iOS Device Group Management

Deploying Apps and iOS Managed App Configurations

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In this video segment, we see how to add apps from the Apple App Store and deploy them to managed iPhones and/or iPads. Also, we apply standard SimpleMDM configurations and add custom configurations to deployed apps.

Keywords

  • Apple
  • App Store
  • configurations
  • app
  • deploy
  • custom
  • manage
  • attributes
  • iPhone
  • iPad

About this video

Author(s)
Eric Butow
First online
20 December 2019
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4842-4407-4_2
Online ISBN
978-1-4842-4407-4
Publisher
Apress
Copyright information
© Eric Butow 2019

Video Transcript

Ann MacPhail: When you need to configure an app on one or more of your users’ iPhones or iPads, and you don’t want to configure the app on each device, you can manage an app configuration from within SimpleMDM provided the app meet several conditions that all discuss in this second topic video: Deploying Apps and iOS Managed App Configurations.

SimpleMDM allows you to configure settings in an individual app, not an entire group of apps. When you finished configuring the app settings, you can manage those settings for the app on one device or a group of devices. You can deploy three different types of iPhone and iPad apps with SimpleMDM. First, you can deploy public apps available in the Apple app store. Second, you can deploy apps purchased through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program or VPP for businesses. The VPP program allows you to purchase apps in volume for you to deploy to your iPhone and iPad users. If you use a custom iPhone or iPad app in your business, you probably have the app stored in an IPA archive file. SimpleMDM also allows you to deploy IPA files to your users. Here’s how.

Click Apps in the menu. In the App Catalog webpage, click the Add App button, click iOS/tvOS Enterprise App from the dropdown list. If you have another window open that contains the IPA file, drag the file from the window into the box on the Upload Enterprise Apps webpage. Otherwise, click on the click here link. Navigate to the correct folder in the open window, and then open the file you want to add. When you’re finished, click Done. Your custom iPhone and/or iPad app appears in the App Catalog list.

In this video, you’ll learn how to configure app settings for an app added from the app store and how to specify one or more attributes and add the value as well as the value type you may need to change when you configure an app. This video presumes that you’re already logged into your SimpleMDM administrator account. Before you start configuring an app, you need to confirm three things about the app.

First, that the app supports managed configurations. Second, the app was installed on an iPhone or iPad with SimpleMDM. You can check to see if the app is being managed in SimpleMDM by clicking the Device Name in the Devices list that appears when you first log into SimpleMDM. Then click Apps. Search for the app in the list and then see if the word yes appears under the managed column. The third and final thing to confirm is that you have the specific configuration keys and data types the app accepts. If you don’t have this information, check to see if this information is on the developer website. If not, contact the web developer directly to get this information to add to SimpleMDM.

This video also presumes that you’ve already installed the app with SimpleMDM and push the app to one or more devices you manage. Click Apps in the menu. Click the App Name in the list. If the app allows managed configuration, you see the manage configuration option on the screen above the app details. Click Managed Configuration. Here you can add configurations to your list. For each configuration you add to the app, you need that an attribute key in the Key column box. Select a value type in the Value Type column dropdown box, and then type the value in the Value column box. At the top of the list, move the mouse pointer over the attributes support box to view a list of standard attributes SimpleMDM support for string and string array value types. These types don’t apply to other value types like an integer or date. I’ll use the string value type in this video.

All attributes you type in the Key box must be within two curly brackets. SimpleMDM support custom attributes in which the custom attributes attribute is replaced with the actual attribute name used in the app. And I’ll show you an example of how to add a custom attribute later in this video. You can also use the following default attributes for iPhones, iPads, and even Mac computers. Many of the attributes were used to distribute a configuration to a specific device and you’ll need to add more than one key as you learned about later in this video to specify the IMEI/MEID and other information such as the iPhone serial number.

The attributes include the iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer name, the ICC ID used to identify the users’ iPhone or iPad SIM card, the iPhone, iPad or Mac Apple ID, the iPhone IMEI, the iPhone MEID, the iPhone, iPad or Mac computer model, the iPhone phone number, the iPhone, iPad or Mac serial number, the SimpleMDM device name for the iPhone, iPad or Mac, the iPhone UDID, the Mac computer’s Wi-Fi address.

For a custom attribute example, I’ll configure the Gmail app. That is the second most popular mobile email app in use with over 1 billion users according to the June 2018 Litmus Email analytics report at litmus.com. I’ll add the Gmail default signature variable. That is one of the keys you can add per the Gmail documentation available on the Google website. This means when your users use the Gmail app you manage, the default signature will appear automatically in every new email message they write. Add a new configuration by clicking the green add button below the list. A new entry appears at the bottom of the list if you have any other configurations listed. After you went to were variable in the Key Column box, click the string box in the Value Type column. Now select the data type in the dropdown list.

Finally, type the value for the key within the Value box. In this example, I’ve typed the text I want to use as the default signature. You can add as many keys as you need to set for the app by clicking the add button at the bottom of the key column and then repeat the steps for adding another configuration profile. For example, if you’re setting this Gmail default signature for a specific users’ iPhone, then you’ll want to add keys including the iPhone ICCID, IMEI, and other attributes that identify that iPhone. If you add a profile that you want to delete either now or in the future, open the app managed configuration webpage. Move the mouse pointer over the Value box, and then click the delete icon to the right of the box.

When you finished configuring your app, click Save. The webpage blinks, which means SimpleMDM has saved your configuration profile. The profile for your app still appears in your browser. After you save the profile, SimpleMDM pushes the profile to the specific iPhones and/or iPads you manage that contain the app. Now you can open the app on one or more of your managed iPhones or iPads and check the app to ensure it’s working as you expect.

If you want to send your configuration changes for an app to an entire group of iPhones and iPads such as VPN configuration settings, you can do so in the app assignment webpage. Start by clicking Apps in the menu and then clicking Assignment. Now add an app group by clicking the Add App group button. In the new app group webpage, type the name of the group in the Name box. Leave the Auto deploy checkbox checked, and then click Save. Select an app that contains your custom configuration by clicking the add box, and then selecting the VPN name from the dropdown list. The app you added appears under the add app box. Add the device group by clicking the add device group box, and then selecting the group you want to apply the app and its configuration to. The group name appears underneath the box.

If you haven’t distributed the app to your group, click Install Apps. If you already distributed your apps to the group and you want to update the apps with your new configuration changes, click Update Apps. SimpleMDM pushes your app and/or your configuration changes to your managed iPhones and iPads.