Until recently bulk installing iPad apps was a bit of a minefield when it came to licensing. You either had to use multiple accounts and make an individual purchase for each install or, more commonly, use a single Apple ID that could be used to install an application on multiple iPads — cheaper, but a legal grey area. The issue was so confusing that the advice from a number of Apple representatives that I spoke to was essentially, “pirate our software until we have a better solution.”
Now, however, there is a solution. Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme allows schools, colleges, and universities to bulk purchase iOS applications for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, many at a reduced cost.
You can easily browse the VPP store by visiting https://volume.itunes.apple.com/, however, before you purchase anything you’ll need to enroll your school to setup your account. You account can take a number of days to confirm — it appears that at least part of the process is manual — so please leave sufficient time to have your account enabled.
Enroll with the Volume Purchase Programme
- Visit the Enrolment website by clicking here. If you are outside Europe click here instead.
- Select your country and click continue:
- Sign in with an Apple ID. The account you sign in with will be permentaly associated with the VPP licensing for your organisation and will be a “master” account for all purchases and be used to manage any additional accounts added to the system. For these reasons it is advisable to create a fresh Apple ID to use with VPP.
- Complete the rest of the information for your organisation. Most of this is straight forward.
When we registered for an account it took approximately three days to receive the confirmation email that the account had been set up.
Once you are registered for the VPP you can manage you can create additional facilitator accounts — for example, if you want to delegate control of installing apps to a teacher in a lab — by visiting https://edu-vpp.apple.com/asvpp_manager/.
So, we now have our VPP account set up, how do we go about purchasing apps?
By visiting the Volume Purchase Programme for Education Store you can easily browse and purchase iOS apps from within a web browser. Purchasing is simply a case of searching for the app you require and entering the quantity of installs needed.
In the image below I’ve searched for iMovie:
The application page gives the cost of purchasing the selected app as well as any savings for bulk purchases. In this case purchasing more that 20 units reduces the cost of each install to £1.49 from the usual price of £2.99.
Any bulk purchase reductions are on a per app basis and are set by the application developer.
Clicking Checkout takes you to a screen which allows you to select your method of payment.
Once a purchase has been completed you will be presented with the following screen which confirms your order:
After a few minutes you will receive a confirmation email with a link to download an XLS file — in this case the file was named iMovie.xls. This file contains license codes for the purchased app which can then be imported into either Apple Configurator or an MDM service when pushing out the apps to devices.
If you’d like to find out how to distribute apps using Apple Configurator take a look at this article. If you’d like to find out more about Apple Configurator itself, click here.