Apple Configurator

Apple Configurator allows you to “supervise” iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch. But what is a supervised iPad and why would use this feature?

It’s simplest to think of supervised iPads as school owned devices. Supervising an iPad gives you greater control over the device, allows you to better manage large numbers of iPads simultaneously, and prevents the user removing any settings or apps you apply.

Teachers or students may want to bring their personal iPad to use in school. You don’t want to supervise a personal device because the supervision process will factory reset the iPad erasing all data, apps, and settings. You can think of unsupervised iPads as the personal devices of teachers and students. You can still apply configuration profiles but the user can remove them as they wish — it is their iPad after all!

Using the “Supervise” tab in Apple Configurator, iPads can be grouped to make managing large number of iPads simpler.


School owned devices, particularly cart based iPads, should be supervised. Supervision allows you to apply settings and apps without the end user being able to remove them. It also gives us additional options which unsupervised devices do not allow such as:

  • Enabling or disabling AirDrop

  • Enabling or disabling iMessage

  • Enabling or disabling Siri Profanity Filter

  • Enabling or disabling iBooks Store

  • Enabling or disabling removing apps

  • Enabling or disabling installing configuration profiles

  • Enabling or disabling modifying account settings

  • Enabling or disabling the Find my Friends

  • Enabling or disabling connecting to non-Configurator computers

  • Enabling or disabling access to Game Centre

  • Applying a Global HTTP proxy

Configuration profiles applied to a supervised iPad via Apple Configurator can be prevented from being removed from an iPad. Profiles applied in other ways, such as by MDM, cannot.


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.


  1. Hi,

    Is there any news regarding deploying the free iWorks Apps through configurator suoervised devices?, we have purchased our devices after the september 1st.


  2. Supervision allows iPads to be completely erased to your original settings. This can be handy for resetting class sets at the end of the school year. It can also be used to re-assign an iPad from a student who left to a new student.

    However, what impact is there when a student breaks their iPad (cracked displays are common)? Does supervision get in the way of doing a backup/restore from a supervised iPad to a replacement iPad?

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