Endpoint Central enables IT admins to integrate and add devices to Apple Business Manager (ABM) to simplify the bulk onboarding of devices in the organization. This document provides the steps to manage devices using Apple Business Manager.
Apple Business Manager (ABM) is free Apple portal that enables enterprises to simplify and automate the bulk management and deployment of corporate Apple devices, including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS devices. Similar to Apple Business Manager (ABM), Apple also offers Apple School Manager (ASM) a dedicated service for schools to simplify the management of Apple devices used for education.
Apple Business Manager (ABM) was previously known as Apple Device Enrollment Program (Apple DEP) and users can automatically or manually add devices to Apple DEP for over-the-air management.
Ensure the following pre-requisites are met to enroll Apple devices using Apple Business Manager (ABM) enrollment:
In case of devices purchased neither from Apple directly nor from its authorized resellers, you can still add devices to Apple Business Manager (provided they're running or capable of running iOS 11.0 or later versions) as explained here.
NOTE: The steps mentioned in this document are also applicable to the Apple School Manager portal.
The process of managing with Apple Business Manager first starts, when your organization purchases Apple devices from Apple or from Apple authorized resellers. You have to log into your Apple Business Manager account. If you already have an account with Device Enrollment Program, you can migrate to Apple Business Manager by following the prompts available on your DEP portal. You have to register MDM with the Apple Business Manager portal. Once you have registered the MDM server, secure communication is enabled between the MDM server and the Apple portal. This is used to synchronize the details of devices, purchased by your organization. When you find the devices synced from the Apple portal, you can assign it to users. Whenever the devices are activated, all restrictions and configurations imposed using MDM are automatically installed on all your devices over-the-air (OTA). By configuring ABM, you can ensure all the organization's devices are managed by MDM by default as soon as they are activated.
If you do not have an ABM account, you can create one here. To know your DUNS number (which is one of the prerequisites), refer to this. You can also refer to this document to fully understand Apple Business Manager.
After creating your organization's Apple ID and deployment account by following the steps mentioned in the ABM Program Guide, you need to carry out the steps outlined below, to seamlessly enroll and manage your organization's corporate Apple devices into MDM using Apple Business Manager enrollment.
First, you need to link the MDM server to your organization's ABM account. For this:
Using Apple Business Manager you can automatically assign the purchased devices to particular servers once they have been added to the portal. Additionally, you can select different servers based on the type of device being enrolled. It is recommended to assign different types of devices to different servers. All of these servers can be integrated and managed using MDM. To select a default server for a particular type of device-
One of the advantages of adding devices like iPhones, macBooks and iPads to Apple Business Manager is that these devices can be enrolled without any user interaction. Learn how to add devices to ABM from the steps below.
There are two methods available to add devices into Apple Business Manager. IT admins can use any of the following methods to add devices to Apple Business Manager:
Read on to find out how to add devices to Apple Business Manager using reseller details or manually.
To add devices to Apple Business Manager, the reseller details must be added to the ABM portal. So every time devices are purchased from the same reseller, the devices are added to the ABM portal and in turn, to the MDM server due to the integration of the ABM portal with the MDM server.
Note: On ABM, only the Administrator or Device Manager roles can add the reseller details.
After linking your MDM Server to the Apple Business Manager (ABM) portal, if you have devices purchased before integrating the portals, you can add devices to Apple Business Manager by following the steps mentioned below:
The Apple devices are now added to the MDM server, automatically.
On adding devices to MDM using Apple Business Manager enrollment, all the devices are enrolled successfully. Before the enrollment is complete, you have to configure the settings to be applied to the devices, on device activation. You can create and apply these settings to all your devices at one go, by following the steps mentioned below:
|Sign in with Apple ID and iCloud
|Select to skip Apple ID and iCloud sign in by the user during setup. This does not restrict the user from signing in once the device setup is completed.
|Touch ID Setup
|Select to skip Touch ID configuration during setup. The user can, later on, configure the Touch ID after completing the device setup.
|Select to omit a user prompt to send diagnostic data to Apple during device setup.
|Select to skip the Display Tone setup assistant screen during device setup.
|Select to disable Location Services during setup. If disabled, Location Services are turned off. The user can modify the location settings after completing the device setup.
|Select to prevent users from setting up a Passcode during the setup assistant process. This can be skipped if a passcode profile is distributed through MDM.
|Select to prevent users from setting up an Apple Pay account in the setup assistant. This does not restrict the user from configuring it once the device setup is completed.
|Select to omit the Privacy screen during the setup assistant process.
|Restore backup from old device
|Select to restrict user from restoring iCloud / iTunes backup to device.
|Terms and Conditions
|Select to disable the Terms and Conditions step during device setup. If disabled, the Terms and Conditions are accepted by default.
|Select to restrict the user from configuring Siri during device setup. If restricted, Siri is turned off. This does not restrict the user from configuring it once the device setup is completed.
|Select to omit the Zoom functionality step during device setup.
|Restore from Android device
|Select to prevent users from restoring back up from an Android device.
|Select to prevent users from choosing a keyboard type during device setup.
|Home Button Sensitivity
|Select to allow users to enroll devices without configuring the Home button sensitivity during setup.
|iMessage and FaceTime
|Select to skip the iMessage and FaceTime prompt during the setup assistant process. This does not restrict the user from configuring the same once the device setup is completed.
|New feature highlights
|Select to skip on-boarding informational screens for user education during the setup assistant process (“Cover Sheet, Multitasking & Control Center”, for example).
|Select to prevent informing users about Screen Time during device setup.
|Mandatory software updates
|Select to skip the Mandatory software update screen during the setup assistant process.
|Select to prevent users from viewing options for Watch Migration during the device setup.
|Select to skip the Choose your Look screen during mac setup.
|Select to prevent users from configuring a FileVault account during device setup. It is recommended to configure and distribute a FileVault Encryption profile through MDM.
|Select to omit a user prompt to send diagnostics to iCloud during device setup.
|Select to skip iCloud Documents and Desktop screen during device setup.
|Select to restrict user from registering the device with Apple during setup.
|Select to allow users to enroll a tvOS device without configuring a screensaver. This does not restrict the user from configuring the same once the device setup is completed.
|Tap to Setup
|Select to skip the option of setting up Apple TV using an associated iOS device (user needs to enter the account information and setting choices separately).
|Home screen layout sync
|Select to prevent users from toggling the TV home screen layout during device setup.
|TV Provider SignIn
|Select to prevent users from signing in to a TV provider during setup.
|Where is this Apple TV? Screen
|Select to omit the Where is this Apple TV step on tvOS devices during setup.
As imaging for deploying Mac devices has been stopped by Apple, MDM provides a quicker and more efficient means of deployment by automating the creation of a local admin account on device activation. The local admin account created on the device has the following benefits:
To configure a local admin account, enable Mac Account Settings and provide the required fields the details of which have been given below.
|Specify a name for the local admin account to be created on the Mac device.
|Specify a username to identify your account.
|A password can be set for the admin account which can be modified when needed.
|Hide admin account
|You can optionally hide the local admin account on the Mac device, if you do not want users to see the account while assisting them. Enabling this, hides the admin account on the login screen and also completely hides it further. Hiding the account keeps it safe from prying eyes.
|Allow users to create additional accounts on activation
|You can configure the type of user account on Mac machines. The privileges for Standard account type include installing apps at the user level and modifying their settings. Standard account users cannot add other users or modify other user's accounts. If Administrator is chosen, the user can add and manage other users, install apps at both system and user level, as well as modify settings.
Click Create. Now, the configurations and settings get applied to the devices.
After creating the ABM profile and applying it to devices, you can choose to Sync Devices by navigating to Enrollment-> Apple -> Apple Enrollment (ABM/ASM). On syncing, all devices get automatically listed on the MDM console.
Only when the devices are activated by the users, the enrollment process is complete and the devices are listed under Enrollment-> Devices.
In case the devices are not new, the devices should be factory reset, in order to be configured using ABM.
You can assign all the devices to individual users manually by navigating to Enrollment -> Apple -> Apple Enrollment (ABM/ASM) -> Devices. The alternate and easier option is to add users through a CSV file. You can also automate user assignment if you are using on-premises MDM version. Automated user assignment ensures the users are authenticated and self-assigned when the device is enrolled. This option must be enabled when ABM is configured or if already configured, you can enable the option from ABM settings. The only pre-requisite is, Active Directory must be configured in MDM. When enrolling the device using ABM auto-assignment, the user name to be provided on the device must be in the format: domain name\user name.
While assigning the users to devices, these devices can also be added to groups to automate the distribution of apps, profiles, and documents to devices. The devices can also be simultaneously added to multiple groups while assigning users.
Supervision Identity contains the identity of the organization that manages the device and hence is unique to every organization. This identity is associated with the supervised devices during enrollment via ABM/ASM. The host Mac machine that has the matching supervision identity certificate installed will be considered supervising Mac and USB Access to supervised devices will be restricted only to the supervising Mac. Hence installing the supervision identity certificate on a Mac machine lets you authenticate and trust the machine, allowing you to securely pair iOS/iPadOS devices enrolled using ABM with them, even if USB pairing is restricted on the devices.
You have now successfully imported the certificate to your Mac machine and the imported certificate will be listed under My Certificates in Keychain Access app.
Once the supervision identity is associated with a device, it cannot be changed later. Hence, the devices will need to be erased and re-enrolled if you are regenerating the certificate. Thus, ensure to download and have a back up of the existing certificate to pair your currently managed devices with Mac machines if you are regenerating the certificate. Only the devices enrolled after regenerating the certificate can be paired using the new certificate
To unmanage the device, the admin must remove the device from the MDM server. Once the device is removed from the MDM server, the device is automatically removed from the ABM portal.
The devices that are enrolled with one ABM account cannot be enrolled in another. Therefore, these devices must be removed from the first ABM account before enrolling into another. Follow the steps given below to remove the devices from the ABM portal.
To remove the devices, always select Unassign device and not Release device. Release device should be used only if the device is lost or permanently damaged and will never be part of any workforce. Releasing devices is a non-reversible action and once disowned the device can never be part of an organization.
The option to add MDM servers is available only when you have the Device Manager role assigned to you. Make sure the administrator has assigned the Device Manager role to you. Also, check if the admin has agreed to Apple's terms and conditions. To learn more about role management and the difference between roles in ABM and other Apple Deployment Programs, refer to Roles in ABM user guide.
Check if the device has been enrolled in the MDM server using an enrollment method other than ABM. Remove the device from management, reset the device and sync again with the server. The device is listed on under Enrollment -> Apple -> Apple Enrollment (ABM/ASM) -> Devices.
Check your network connectivity. Also, check if the MDM server is reachable using the browser of another device in the same network.
Check your network connectivity. You can also try restoring the device which re-downloads the configurations. Once the device is restored, try enrolling it again.
Check your network connectivity. Also, check if the server certificate was copied correctly to the forwarding server while configuring it.
Check your network connectivity. Also, check if the MDM server is reachable using the browser of another device in the same network. If not, make the required changes to the server's NAT settings.
This error is shown if the device is either not eligible for ABM enrollment or is either already enrolled or owned by another organization. Add the device to the correct ABM portal based on the device owner.
This error is shown if the device is unable to contact the ABM server. Factory reset the device and proceed until the Wi-Fi configuration step. Prepare the device using Apple Configurator and follow the steps for adding it to ABM.
When devices are enrolled to ABM using Apple Configurator, the devices will be initially listed under Apple Configurator tab even though they are added to the ABM portal. When the user assignment is complete, these devices will be moved to Managed devices tab.
If the technician who created the ABM server is removed from the MDM console, a new technician must be assigned to the ABM server in order to continue enrolling devices via ABM.