Configuring centrally managed iPads for the first time can be confusing. What is the best way to set up an iPad for a teacher, a student, or a BYOD device while still securing school data and applications? This guide details how to set up a school owned iPad for use by a teacher.

Setting up an iPad in this way provides the following benefits:

  1. The teacher can purchase and install their own personal apps.
  2. The school can distribute apps and books purchased under Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme and, more importantly, claim them back for redistribution later.
  3. The teacher can customise the iPad as if it where their own while still allowing the school to enforce settings such as WiFi configuration and passcodes.
  4. You can prevent data leakage through iCloud.

Note: This procedure can only be carried out on iPads supervised by Apple Configurator. The iPad should either be brand new or factory reset before following this guide.

Preparing the iPad

Turn on the iPad. The grey iPad unlock screen will be displayed. Do not enter any of the set up information at this point. We need to supervise the iPad through Apple Configurator and apply any configuration profiles before the iPad set up process is completed.

Connect the iPad to a Mac running Apple Configurator. Apple Configurator should detect that there’s an unprepared iPad and display a number above the Prepare icon at the top of the screen.

Preparing the iPad

In the Name box enter a relevent name and tick the “Number sequentially”  box. If you choose the name “Teacher”, for example, and have more than one iPad, they will be automatically named “Teacher 1”, “Teacher 2” etc.

Make sure Supervision is set to On.

Create a management profile by clicking the + icon and configure the settings to your requirements.

Creating a Management Profile

You will probably want to include the following in your management profile as a minimum:

  • Wifi and proxy server connection settings to prevent the teacher having to do any manual configuration. If the teacher will be using the iPad outside of school do not use the HTTP Global Proxy option as this enables the proxy settings for all network connections.
  • An MDM profile for remote management.
  • Passcode requirements
  • Do not restrict the App Store.

Adding Apps

To push out apps to the iPad click the Apps tab at the top of the screen. From here you can click the + button and add any applications your require. For more instructions on how to do this take a look at our iPad add installation guide.

Adding Apps

Done!

Once you are happy with your configuration click the Prepare button at the botton of the screen. The iPad will now be configured for use and updated to the latest version of iOS.

Apple Configurator

The iPad can then be handed to the teacher without further configuration to allow them to go through the consumer set up process themselves. This gives the teacher the opportunity to enter their personal Apple ID and sync any of their personal apps or information.

From this point on the iPad will act as a consumer bought device other than the settings you have pushed to it through the management profile. But because this is a supervised iPad you can at any time plug it back into Apple Configurator and install volume purchased apps, adjust the settings, carry out backups, or reassign the iPad to another user without loss of data.

You also have the advantage of being able to remove apps purchased via Apple’s VPP and reuse them on other iPads simply by reconnecting the iPad to your Mac and unassigning them.

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About Author

Profile photo of Karl Rivers

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.

6 Comments

  1. Karl, really appreciate this guide and the other info on this site. It is very helpful. When managing teacher iPads in this way, how are the apps, distributed via apple Configurator, updated vs. the apps the teacher purchases. Thanks, Aaron

  2. Hi Karl,
    Thx a lot for all your guides. I realize how much work this must have been. They really helped me preparing for the introduction of iPads on a school I provide Mac consultancy services for.

  3. Can you tell me how to backup iPads that are supervised on Configurator? iTunes doesn’t work with Configurator managed iPads – Apple confirmed this. Someone at Apple Education support tried to walk me through backing up on Configurator, but that did not save photos or data, or any teacher added apps. I’m not finding it as simple as the article states. I thought I had it figured out, using Preferences on Configurator, but when we updated to 8.0, everything was deleted.

  4. Greetings from Finland! This guide has been very useful, even though we have been waiting for El Capitan and Apple Configurator 2 before we set up the iPads in our school network.

    I was just wondering — if there are 10 iPads in a cart for the class to use, is there any value for reserving and configuring one of the tablets as a “Teacher iPad” instead of letting the kids use all ten? Are there any apps with a separate “teacher version”?

    If the only point for setting up a teacher device is to enable the teacher to use the SAME apps his/her students use, it seems the students would profit more from one extra student device. If there are supervisor or tutor features available in some apps, the resource use becomes more justified.

    Any thoughts are appreciated. 🙂

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