What is Apple School Manager (ASM)?

Apple School Manager (ASM) is a free web based service provided by Apple that allows school admins to manage devices such as iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs from a unified console. As schools and other educations instituions have begun adopting mobile devices, Apple School Manager helps futher bolster the use of mobile devices. By integrating with mobile device management solutions, it also allows admins to deploy device configurations and distribute apps to the devices. 

Simplify Device Management with Apple School Manager

MDM solutions can double as Apple MDM for education by integrating with Apple School Manager (ASM) and allow educational institutions to make the most of Apple devices for education. By integrating with ASM, the MDM solution can help in simplifying the onboarding of devices, distribution of apps and content and also in securing the content on the devices. 

Benefits of integrating ASM with Mobile Device Manager Plus

Mobile Device Manager Plus (MDM) integrates with ASM to provide a solution to the specific device management needs of schools and other educational institutions. Here are the benefits of integrating ASM with Mobile Device Manager Plus and using it as an iPad management software for schools: 

  • Simplified device enrollment: Automate the process of bringing the devices under management by using the automated enrollment available with ASM. Refer this for the steps to enroll devices using the ASM Enrollment method
  • Distribute apps in bulk: Preconfigure the devices with all the required apps and content before handing the devices to the students. ASM allows admins to bulk purchase the required apps and manage the app licenses. This process of app distribution can further be automated by distributing apps to Groups.
  • Easy device deprovisioning: Most schools prefer reusing devices and handing the devices 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.

How to integrate Apple School Manager with MDM?

The first step to manage devices using ASM and an MDM solution is to integrate the two portals. Integration of ASM and MDM involves three major steps:

Downloading public key from MDM

  • On the MDM console, navigate to Enrollment -> Apple Enrollment (ABM/ASM).
  • Download the public key available on the screen.
  • Apple VPP/DEP login

Add MDM server on Apple School Manager

  • Login to ASM portal using an account with Administrator privilege
  • Click on Settings on the bottom left of the screen and click on Device Management Settings
  • Click on Add MDM Server and provide a name for the MDM server
  • Add MDM server on Apple School Manager

  • Upload the public key that was downloaded from MDM and click on Save to create the server token.
  • Creating Server Token in ASM

  • Download the server token by clicking on Download Server Token
  • Apple School Manager Server Token creation

Uploading the server token in MDM 

  • On the MDM sever, upload the server token that was downloaded from the ASM console
  • 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 Server Token

  • Configure the device activation settings as explained here to complete the integration process

Refer this document for a step by step explanation of the integration process.

Migrating from Apple VPP to ASM

Previously Apple provided two separate portals Apple DEP and Apple VPP for device and app management respectively. Recently, Apple has upgraded and combined both these portals into Apple Business Manager (ABM) and Apple School Manager (ASM). If you have an account for your schools 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, Apple has introduced the Classroom App that allows teachers to conduct classes using iPads. Mobile Device Manager Plus supports the Classroom App and also allows you to apply various configurations to the Classroom app that are specific to MDM solutions

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 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.