Apple School Manager (ASM) for Educational Institutions

Apple School Manager (ASM) is a free web-based tool simplifies the enrollment, deployment, and management of Apple devices used for education. Apple School Manager also enables the over-the-air distribution of learning apps and content to these devices, and even enables classroom devices to be configured to function a specific way. Apple School Manager helps educational institutions to manage Apple devices by combining the capabilities of Apple DEP and Apple VPP into a single platform. Apple School Manager bolsters the use of Apple devices like iPads and Macs in schools and other educational institutions by integrating with mobile device management solutions (MDM) to allow zero-touch enrollment and the automated deployment of device configurations and apps. Apple School Manager is essentially a tool that enables Apple devices to be used safely by students for education within their learning environments.

This Apple School Manager (ASM) guide covers the following:

How to integrate Apple School Manager (ASM) with MDM?

The first step to manage devices using Apple School Manager and an MDM solution is to integrate the two portals. This integration also allows your iOS/iPadOS devices to be enrolled into MDM through Apple School Manager. The integration of Apple School Manager and MDM involves three major steps:

Downloading public key from MDM

Step 1: On the MDM console, navigate to Enrollment -> Apple Enrollment (ABM/ASM).

Step 2: Select Enroll devices for school for initiating the integration with ASM. You can select Enroll devices for business if you're an enterprise and have an account with Apple Business Manager.

Step 3: Download the public key available on the screen.

Add mobile device management (MDM) servers in Apple School Manager

Step 1: Login to Apple School Manager (ASM) portal using an account with Administrator privilege

Step 2: Click on Settings on the bottom left of the screen and click on Device Management Settings

Step 3: Click on Add MDM Server and provide a name for the MDM server

Adding MDM server on ASM (Apple School Manager) after login to the ASM portal, to integrate and use Apple devices for education

Step 4: Upload the public key that was downloaded from MDM and click on Save to create the server token.

Creating Server Token in ASM (Apple School Manager) to facilitate the integration of MDM with the ASM portal

Step 5: Download the server token by clicking on Download Server Token

Apple School Manager (ASM) Server Token creation and download, after login to facilitate ASM integration with MDM

Uploading the server token in MDM 

Step 1: On the MDM sever, upload the server token that was downloaded from the ASM console

Step 2: The server token has a validity period of 1 year after which it needs to be renewed. Provide the email address for expiry notification

Uploading Apple School Manager (ASM) Server Token to the MDM server, to complete ASM and MDM integration and enable using Apple devices for education

Step 3: Configure the device activation settings as explained here to complete the Apple School Manager and Mobile Device Manager Plus integration process

Refer this document for a step by step explanation of the integration process and how to add devices to Apple School Manager.

Syncing with Apple School Manager

If needed a sync can be initiated from the Mobile Device Manager Plus server under Enrollment -> Apple Enrollment(ABM/ASM). Once this is done, devices added to Apple School Manager will appear on the MDM server console ready to be managed.

Assigning users to devices

Users can be assigned to devices individually or in bulk, through a CSV file. User assignment can also be automated by integrating Active Directory with Mobile Device Manager Plus.

Need for Apple School Manager

Apple School Manager (ASM) serves multiple purposes for educational institutions that predominantly provide their students with iPads and MacBooks while also simplifying the provisioning of these devices. Some of the benefits of configuring Apple School Manager for education are:

Provisioning Shared iPads: For institutions that provide a single iPad to multiple students, Apple School Manager enables provisioning them as shared iPads which ensure complete data security and user privacy.

Managed Apple ID: It creates a Managed Apple ID for all the students added to the Apple School Manager program which provides them access to multiple Apple services such as iCloud, iTunes and Shared iPad. It also enables provisioning devices without an Apple ID.

Simplified app and content distribution: It enables IT admins to seamless purchase and distribute apps and content on the students devices.

Integration with Apple Classroom app: It integrates with the Apple Classroom app and allows to create virtual classes with students and their designated teachers.

Simplify Device Management with Apple School Manager

Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions also function as Apple MDM for education, by integrating with Apple School Manager(ASM) and allow educational institutions to make the most of Apple devices. The benefit of integrating ASM with MDM solutions or iPad management software for schools is that it enables admins to simplify the onboarding of devices, distribution of resources such as apps and content, and also secure the content on the devices. Integrating Apple School Manager with a Mobile Device Management solution enables the solution to serve as a good Apple Classroom management software.

Benefits of integrating ASM with Mobile Device Manager Plus

Mobile Device Manager Plus is an MDM tool for schools and enterprises that integrates with ASM to provide a solution to the specific device management needs of schools and other educational institutions. Here's why you should integrate Apple School Manager Plus with MDM to use it as an iPad management software for schools: 

  • Simplified device enrollment: Automate the process of bringing devices under management by using the automated, out-of-the-box enrollment available with Apple School Manager. Refer this for the steps to enroll Apple devices using the ASM Enrollment method.
  • Distribute apps in bulk: Preconfigure the devices with all the required apps and content before handing devices to students. Apple School Manager allows admins to bulk purchase the required apps and manage app licenses. This process of app distribution can further be automated by distributing apps to Groups. IT admins can also manage the app updates of apps purchased using ASM.
  • Easy device deprovisioning: School usually purchase devices and reuse it by handing it to different students every year. Admins can simply move devices between Groups to automatically remove the data and apps shared from MDM and add the required data based on the new Group.

Migrating from Apple VPP to ASM

Previously Apple provided two separate portals, namely Apple DEP and Apple VPP for device and app management respectively. Apple has now upgraded and combined both these portals into Apple Business Manager (ABM) for enterprises and Apple School Manager (ASM) for educational institutions. If you have an account for your institution in the older portal, you can migrate your devices and apps by following the steps given here.

Classroom App

In addition to simplifying the management of devices used in schools with Apple School Manager (ASM), Apple has introduced the Classroom App that allows teachers to conduct classes using iPads. To provide a holistic classroom experience, you can also deploy additional configuration settings for Apple Classroom using MDM. These configurations for Apple Classroom  are specific to MDM solutions and cannot be used if schools manually setup the Apple Classroom app.

With the Classroom App teachers can:

  • Remotely view the students' devices without requesting for their permission.
  • Remotely lock devices to specific apps while ensuring no other apps are accessed while the classes are being conducted
  • Share educational content to students' devices using AirDrop.
  • Prevent students' from leaving the class without permission.

For more information about the features supported with the Classroom app, refer this.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Is apple school manager free?
  2. Yes, Apple School Manager is a free platform provided by Apple specifically for educational institutions, offering robust Apple device management for schools. By combining Apple School Manager with an MDM solution like ManageEngine Mobile Device Manager Plus, educational institutions can achieve a streamlined and efficient Apple device management process.

  3. What is the cost of apple school manager (ASM)?
  4. Apple School Manager is a free web-based portal that is aimed at simplifying the management of the Apple devices used within educational institutions. It allows schools, colleges, and universities to manage their Apple devices, create and distribute content, manage Apple IDs, and more.