How to manage, schedule, or automate app updates for iOS, Android, Windows, and Chrome OS devices?


With many organizations deploying different mobile devices for better productivity, applications on devices are extremely important aspects of a business environment. Through MDM, a wide range of apps can be installed on employees' devices to improve accessibility and work productivity.

However, it is important to ensure that these apps are updated from time to time as:

  • running the older versions of the app might lead to app crashes or random restarts of the device.
  • the app update might be the patch for the existing security issue.
  • it might be the patch for the issue affecting your business productivity.

This involves updating multiple apps on all the devices in the organization, running on multiple platforms. The app management capabilities of Mobile Device Manager Plus, a mobile device management solution, make it possible to automate the large-scale distribution of app updates, across, Android, Windows, and Chrome OS. Additionally, you can test the app update before deploying it to your devices. Using Mobile Device Manager Plus, IT admins can holistically manage apps and their updates. App updates can also be scheduled to be deployed at a certain date, time and interval. With the App Update Policy feature, you can make sure that employees' devices remain up to date with recent app updates.

The controlled distribution of app updates ensures that:

  • issues/bugs in the updates do not affect the functionalities of the present version of the app.
  • issues in the updates do not disrupt your business productivity.

To manage the app updates for your devices, follow the steps given in this document.

Steps to view the apps added to MDM

  • Navigate to Device Mgmt on the MDM console and click on App Repository. All the apps added to MDM are listed here.
  • On clicking the App name, you can find granular details about the app such as the app version, the devices on which the app is present as well as details about app updates and app licenses.
  • You can also view the deployment status of the app to devices by clicking on App Distribution Status.

NOTE: The MDM server automatically syncs with each Store every 24 hours. If an app update is available, it will be notified on the MDM server in the App Repository view. You can also manually sync the Store with the MDM server, by clicking on Sync ABM Apps/ Sync Play Store Apps/ Sync Business Store Apps from the App Repository, to fetch the details of any recently purchased/approved apps as well as the app updates.

Distributing app updates to specific devices

While it is important to ensure apps on the devices are updated, it is equally important to distribute perfectly tested app updates. This is because the app update could have an issue causing an adverse impact on your business productivity or a compatibility issue with the OS running on the device might crop up post-deployment. It is thus recommended to test the app update on a single device or on specific devices and only if the functionality of the app update is satisfactory, proceed with the deployment to groups. You also may want certain apps' updates to reach a set of devices before the rest of the production environment.

Follow the steps given below to distribute app updates to selected devices.

  • Click the App name under the App Repository tab.
  • Click on Distributed Devices shown right next to Yet to distribute updates. The list of devices to which the app was previously distributed will appear.
  • Click on the Update button shown next to the devices, on which the app is to be updated. Configure the Update Type as required.
  • Click on Update App to complete the distribution of the app update.

Distributing app updates to specific Groups

You can distribute app updates to test groups or to specific groups of devices on which you want the latest version of the app to be present. Follow the steps given below to distribute app updates to selected groups.

  • Under Device Mgmt, click on Groups & Devices, and go to the Groups tab.
  • Select the groups to which the app update has to be distributed.
  • From the Action drop-down, choose Distribute Apps. It will list out all the apps which are available for distribution. If an update is available for an app, it will be marked.
  • Click on the updated version of the app.
  • Configure the Installation Type and click on Select.

Updating apps for all groups and devices

Once, the app updates have been tested, you can go ahead and distribute them to all your groups. Follow the steps given below to distribute app updates to all devices which have the previous version of the app:

  • Click the App name under the App Repository tab.
  • Once an update is available for the app, an Update All button appears below Yet to distribute updates. Click on the button to distribute the update to all the devices.
  • If you want the updated app to be manually installed on the device by the user, configure the Update Type as Manual installation from App Catalog. If you want the updated app to be installed silently, then select Install updates automatically.
  • Click on Update App to complete the distribution of the app update.

In the case of enterprise apps, the updated version app has to be uploaded on MDM. You can test the app update before you distribute it to your devices, which eliminates issues that arise due to bugs in the update.


Creating App Update Policies for scheduling app updates

Follow the given steps to create app update policies:

    • On the MDM server, navigate to Device Mgmt > App Update Policy > Create Policy.
    • After naming the policy, choose the required apps which need to follow the conditions given in this policy.
    • MDM supports this policy for Store apps, All apps added in MDM, or just for Specific apps alone.
    • Choose how app approval should take place. You can choose for apps to be be 'approved' as soon as MDM detects them, or you can just approve them before you .

    How update distribution takes place using the App Update policy

    • Apps can be updated either Immediately or using a Scheduled Window.
    • As the name suggests, the 'Immediately' option ensures that updates reach the devices as soon as MDM detects the app updates.
    • Whereas, if you want to distribute app updates at a certain date and time, click on the Scheduled Window. Now choose the Preferred Day(s)/ Preferred Time and Save the policy.

    This policy then has to be associated with Groups for devices to receive updates as per what you've configured.

    Refer to this document to learn more about configuring app update policies for in-house apps (enterprise apps)