Enrolling iOS devices using Apple Configurator

What is Apple Configurator?

Apple Configurator is a utility tool designed to configure and enroll corporate-owned iOS devices in the enterprise through USB. It aids in automatic enrollment of iOS devices using MDM and pre-loading the devices with the associated profiles and distributed apps before handing them out to users. It makes the deployment process of corporate iOS devices easier and more efficient. You can also assign users to devices and supervise them. Administrators can enforce mobile security by importing existing profiles or creating new configuration profiles which are forced to the managed mobile devices. You can use Apple Configurator to enroll devices not purchased directly from Apple or its reseller with DEP as explained here.

Similarly, Mobile Device Manager Plus also supports enrollment of Apple TV using Apple Configurator. Follow the steps given here to enroll Apple TV using Apple Configurator.

Benefits of integrating MDM with Apple Configurator

The very essence of the integration of Mobile Device Manager Plus with Apple Configurator is mentioned below:

  1. Push predefined configurations for corporate iOS devices.

  2. Automatic enrollment with Mobile Device Manager Plus.

  3. Enroll devices in bulk.

  4. Advanced Control over the supervised devices. For more details on supervised devices and their benefits, refer this.

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How to enroll iOS devices using Apple Configurator?

Prerequisites for enrollment:

  1. To use Apple Configurator, ensure your Mac is running on 10.7 or later versions of operating systems.

  2. It is recommended to update your iTunes before installing the Apple Configurator Utility.

  3. Apple Configurator can be used only for devices running  iOS 6 or later versions. If any device with lower versions is used, then the Operating System of the devices are automatically upgraded to the latest.

  4. Wi-Fi profile is mandatory for enrolling new devices using Apple Configurator. Hence, ensure you configure Wi-Fi profile in the Configurator.

You can use Apple Configurator to enroll multiple devices at the same time. Follow the steps mentioned below to enroll multiple devices using Apple Configurator.

  1. Prepare Apple Configurator 2.0

  2. Enroll Devices

  3. Assign Users

Prepare Apple Configurator 2.0

After installing the Apple Configurator, you have to follow the steps mentioned below to Prepare Apple Configurator 2.0:

  1. On the Apple Configurator, click File, select New Profile and then select Wi-Fi. Do not modify any other profiles as this might clash with the MDM profiles.

  2. Create a Wi-Fi profile and save it.

  3. Click File and choose New Blueprint and name it.

  4. Open the newly created Blueprint and click Profiles, you have to add the newly created Wi-Fi profile (which was created in step #2).

  5. Right-click and choose Prepare as shown in the below image.

  6. Specify the Configuration Type as Manual. If you wish to add mobile devices into your Device Enrollment Program (DEP) portal, enable the Enable the Device Enrollment Program option. Learn how, from this document.

  7. Add the new server details by specifying the Server Name and Enrollment URL. Enrollment URL, which is configured in the MDM server.

  8. Trust anchor certificates are automatically added. If Apple Configurator takes too long to fetch anchor certificates, skip and proceed directly to the Assign to organization step by clicking on Next.

  9. Specify the name and details of the organization.

  10. Choose Generate a new supervision identity.

  11. If you had enabled the option to add devices to DEP, enter your DEP account credentials

  12. Configure iOS setup assistant by clicking Prepare.

    Once the configuration is done, connect the devices to a Mac through USB. Now in Apple Configurator, select the device, choose the created blueprint and add it to the device to be enrolled. Once this is done, the device restarts and the process is completed by accepting the created profile in the device. After completion, the device gets added to the MDM Server from where the device can be assigned to the user.

Enroll Devices

In order to enroll devices, you have to upload the ME MDM server URL on the Apple Configurator. You can find the URL, in the below-mentioned location:

  1. On the MDM Product server console, choose Enrollment
  2. Under iOS choose Apple Configurator
  3. Select Configure Apple Configurator, and select the Apple Configurator version. Navigate to the third slide and copy the URL. This is to be uploaded in Apple Configurator.
  4. On the Configurator, provide the URL which you have copied from the MDM server.

Assign Users

You can see all the devices are listed in the MDM server, under Apple Configurator. You can assign the devices to appropriate users. Once the users are assigned, you can see the devices listed under Managed devices view on the MDM server.

Troubleshooting Tips

  1. During device activation, you encounter the error "A cloud configuration is already present on this device."

    Connect the device back to Apple Configurator. Right-click the device and select Restore. This re-downloads configurations into the device and fixes the problem.

  2. While configuring the blueprint, you are prompted to enter the Apple ID and password and you are unable to skip this step.

    This is a default screen which appears while configuring a blueprint. You cannot skip this step if you have enabled the option to Add device to DEP portal in the first step. If you do not want to add the devices to DEP, uncheck the option and skip the step requesting for Apple credentials. Else, enter the DEP portal details and click on Next.

  3. When you choose Apply Configuration on Apple Configurator, you encounter a Session Time Out error.

    In this case, verify the Internet connectivity and retry applying configuration.

  4. While configuring the blueprint, the screen gets stuck on Fetching Anchor Certificates or if the Certificates are not fetched

    You can safely click on Next as this step does not affect the blueprint creation.

  5. You are trying to enroll a device and get an unexpected error with "Failed to retrieve IMEI".

    This error occurs when the device is already enrolled with Apple Configurator or when you enroll different types of devices like iPhones and iPads consecutively using Apple Configurator. Since an iPhone has an IMEI number (which is required for enrollment in some cases), it is automatically detected and the enrollment is completed. Since an iPad does not have an IMEI number this error is shown. Restore the device and try enrolling it again.
    NOTE: Certain iPads do have the IMEI number while enrolling which this error does not occur.

  6. You are trying to enroll a device and encounter the error "The device does not recognize the host".

    This error occurs when the restriction Allow iTunes pairing and other USB connections have been applied to the device. This restriction prevents the connection with all other devices except the one used for Supervising it. Remove the restriction from the device or enroll using the machine previously used for Supervising the device.

  7. If you are trying to enroll devices not purchased from Apple or authorized resellers.

    Apple now allows adding ios 11 devices not purchased directly from Apple or authorized resellers into DEP. Follow the steps given here to use Apple Configurator to add devices to DEP.

  8. While enrolling a device you encounter an error "An unexpected error has occurred. Invalid Profile [MCProfileErrorDomain - 0x3E8 (1000) ]

    This error occurs if the device is currently enrolled in a different MDM solution. Remove the device from the MDM solution, factory reset, and try enrolling the device again.

  9. This happens only if the device cannot be upgraded to iOS 11 (refer this to know the list of iOS devices supporting iOS 11) or the device needs to be upgraded to iOS 11 manually and then added to DEP/ABM/ASM via Apple Configurator.

  10. If you're trying to add a device to DEP/ABM/ASM via Apple Configurator and receive the error An unexpected error has occurred: The device returned an unexpected status. (CommandFormatError) [com.apple.configurator.MobileDeviceKit.error]

    This happens only if the device cannot be upgraded to iOS 11 (refer this to know the list of iOS devices supporting iOS 11) or the device needs to be upgraded to iOS 11 manually and then added to DEP/ABM/ASM via Apple Configurator.

  11. Unable to verify the server’s enrollment URL. A server with the specified hostname could not be found.

    This message is shown on Apple Configurator when the MDM server is not reachable or the correct host URL is not entered. Verify if the MDM server, the Mac machine running Apple Configurator, and the devices to be enrolled are in the same network. Also, ensure that the host URL which is available on the MDM server, is entered correctly.

See Also: Device Authentication, Enroll iOS Devices, Enroll Android Devices, Enroll Knox Devices, Enroll Windows Devices, Self Enrollment, Customize ME MDM App
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