Apple Configurator

Apple Configurator is an application, available for free from the Mac App Store, which allows you to push out settings, images, security profiles, and applications to multiple iOS devices. Apple Configurator does not work on Windows like its predecessor, the iPhone Configuration Utility, so you will need an Apple Mac or Macbook to utilise it.

What’s The Difference Between Apple Configurator and Mobile Device Management?

While Mobile Device Management solutions (MDM) and Apple Configurator have some overlapping features both systems also have their own unique benefits. In some cases you may find that only one soltution is required, in others both Apple Configurator and MDM can be used to compliment each other. Schools with pooled iOS devices are one area where using both is advantageous.

Apple Configurator is best used:

  • To maintain similar applications and settings across multiple iPads
  • Install updates to iOS or bulk install applications without manual configuration
  • To manage iPads which require a consistent set of applications and settings across each device

Apple Configurator is not appropriate for:

  • Using with non-school owned devices for BYOD management as supervised devices are erased as part of the supervision process. An MDM solution would be more suitable for this use.

The primary advantage of Apple Configurator over MDM solutions is that the security settings are unable to be removed by the end user. Apple’s MDM API requires that security profiles pushed out by this method are removable and as a result are not able to be password protected.

Supervising iOS devices with Apple Configurator also permits MDM solutions to control a number of additional iOS features, such as global HTTP proxy, and some additional application restrictions.

Apple Configurator associates all supervised iOS devices to a specific Mac computer, and they can only be configured in the future through this Mac when connected by a USB cable. Up to 30 iPads can be connected and configured at one time.

Apple has produced an informational, if slightly stilted, video going through some of the features of Apple Configurator.

Next week I will be posting an article going through Apple Configurator in some depth and demonstrating some of the most useful features. Check back then!

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About Author

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Karl is an award winning Director of IT for the Royal Grammar School Guildford, based near London, England. He has been working in education for more than ten years and founded ClassThink in 2013 to share technology best practice with other schools. In 2014 he won the NAACE Impact Award for support services in schools, and writes edtech articles for Education Executive Magazine.

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