page, tap on Agree to accept the license agreement (obviously provided that you do) and the update will run. This is going to take awhile. You can use the device while the update is running (it will even keep the state of Safari browsing once restarted).

The device will restart automatically once updated.

Now that you’re done with the upgrade, go ahead and back the device up again in iTunes and start exploring some of the awesome new features.

Note for Apple Configurator users, in order to get the power of iOS 7 you’ll need to update to Apple Configurator 1.4, available on the App store as of today. The release notes for it:

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 3.57.53 PM

 

Good luck!

iPhone

SimpleMDM Now With Apps

SimpleMDM has updated their Mobile Device Management solution (my original writeup is here) to now include the ability to manage apps. The apps functionality really comes in two flavors. The first is the ability to load up an app. This is handled handed by clicking on Settings in the right hand navigation bar and then at the Settings pop-over, clicking on Apps. Here, you can load up an internal, enterprise app or an App Store app.

Once you’ve loaded an app you can deploy it to devices by clicking on a group and then using the contextual menu to “Assign Apps.” Simple, as the name implies.

The second aspect of SimpleMDM is to white and blacklist apps. Doing so is done by clicking on the contextual menu and then clicking on Rules. Here, you can Allow or Disallow any app that has been loaded into the app catalog.

 

iPhone

Volume Purchasing Program Now Available In More Countries

The Volume Purchasing Program is a program from Apple that allows you to buy gift codes en masse for distribution to users, either by mail merging them and sending them out or using a special tool for distribution, such as Apple Configurator or an MDM solution. If you’re in the United States and work with iOS, you’ve likely been using the Volume Purchasing Program for awhile. But for users in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom, the Volume Purchasing Program is new and probably being well received.

The Volume Purchasing Program allows users to receive the codes and install/purchase software without being gifted money to do so, although in most cases the users will need Apple IDs. This is because the Volume Purchasing Program still requires codes to be redeemed, although if you’re using Apple Configurator you can deploy apps without tying them to unique AppleIDs.

Overall, the Volume Purchasing Program is a great way to be able to control and manage app expenditures, and for users in the newly added countries, will help with deployments large and small. To access the Volume Purchasing Program site, see http://www.apple.com/business/vpp. To quote Apple:

Deliver essential business apps to your employees with the Volume Purchase Program, now available in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, and the US. VPP makes it easy to purchase iOS apps in any quantity and distribute them to your users. You can also have custom apps built for your company’s unique needs. Search thousands of useful apps, specify any quantity, and use a corporate credit card to complete your purchase. Download the updated VPP Guide for details.

iPhone Mass Deployment

Backing Up And Restoring iOS Devices in iTunes

For many iOS deployment projects, iTunes is used as the primary deployment vehicle for the devices. iTunes can be used to “Backup” and “Restore” an iPad, similar to how you image desktop and laptop computers.

The actual deployment process is straight forward. First we’ll create a backup in iTunes. Then we can deploy the backup using the Restore option within iTunes. Provided the backup is encrypted, the Restore option will maintain the maximum amount of data available. For example, if a device has been activated then the fact that it has been activated is maintained across a restore. As are the applications that are installed on the device.

Create iTunes Backup

To Create an iTunes Backup:

  • Open iTunes and dock the device with the master configuration.
  • Check the box to “Encrypt local backup.”
  • At the Set Password screen, provide a password for the encrypted backup.
  • In order to ease restore, check the box for “Remember this password in my keychain (passwords are set to user names).
  • Control-click on the name of the device in the DEVICES section.
  • Click on “Back up”.
  • If prompted, click Set Password (subsequent backups will not require passwords).

Restoring with iTunes

To Restore an iTunes Backup:

  • Open iTunes and dock the device to be restored.
  • Control-click on the device.
  • Click “Restore from Backup”
  • At the “Restore From Backup” screen, select the name used in the previous backup.
  • Click Restore.
  • If prompted, enter the Password.
  • Rename the iPad once the restore process is complete.
  • Once the Restore is complete, if prompted to “Set Up Your iPad”, uncheck the Automatically sync songs and videos to my iPad box and “Automatically sync apps to my iPad”, putting the students Active Directory name in the Name field and clicking Done
iPhone Mass Deployment

Using Apple Configurator To Automate Casper MDM Enrollment

Enrolling iPads into the JAMF Casper MDM solution is done through Apple Configurator, messages or using links deployed to iOS devices as web clips. When doing larger deployments the enrollment process can be automated so that devices are automatically enrolled into Casper MDM when they are set up using an Enrollment Profile that is manually downloaded from Casper and deployed to device. Additionally, a certificate can be needed if the certificate is not included in the profile, an option available as a checkbox in the setup. While you hopefully won’t need to download the certificate, we’ll start there:

Obtain the Certificate for the JSS Server

To obtain the trust certificate from the JSS Server:

  1. Open the web interface for the JSS.
  2. When prompted to trust the certificate, click on the disclosure triangle and then the checkbox to trust the cert, providing the administrative credentials when prompted.
  3. Open Keychain Utility.
  4. Click in the search field.
  5. Search for JSS.
  6. Control-click on the name of your server’s “Built-in Certificate Authority” entry.
  7. Choose the option to Export.
  8. When prompted, provide a name for the certificate in the Save As fiel.
  9. Choose a location to save the certificate to using the Where field.
  10. The .cer format is sufficient for our purposes.
  11. Click Save.

Download the Enrollment Profile

To download an enrollment profile from Casper MDM:

  1. Log into the web interface of the JSS.
  2. Click on the link for Mobile Device Enrollment
  3. At the Mobile Device Enrollment Invitations screen, click on the Enrollment Profiles tab.
  4. At the Enrollment Profiles screen, click on Download for the appropriate profile (for most environments there should only be one)
  5. Once the profile is downloaded, it will automatically attempt to enroll the computer you are downloading it from in the Profiles System Preferences pane.
  6. Click on Cancel.
  7. Click on the downloads link in Safari.
  8. Click on the magnifying glass icon to see the .mobileconfig file.

You have now downloaded the .mobileconfig file that will enroll devices into Casper MDM.

Add the Profile To Apple Configurator:

To deploy the profile through Apple Configurator:

  1. Open Apple Configurator on the client computer.
  2. Click on Prepare in the row of icons along the top of the screen.
  3. Drag the profile (by default currently called MDM-iOS5.mobileconfig) from the Finder into the list of Profiles.
  4. The profile then appears in Apple Configurator (in this example, called MDM-iOS5).

Deploy The Casper MDM Enrollment Profile Through Apple Configurator

Once the profile is installed in Apple Configurator, let’s deploy it. In this example, don’t configure any other options. To deploy:

  1. Set the name to be blank, numbering should be disabled, Supervision should be off, iOS should be set to No Change, “Erase before installing” should be unchecked, Don’t Restore Backup should be set in the Restore field.
  2. Check the box for the newly added profile (MDM-iOS5 in this example).
  3. Click on the Prepare button.
  4. At the “Are you sure you want to apply these settings to all USB-connected devices?” screen, click on the Apply button.
  5. The subsequent screen shows when devices are being configured. Here, dock the device to receive the profile (note, all docked iOS devices are going to be configured with this profile).
  6. Once the device is connected, the profile will begin to install. You are then prompted to “Tap device to install profile”.
  7. On the device, tap on the Install button.
  8. At the Warning screen, tap Install.
  9. Once the Profile is installed, tap Done.
  10. You have now been enrolled.

If you then wish to unenroll, simply remove the profiles by tapping on profiles and then tapping on the Remove button. Per the MDM API, a user can elect to remove their device from management at any point, so expect this will happen occasionally, even if only by accident.

iPhone Mass Deployment

Apple Configurator 1.1 Released

Apple Configurator 1.1 was released on Monday. Configurator is updated through the App Store. It comes with a few new features, indicated on the App Store download page.

My favorite part is probably that rather than let me do stupid things (which I am apt to do) I now get a screen warning me that I’m doing something stupid if Configurator doesn’t complete a sanity check against one of the profiles:

Overall, the two updates that we’ve gotten to Configurator have been minor. The features and options, which make up the strategies that you deploy Configurator with, have remained pretty much the same. I look forward to seeing continued updates.

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Video on Setting Up Profile Manager in Lion Server

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Apple Configurator 1.0.1 Released

Apple has released version 1.0.1 of the Apple Configurator tool. To install the first update to Apple’s new tool, go to the App Store on a computer that has Apple Configurator installed, click on Updates and then click on the Update button for Apple Configurator.

The update has a number of new features and fixes. The first is that Enterprise Apps can be installed. Previously, when you went to install internally developed applications, you would get an error that the installation could not proceed. Another great fix is that commas are now escaped when importing application codes from the VPP spreadsheets (a comma in a CSV/comma separated value would kill the ability to import VPP codes before). Another fix is to let you pull redemption codes from unsupervised device (this makes me very happy).

The redemption codes that you buy an app with can also now be used in Configurator, according to the release notes. This worked for me anyway, but I’ve read reports that people had to burn an additional code to use them with Configurator. The remaining redemption codes are now listed properly, as well. Another fix is that Notes and Bookmarks pushed into iBooks and iTunes U are restored properly when supervising devices. The WPA2 passwords had been wonky (according to the content of that payload), so that’s been fixed as well.

Also, a bug I hadn’t noticed, the capacity of an 8GB iPod Touch is now displaying properly…

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Managing iOS Devices with Apple Configurator

My traditional interpretation of Apple’s vision on how iOS devices are used is that everyone has an AppleID. That AppleID enables them to access their apps from any iOS device they own or Mac that they own. That AppleID enables them to access mail, contacts, calendars and even files through iCloud. That AppleID also allows users to remotely wipe their device through Find iPhone and track their friends iOS devices (as in social networking via breadcrumb tracking) through Find Friends. All of this “Just Works” in a consumer sense. And it even allows for a little sharing of content across devices you own. However, larger organizations need more. They need centralized management, content distribution and most other things you find that you rely on traditional desktop computers for.

Over the years, Apple has added tools for centralized control of devices. This started with ActiveSync compatibility and early forms of Mobile Device Management and has grown into a pretty robust, albeit disconnected, set of tools. Of these, Apple Configurator is the latest. Apple Configurator was released about a week ago and since, I’ve been trying to figure where it fits into the solutions architecture that surrounds iOS integrations. There are a number of other tools already available that can aid in the deployment and management of iOS devices, and Configurator is a great addition.

To me, there are 3 classes of management tools for iOS. These were roughly broken up into Over the Air (OTA), cradled (USB) and content management. Apple Configurator ends up fitting into all of these scenarios in some way. Let’s start by looking at the traditional uses of these three and then look at how they are impacted by Apple Configurator.

Mobile Device Management

Over the Air tools, such as Profile Manager, allow for Mobile Device Management (MDM) without cradling, or syncing a devices. These tools allow you to configure policies via profiles. There is also a bit of App pushing built into most MDM solutions. Apple’s Profile Manager can push applications written in-house, but no content from the App Store. 3rd party solutions, such as JAMF’s Casper Suite, Absolute Manage MDM, AirWatch and about 15 others are able to push apps from the App Store as well, leveraging the Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) to issue apps to devices. However, when an app is pushed through one of these tools, the app becomes associated with the AppleID for the user who owns the device.

Note: While we use the term push, the user has to accept all App installations on the device.

For large environments, MDM is a must as it allows for centralized command and control. Pushing apps is one aspect of such control. Policies enforceable through MDM include disabling cameras, configuring passcode policies on devices (not pushing passcodes), disabling YouTube, silencing Siri, unstreaming photos, disabling iCloud Backup, forcing encrypted backups, disabling location services, controlling certificates, blocking pop-ups, controlling cookies, disabling access to the iTunes and App Stores,  and controlling what kind of media can be accessed on devices.

Additionally, MDM can be used to push SSIDs for wireless networks (and their passwords/802.1x configuration information), setup mail, setup Exchange ActiveSync, configure VPN connections, configure access shared calendars (iCal shared files, CalDAV and Exchange), configure access to shared contacts (LDAP, CardDAV, Exchange and Exchange Global Address Lists), deploy Web Clips and manage certificates (either with cert files or via SCEP). In short, whether you’re using the practically free Profile Manager from Apple, Mobile Iron, Casper, AirWatch, FileWave or one of the many other tools, there are a lot of things that MDM can configure on devices.

Reporting can also play a major role in how MDM tools are used. iOS Apps are owned by AppleIDs, not devices. MDM does not manage AppleIDs, but you can trigger fields in MDM databases to report back unauthorized AppleIDs being used. Reporting can also identify when devices join non-approved wireless networks (which cannot be blocked through MDM), identify devices that have been jailbroken (a major security concern for many organizations) and report on device use.

Because devices can fall outside of our control, MDM also plays an important role in being able to wipe and lock devices. While some of these types of features are available via Exchange, not all people use ActiveSync. Users and administrators alike can wipe, lock and de-enroll devices at will, potentially crippling what any device with an Enrollment Profile can do.

There are really 3 kinds of MDM tools: those that can push apps, those that can’t and Apple’s Profile Manager. The reason I put Profile Manager into its own class, is that it can push some kinds of apps, it’s cheap ($49.99 one time as opposed to per device per month or per device per year billing) and it’s great for some things. But Profile Manager should be used in very specific environments unless the price is the only decision making factor behind a tool. In larger environments, choosing a MDM solution is one of the most important aspects of managing mobile devices and the iOS platform is no different in that manner than other mobile platforms.

MDM has some limitations, though. A good MDM solution can manage the infrastructure side of device configuration. However, content requires a completely separate tool. Additonally, MDM is a completely opt-in experience. If a user wants, they can remove their device from the MDM solution at any time. Rather than a limitation, think about the opt-in experience this way: if a user removes themselves from MDM then all content that was given to them via MDM is then taken away, except that which they have moved to the local device. Therefore, if an administrator pushes an Exchange configuration then all content from that Exchange profile is forbidden fruit, removed alongside the de-enrollment.

MDM also works with Lion. Policies, centralized management, etc can be integrated with Lion. You can’t do app distribution per se, but you can push out a policy to change where the dock is on the screen, add a printer to a Mac and configure a login hook through a Profile Manager-based policy. Many of the MDM providers have begun adding functionality to their tools to allow for Mac management as well as iOS and I would expect that to become the standard in years to come. iOS is a single-user device and OS X is a multi-user device, which completes that paradigm, but Apple has made it no secret that policy-based management for Mac OS X is moving to the realm MDM (even if that is enforced through a traditional lens of directory services based policy-based management).

Content Management

One of the unique aspects of the iOS platform is that it doesn’t have a file system that is exposed to users. There’s no /Volumes, no C: drive and no home folders. The devices don’t log into a server, because there’s no way to interpret a server connection. The file system that is exposed to iOS devices is through the lens of each application. Sandbox is a technology that limits each application’s access in terms of memory, hard drive, etc. Each application can only communicate with resources outside of itself if there is an API to do so, APIs mostly reserved for Apple (e.g. photos, contacts, etc). Therefore, when you discuss content management from the perspective of building a large iOS solution, you’re talking about apps.

The apps used for content management come in a few flavors. There are those that allow you to edit content and then there are those that allow you to read content. One way to look at this is through Safari. Sharepoint, WebDAV and various document management portals allow users to access data through the Safari browser on an iOS device. Safari will let you view various file types. But to edit the data, you would need to send it to an app, or copy it to the clipboard and access it in an app. Pages is an example of an app that can browse a file tree via WebDAV and edit content. However, planning how each type of file is accessed and what type of editing can be done on each file type or what type of resources need to be accessible can be difficult (e.g. there are a number of transitions in Keynote presentations that do not work in iOS).

Cradling Devices

Then there’s iTunes. iTunes allows you to backup and restore devices, update devices, etc. iTunes allows you to drop content into each application. If you look into the ~/Library/Mobile Documents, you can drop content, edit default documents and other tasks that can be done through a command line, then perform a cradled sync to an app. If networking is built into an app then you don’t have to plug a device into a computer. If an app can leverage iCloud, SMB or AFP then you can access data over the air. If you are trying to replace computers with iOS devices (a la post-PC) then you would need to plan each business task that needs to be performed and make sure not only that there is an app for that (or an app you build for that) but also make sure that you can round trip data from a shared repository and back to the network storage that the data resides on.

You can also access many of the benefits of MDM without having an OTA element. This can be done with iPhone Configuration Utility. iPhone Configuration Utility can configure the same policies available through Profile Manager but relies on either a cradled or email/web server/manual way of getting policies onto devices and updating. MDM automates this, but iPhone Configuration Utility is free and can be used as well. Additionally, profiles can be exported from Profile Manager and installed in the email/web server/manual way that iPhone Configuration Utility profiles are installed.

This is all probably starting to seem terribly complicated. Let’s simplify it:

  • OTA policies and custom app deployment: MDM
  • OTA content distribution: Apps
  • Cradled policies and custom app deployment: iPhone Configuration Utility (free)
  • Cradled content and app distribution: iTunes (free)
  • OTA App distribution: AppleID/iCloud
  • Backup and restore: iCloud or iTunes

Basically, there’s a few holes here. First, AppleIDs cannot be centrally managed. Second, you need to use gift cards or the Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) to distribute apps, and Third, even when you push an app to an AppleID, the app follows the AppleID to their next organization (which causes many organizations to treat apps like consumables). Fourth, synchronizing content is done primarily through iTunes, which only syncs a device at a time, making preparation of large numbers of systems terribly complicated.

Apple Configurator

Enter Apple Configurator, a free tool on the Mac App Store. This tool basically fixes all of the problems that we reference, but does so over USB. This means that Apple Configurator is not necessarily a replacement for MDM. In fact, you can deploy Trust and Entrollment profiles for MDM and automate the MDM enrollment for a device through Configurator. Instead, Apple Configurator is a tool that can either Prepare or Supervise an iOS deployment and do so in a manner that is easy enough that you don’t need a firm background in IT to manage devices on a day-to-day basis.

Here is what Apple Configurator can do:

  • Update iOS devices to the latest version of iOS.
  • Rename devices using a numbered scheme (e.g. iPad 1, iPad 2, etc).
  • Erase (wipe) iOS devices.
  • Backup and Restore iOS devices.
  • Deploy profiles/policies (e.g. no Siri for you, disable cameras, setup wireless, etc) to iOS devices.
  • Export profiles.
  • Activate devices (after all a restore of a freshly activated device is an activation).
  • Push any kind of app to devices.
  • Track Volume Purchase Program (VPP) codes used on devices.
  • Revoke VPP codes used on “Supervised” devices (more on supervision later).
  • Assign users from directory services to devices.
  • Load non-DRM’d content to apps on devices.
  • Can work with up to 30 devices simultaneously (think big USB hubs or carts on wheels here).

Apple Configurator has some caveats:

  • Paid apps need to use VPP codes to DRM apps. These VPP codes are purchased through a centralized program for an entire organization. To enter the VPP, you need to be a business with a DUNS number or an educational institution. You also basically need to be in the United States.
  • Free apps can be deployed but the AppleID is in the IPA, meaning that to do an OTA update through App Store requires entering the password for the Apple ID the app was purchased with.
  • In order to push apps through Apple Configurator, the system running Configurator needs access to Apple’s servers and Apple Configurator needs an AppleID associated with it that is not the VPP facilitator if you are leveraging any paid apps.
  • You can use Apple Configurator “off-line” or without an AppleID to Prepare devices with Profiles, just not to
  • If you push Trust and Enrollment profiles to automatically join Profile Manager (or another MDM vendor) the device isn’t associated with a user unless the MDM has been prepped to designate each UDID or Serial Number to a given user.
  • Apple Configurator doesn’t work with Video or Music due to different DRM limitations.
  • If you accidentally plug in your iPhone to a machine you’re using Apple Configurator on it and you’ve chosen to Erase in the application, then it will wipe your phone along with the 30 iPads you’re wiping. It’s awesome and scary like that (yes, I’ve accidentally wiped my phone).

I see a number of uses for Apple Configurator. Some of these use cases include:

  • Company and education labs: manage devices end-to-end (no MDM, iTunes iPhone Configuration Utility or other tools needed), managed by the lab manager.
  • One-to-One environments (schools): Manage the distribution of infrastructure settings (mail, wireless networks, etc) for devices as well as Trust Profiles to make it faster to enroll in MDM environments and Web Clips to manage the links for enrollment.
  • Device distribution: Pre-load applications (that can’t be updated unless they’re cradled again), renaming, profiles, activation, iOS software updates, etc.
  • Backup and Restore only stations where you don’t interfere with later iTunes use.

These can enhance practically every environment I’ve worked with. But unless it’s a small environment (e.g. the labs), Apple Configurator isn’t a replacement for the tools already in use in most cases. Instead, it just makes things better. Overall, Apple Configurator is a welcome addition to the bat belt that we all have for iOS management and deployment. Now that we’ve looked at the when/where of using it, let’s look at the how.

There are two ways to use Apple Configurator. The first is to Prepare Devices. You would use this mode when you’re going to perform the initial setup and configuration of devices but not when the devices won’t be checking back into the computer running Apple Configurator routinely. Preparation settings do not persist. And while applications can be pushed through Preparation, updates for those applications will be tied to the AppleID that purchased the app.

The second is Supervise.  Supervising devices is an option when preparing and allows you to have persistent changes to devices, to layer new settings the next time devices are plugged in, to add applications and the most intriguing aspect of iOS management here is reallocating VPP codes to new devices when a user or device is retired. Supervising devices also allows for assigning a given user to a device and thus pushing data into an application.

Setting Up Apple Configurator

Apple Configurator is installed through the Mac App Store. When installed, you are presented with three options. The first (going from left to right) is to Prepare Devices.

Apple Configurator

Apple Configurator

Before we get started, we’re going to add our AppleID. The computer running Apple Configurator needs to be able to connect to the App Store and it needs to have an AppleID associated with it if you’re going to use VPP codes. So let’s set that up before moving on. To do so, from Apple Configurator, click on the Apple Configurator menu and click on Preferences… From the Preferences menu, click on Set for the Apple ID and provide an AppleID (not the VPP Program Facilitator).

Configuring AppleIDs with Apple Configurator

Configuring AppleIDs with Apple Configurator

Then, when prompted, provide the credentials for your AppleID. If you have any problems with this, try Authorizing the computer in iTunes, if you can’t do one it stands to reason you can’t do the other and it’s either an invalid AppleID or that the computer cannot communicate with Apple’s servers (ports, DNS, Internet connectivity, etc might be the issue).

Configuring AppleIDs with Apple Configurator

Configuring AppleIDs with Apple Configurator

Also, let’s configure the Lock Screen settings, which is what’s displayed to users when you’re supervising devices. If you have user pictures in Open Directory, this will show each user’s photo at the lock screen (we will discuss device supervision later).

Configuring Lock Screen Settings In Apple Configurator

Configuring Lock Screen Settings In Apple Configurator

Using Apple Configurator to Prepare Devices

In this example, we’re going to prepare some devices for deployment. Before we do anything, we’re going to do a backup of the iOS device to use for testing. To do so, simply click Prepare Devices to bring up the main Apple Configurator screen and then click in the Restore field.

Apple Configurator's Prepare Devices Screen

At the Restore menu, click Back Up…

Then choose the device to backup and click on Create Backup… to bring up the screen to select where to save your backup to (by default it should be your Documents but you can save them anywhere, like /iOSBackups). Click Save to make the first backup.

Saving Backups in Apple Configurator

Saving Backups in Apple Configurator

Notice how fast that went (assuming you didn’t load it up with 10 Gigs of crap)? The reason is that we’re not backing up iOS, just the data. This will become a little more obvious the first time we go to restore a device. In the meantime, if you look at your target directory, you’ll see a file with the name you provided followed by .iosdevicebackup. If you aren’t supervising you would need to delete these from the filesystem to remove them from the menu of available backups. If you are supervising then you’ll have a menu to manage the backups. You can also use the Other option in the selection menu to browse to another location and select another backup (e.g. you’re pulling them from other machines, etc.

Now that we have a backup, let’s do some stuff to the device. Let’s join the wireless network, change the wallpaper, create some contacts, make some notes and in general do some of those things that you might do on a base image of a computer, aside from of course configuring local admin (it’s not a multi-user device), installing anti-virus (to date, AV companies for iOS are snake oil salesmen) and other things you might not do. But as with imaging, if you can do something in Profile Manager or Apple Configurator, let’s reserve doing it there. In fact, I would probably try to set everything in Profile Manager or your MDM provider that you can (if you have one) and use Apple Configurator for as little as possible. That goes with imaging as well, do as much in directory services/managed preferences/profiles as you can and keep the image as simple as possible…

Anyway, once you have the device as you want it, make another backup. This is akin to baking an image with DeployStudio or System Image Utility. We can’t asr them out yet, but we’re in a much better place than we were.

Once you have a good backup, let’s leverage Apple Configurator to tell the device erase, update to the latest version of iOS, restore our image, join the SSID of our enrollment network (let’s consider this similar to a supplicant network in 802.1x). Then, let’s add a profile that will throw a Web Clip to our MDM solution and even add a Trust Profile to cut down on the number of taps to enroll (and the confusion of tap here, tap there, etc). From the Prepare screen in Apple Configurator, click on Settings and type the naming convention for your devices (in this case we’re going to call them krypted 1 and up) in the Name field. Then check the box for Number sequentially starting at 1 so it’s going to name them from 1 to 1,000,000 (which is how many iPads my krypted company is going to end up writing off at the testing rate I’m on now). Leave Supervision set to OFF (we’ll look at that later) and set the iOS field to Latest. Then, check the box for Erase all contents and settings and choose your image from the Restore menu.

Preparing Devices in Apple Configurator

Preparing Devices in Apple Configurator

Now for something that users of iPhone Configuration Utility, Profile Manager and Casper MDM will find familiar, click on the plus sign in the Profiles field and select Create New Profile. Here, we see what is the standard policy sheet (apologies to HIG if that’s not what those are officially called but I’ve not been able to find the right term) and give it a name in the Name field. This is how it will appear in the Profiles section of Apple Configurator. Because you can deploy multiple profiles, I’m just going to configure the SSID and Web Clip and call it MDM Enrollment. Optionally, give it some notes, organization name, etc.

Naming Your Profile in Apple Configurator

Naming Your Profile in Apple Configurator

Click on Wi-Fi and then click on the Configure button. Here, enter the SSID of the deployment network (MDMEnroll in this example). We’ll use the Hidden Network field to indicate the SSID is suppressed and we’ll use the network type of WEP and throw the password into the Password field as well. Now, before we move on, notice that there’s a plus and minus sign in the top right of the screen? You can deploy multiple of each, so if you have 10 wireless networks, 4 Email accounts, 9 VPN connections, 29 SSL Certs etc, you could deploy them all easily with multiple entries of each.

Adding Wireless Networks with Apple Configurator

Adding Wireless Networks with Apple Configurator

Scroll down in the sidebar a little and then click on Web Clips. Click on the Configure button. The Label is how the web clip’s name will appear on the device. We’re going to enter Enroll Here. In the URL field, provide the URL for your MDM server (e.g. When using a Profile Manager server called mdm.krypted.com the URL would be https://mdm.krypted.com/MyDevices). Not to get off topic, but did anyone else notice that Profile Manager in 10.7.3 now requires SSL certs? Anyway, you’ll also choose whether the web clip should be Removable (I think it should if it’s to enroll) and optionally choose an Icon. We’ll skip that (if we were using a 3rd party tool, I’d throw their logo in here; otherwise I usually like to use the company logo. I also like enrollment links to be Full Screen.

Go ahead and click Save and you’ll see MDM Enrollment listed in the Settings. If you notice, you can also click on the profile and then click on the export menu to export the profile or under the plus sign (“+”) you can Import Profile…, which is how we’ll bring in our Trust Profile from Profile Manager. From Profile Manager we already downloaded the Trust Profile. Now we’re going to click on Import Profile… and browse to it on the desktop, clicking on Trust profile.mobileconfig (or whatever name yours may have). Click Open.

Importing a Trust Profile Into Apple Configurator

Importing a Trust Profile Into Apple Configurator

We could go a step further and actually enroll the device by exporting the enrollment profile as well, but again, I want each user to provide their username and password so I as an administrator don’t have to go through and attach each device to a user in this scenario. I’ve been looking at importing devices and associating them with users via postgres, but that’s going to be another 3am article, on another night…

Next, check the box for each profile and click on Apps. This is where things start getting kinda’ cool. For this you’re going to need some app ipas. Each app in iTunes is stored as an .ipa file. We’re going to look at two different kinds of apps. The first is a free one and the second is a paid for app, both we’ll pull from iTunes. To do so, open iTunes and click on an app (iBooks in our example) and click on Show in Finder.

Show Apps in iTunes

Show Apps in iTunes

Note: Not all app .ipas are called the same thing as the filename. If you Show in Finder from the contextual menu of an app in iTunes it will automatically highlight the correct app in the Finder when it opens a Finder screen.

From the Finder you can either copy the app to the machine running Apple Configurator or if you’re using iTunes on that machine, you can go ahead and drag it to the Apple Configurator apps list. We’re also going to add an App that we used a purchase code from the VPP store to buy. You’ll get an error when you drag the paid app in (or browse to it if you so choose) that indicates the app is paid and in order to deploy it you’ll need to use VPP codes. Once added, you’ll notice it has an error indicator and the number 0 beside it.

Install Apps in Apple Configurator

Install Apps in Apple Configurator

Click on the numerical indicator beside the app name and you’ll be able to import redemption codes. These are emailed to you when you buy apps through the Volume Purchasing Program. BTW, no drag and drop in this screen, use the Important Redemption Codes button to browse to the XLS files.

Adding VPP Codes in Apple Configurator

Adding VPP Codes in Apple Configurator

Once the codes are imported, you’re ready to configure a device.
App Indicator Counts

App Indicator Counts In Apple Configurator

When you import an application, you are creating a file with a GUID in /Users/admin/Library/Application Support/com.apple.configurator/Resources. These files represent applications that have been prepared for distribution. When importing, it will take as long as it takes to copy from the source to that directory. The entry in that directory is roughly the same size as the app. Therefore, you likely don’t want to copy every app you have in there, just the ones you plan to distribute.
Now for the dangerous part. Make sure you don’t have any devices plugged into the computer. I love to start with a device at the activation screen. That thing requires so many taps I jump at any 0 touch deploy type of options I can get my hands on to skip it (not that you’re going to get 0 touch if you have profiles). The reason we want to make sure there aren’t any devices plugged in is that they’ll be wiped if they are… Provided there aren’t any, click on the Prepare button and any devices plugged in wills tart configuring immediately. The application count will go down for VPP apps as each device is configured. It can do 30 in parallel.
Imaging Devices in Apple Configurator

Imaging Devices in Apple Configurator

You’ll see a green checkmark when each device is done. When you’re ready to stop configuring devices, click on Stop. The only other way to do any in parallel is through Xcode Organizer’s restore feature, but that was never very stable for this type of purpose and this is a much more object oriented approach to device imaging. The caveat for these apps is that the password for the AppleID is needed to update them, so this is not a means to deploy paid apps to BYOD or self-managed types of devices (IMHO). Also, the iOS version for devices is downloaded at this point from Apple. If you notice that the first time each type of device is imaged that it takes awhile, this is why. The second time this step is skipped (another reason we need Internet access on our Apple Configurator computer). These are located in /Users/admin/Library/Application Support/com.apple.configurator/IPSWs and if you need to run a beta version of iOS you can do so by dropping their ipsw versions in here manually, but I haven’t gotten device supervision to work when doing so.

Using Apple Configurator to Supervise Devices

Now, supervising devices may seem more complicated, but it isn’t. Back at the Prepare screen, we set Supervision to OFF. Change the iOS field to No Change. Now, let’s turn it ON. When you do so, the iOS field automatically switches to Latest. This means that supervision is going to require updates (which is fine in my book as updates have yet to break a single app for me). Get all the same settings the same as they were previously.

Supervising Devices in Apple Configurator

Supervising Devices in Apple Configurator

Once you enable Supervision, click on Prepare in Apple Configurator and connect a device again. The device will then be imaged as with the same settings that you’ve given it from before. However, once it’s done, you’ll be able to click on the Supervise tab and see devices (Note: You supervise devices rather than users).

Device Supervision in Apple Configurator

Device Supervision in Apple Configurator

The subsequent Starts and Stops will now allow you to enable and disable profiles and apps on the fly, as well as restore backups, update devices and as you can see in this screen, reclaim those valuable VPP codes!

Do a Get Info on a device and you’ll also see a bevy of information about that device.

Get Info on Devices in Apple Configurator

Get Info on Devices in Apple Configurator

You can also click on Assign, once you’ve enabled Supervision. Assigning devices requires directory services. When you click on Assign, click on the plus sign (“+”) to add the first user. Type the first few letters of the users name and they should appear in the list. Click on them and they’ll be added. You can then use the right panel to assign content to the apps that you assign to that user’s devices.

Pushing Content in Apple Configuration Utility

Pushing Content in Apple Configuration Utility

Once added, the user will by default have no device. To assign a device to a user, use the Check Out box at the bottom of the screen and then match the users with the devices you want them to have.

Checking Devices Out To Users

Checking Devices Out To Users

The final piece of this application is to assign content to users. As I mentioned earlier in this article, the file system of an iOS device is through the lens of the applications that the device has installed. Therefore, we’ll be associating files to applications. DRMd content is not distributed through Apple Configurator. So iBooks, etc, aren’t applicable. The various third party applications can open and therefore host file types that they support, as with iTunes. From the Assign pane of Apple Configurator, click on a user and then click on the plus sign (“+”) to add documents. At the Choose A Target Application screen, choose the application you’ll be loading content into.

Choosing An App For Content

Choosing An App For Content

When you click Choose, you’ll then be able to select files to use with that application.

Selecting Content

Selecting Content

Then just dock the iOS device, sync and viola you’ve got content distribution over USB all handled. You can also add groups of devices and groups of users and distribute content to groups of users rather than to one at a time.

Conclusion

Apple Configurator is really a great tool when used in the right scenarios. In learning how it works and interacts I actually learned a lot about both iOS and Mac OS X that I didn’t know before. I hope I did the tool justice with how easy it is to use. This is a fairly long article and it’s probably more complicated than it needs to be in parts, but that’s more my method of trying to figure out what it’s doing than the tool being complicated. It’s not hard to figure out at all. I am sure I could teach any non-technical iOS admin to use it in less than an hour.

My wish list includes logs and OTA. You can’t use iPhone Configuration Utility while you’re using Apple Configurator and therefore, you can’s see up-to-the second logs about things like key bags to figure out why this isn’t working or that. This makes it kinda’ difficult to figure out why a profile doesn’t get installed with an image if you’re not using an AppleID with the tool or other weird little things like that. I’d love to see a little more logging. Obviously, if you could run this thing Over the Air then it would be nerd nirvana. I guess the OTA isn’t as much as wish list for this tool, but features that could be imported into Profile Manager and other tools.

One of the more important aspects is the impact on AppleID use and app ownership. I started this off by saying “My traditional interpretation of Apple’s vision on how iOS devices are used is that everyone has an AppleID.” Well, when using this tool an AppleID is no longer necessary for app deployment.

Overall, we have a new, powerful tool in our arsenal that makes up the iOS administration ecosystem. I hope that I’ve managed to dispel a few rumors with this article and look at some great uses for where this tool should and should not be used. I also hope that no matter what, if you manage iOS devices, that you’ll take a look at it. I expect you’ll find it useful in some part of your management toolkit!

iPhone Mac OS X Mac OS X Server Mac Security Mass Deployment

iOS Device Sales Outpace All Macs Ever (in 2011 alone)

In search of the American Dream? Apple has sold approximately 122 million Macs over the course of 28 years. They have sold 55 million iPads since those were released in April 2010 (in less than 2 years) and sold 156 million iOS Devices for 2011 alone, bringing the total of iOS devices to 316 million. The handset market is set to increase by around 33 percent and there’s really no telling where the tablet market is set to go over the course of the next few years.

What does all of this mean? It means that iOS is continuing to increase in visibility, that App Store sales will continue to rise and that integration into mainstream business will continue. The traffic for mobile device data is set to increase 8 times over the course of the next four years, Cisco and other companies are starting to jump into the mobility space with product offerings and Windows 8 is supposedly going to make a big splash on release.

The Apple App Store is about to hit 25,000,000,000 downloads. That’s a lot of zeros. And that’s a lot of Angry Birds, 99 cent fart jokes and useful business apps that are driving innovation. Mobility as a term is on every CIOs mind at at the tip of their tongue. Giants such as IBM and HP are starting to jump into the MDM space that has previously been occupied by companies like JAMF Software and AirWatch.

I witnessed something similar to this twice before. The first was the final and complete domination of all things IT by Windows at the beginning of my career. Back when I was swapping out 32 floppies to install Windows 95, a vicious process that will make even the sanest person nasty with hallucinations, I had the chance to go to COMDEX a couple of times. The first year I went, it seemed like a lot of people interested in hacking things together. The second year, it was all corporate headhunters, looking to seize the IT revolution occurring inside their businesses by placing golden handcuffs on the best and the brightest in the industry. And of the companies presenting, well, they mostly got acquired by large companies with big names and their products diluted. A complete turnoff, this led me down the path of open source and security.

After COMDEX, I went to DefCon and Black Hat for a number of years. I used to love watching the random weirdness that these otherwise completely reclusive people would throw together. There were capture the flag events (that is, finding the flag on someone else’s box), people went out into the desert to shoot guns and of course, dumpster diving competitions. There still are all of these things actually. And DefCon itself has managed to very much stay true to that form. But the companies that used to have booths at Black Hat have now mostly been acquired by companies like IBM and HP. These corporate denizens only want to complete a portfolio or gain access to “synergistic” products. Mergers put great little companies with people that really care about their products as small parts of Symantec. And the top talent at those organizations usually leave once they realize they’re not in the least bit impactful and they move on to other companies. They’re replaced by people who’ve achieved the title of Vice President at a competitor, whether that person deserves it or not. In some cases they thrive, but in far more cases, the products flounder, end up getting renamed, repositioned and either sold off to another company for the brand recognition or simply fade into the distance.

In each of these there has been a moment. A moment where I said, you know, something substantial has changed here. There are a few things happening that make me leery about the Mac/iOS IT space, and a few things to look for.

  • The first is recruiters. Whenever a college football team wins a national title, their coaching staff is gutted. I’ve been noticing recruiters all over the place trying to pick up top Mac talent. But this isn’t the ACN here or there or the graphics department in a company, it’s corporate head hunters after IT or business unit talent. I spoke to at least 6 or 7 at Macworld/MacIT. The things to look out for here are strategy. Do they have one, do they want one, or do they just want to hire someone to make the CIO happy?
  • The second is the big boys. IBM and HP have both announced MDM products. Dell continues to make KACE and I have heard rumors from other large companies that they’re looking to get into the space as well. The thing to look for here is acquisition.
  • The third is consolidation. Many of the MDM vendors are privately held. A company like IBM, HP, Symantec, Dell, etc can throw enough money at most of these companies to bring them into their fold. Once there, the companies would have an almost unlimited sales and marketing purse, but be careful of a drop in innovation and engineering effort is often had to counteract those slick sales efforts. I would also expect the people who really drove the products, you know, the ones to get the big paydays, will also be the ones taking an extended vacation (wouldn’t you?). Today there are something like 21 products for MDM (I count RobotCloud and Casper as one). I anticipate the next two years will see a good number of those acquired. It’s easy to assume Symantec has an MDM provider on their shopping list, considering their keep-up-with-the-jones thing with McAfee, who’s already jumped into the market. I would expect none of the MDM providers that run on Apple hardware only to be acquired (if you’re after a big payday, run on *nix or Windows). Look out for the disillusioned ones that don’t get the big payouts from these companies after putting in 100 hour weeks for years…
  • The fourth is more sales people. Anyone at Macworld this year would have noticed scantily clad lasses selling software to fix your iTunes. But when larger companies start getting involved in things such as this, I would expect slicker, more professional sales people, more booths (more money after all) and less nerds. The big problem here is a diluted message of technical excellence and a bigger messages of interconnectedness to other systems. Someone still needs to build the middleware though.
  • The next thing I expect to see is those recruiters go after people at mobile companies. The same way the bastards scavenged the carcass of every security company in the earlier part of the 2000s, and the same way that Auburn’s, Alabama’s and LSU’s assistant coaching staffs got hit after each of their recent national titles, I would fully expect top brass at all mobile companies to start trading places, or getting acquired by other companies. These will range from going to work for competitors, to going to work for resellers to going to work for other industries that want that level of innovation. The architect of Apple Retail now works where?
  • The consumerization of the technology is going to be driving many of the best and brightest into larger IT. This will mostly mean taking those puppet, cfengine and custom python hackeration skills to another platform. It’s regrettable, but I could easily see it happen to the top tier of people, as we’ve seen it happen a few times already. But sticking with the platform and finding the niches that allow for working with these devices is likely still a good way to go, or at least, staying close. Keep in mind, you’ll be the senior fellows of the platform if you’ve already been around for a few years…

But here’s the thing about all of this. It doesn’t have to be bad. If we all keep our eyes wide open about what’s going on around us the continued influx of massive amounts of money isn’t going to be a bad thing. Basically, our opportunities will explode over the next few years. If we learn our lessons from the dot com era, from COMDEX, from the rise of info sec, then we’ll stay off the coke, not buy really fast cars and remain engaged. I hope not to look at this as I’ve looked at other revolutions in the past. While he wasn’t much of a computer geek, Hunter S. Thompson put it into words best:

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.