How to use iPhone Configuration Utility to manage school iPads with Windows. No Mac required.

I often get asked whether it is possible to manage school iPads with Windows. An iMac or Macbook is a big additional cost for many schools, so many people would like to know whether there is a Windows alternative to Apple Configurator.

The answer is, yes, you can manage iPads with Windows, but you may decide it’s easier just to buy a Mac! Let’s take a look at Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility for Windows.

Managing iPads with Windows

iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU) is a free application for Windows and Mac that allows you to install configuration profiles and apps on iOS devices. Despite the name, iPhone Configuration Utility works with iPad, Apple TV, and iPod Touch as well as iPhone. As you will see, however, iPCU is not a replacement for Apple Configurator, although it does have some overlapping features.


iPhone Configuration Utility is essentially a cut down version of Apple Configurator. It allows you to create and apply configuration profiles and apps to iPads, but does not contain many of the core features that makes Apple Configurator such a useful tool for managing iPads.

Most of the same configuration profile settings are available, but because iPCU can’t supervise iPads, options which require device supervision are not available. If you’ve used Apple Configurator you’ll be familiar with the settings available:

  • General Settings
  • Passcode Setting
  • Restriction Settings
  • WiFi Settings
  • VPN Settings
  • E-Mail Settings
  • Exchange ActiveSync Settings
  • LDAP Settings
  • CalDav Settings
  • Subcribed Calendars Settings
  • CardDav Settings
  • WebClip Settings
  • Credentials Settings
  • SCEP Settings
  • MDM Settings
  • APN Settings

iPhone Configuration Utility also has other limitations, which make Apple Configurator the preferred choice for most. It can’t, for example, password protect profiles from being removed, backup your iPad data, supervise iPads, or bulk install volume purchased apps. iPCU is really designed for businesses to distribute settings to employees where they can rely on the end user installing and managing the profile themselves.

Apple Configurator vs iPhone Configuration Utility

 Apple ConfiguratoriPhone Configuration Utility
Can create iOS configuration profilesYesYes
Can automatically update iOS and configuration profilesYesNo
Can backup devicesYesNo
Can apply configuration profiles and apps to multiple iPads at onceYesNo
Can run on WindowsNoYes
Configuration profiles can be password protected to prevent removalYesNo
Can supervise iPadsYesNo
Range of configuration profile options availableAll optionsLimited options

iPhone Configuration Utility can apply settings to multiple iPads, but not synchronously as you can with Apple Configurator. Although you can connect multiple iPads at once applying settings and apps using iPCU is a much more manual process.

Although no official confirmation has been released it appears Apple considers iPhone Configuration Utility a legacy application. The Mac version hasn’t been updated since January 2013, and the Windows version is nearly a year older than that. Also, neither version has been updated to support iOS 7 which limits the application’s use and doesn’t allow for the use of iOS 7 specific features such as Web Content Filtering.

Overall iPhone Configuration Utility provides the core functionality of Apple Configurator without the bulk management features. If you’re looking at using iPads in your school Apple Configurator is worth the additional investment, especially if you are buying more than a few iPads.

Find out more about Apple Configurator here.

Download iPhone Configuration Utility for Windows

Download iPhone Configuration Utility for Mac


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. Just for your information, “Configuration profiles can be password protected to prevent removal” should be possible even with iPCU. It’s part of standard configuration property. Though Apple configurator provide settings for supervise only config also. Thanks.

    • Profile photo of Karl Rivers

      Hi Alex,

      All software which allows you to create configuration profiles has the option to password protect the profile, but only Apple Configurator will allow you to prevent the user removing the global profile. Every system we’ve tested, including high-end MDMs, cannot prevent the end user removing a configuration profile. This is by design and is an issue we have raised with Apple.


  2. Shudda-gone-surface on

    Sorry to crash whats a great read with a tech support cry for help but I’m really needing some support.

    After reading this article I’ve pulled down the iPCU software (running Server 2012 here) and it’s detected the fact I’ve got an iPad attached, great.
    I’ve set a bunch of settings under configuration such as WIFI etc, great.
    But can I get it to install onto said iPad, no. I’m clearly missing something here and my Console says a whole bunch of code to do with unable to connect.
    I want to setup a Provisioning profile but clicking Add invites me to open one – I dont have one. How do I make one?
    I want to put an app on to test deployment, “open” prompt as above, how/where do I find an app to download?

    iPads are totally foreign to me I’ve been thrown a Charge-n-Sync trolley of them and is expected by the client to perform a small miracle in an hour!

    Is there a forum you can point me towards for some more help please.

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