Apple School Manager (ASM)

Apple school manager (ASM) is a simple web-portal that combines the capabilities of Apple DEP and Apple VPP to manage devices, purchase content and create user accounts. ASM by Apple is available free of cost and is specifically designed for schools and educational institutions.

Apple School Manager bolsters the use of mobile devices in educational institutions by integrating with mobile device management solutions to allow automated deployment of device configurations and apps.

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

Need for Apple School Manager

Apple School Manager (ASM) serves multiple purposes for educational institutions that predominantly provide their students with iPads and Mac devices and also simplifies the provisioning of these devices. Some of the benefits of configuring Apple School Manager 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: Apple School Manager 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. Apple School Manager also enables provisioning devices without an Apple ID.
  • Simplified app and content distribution: Apple School Manager enables IT admins to seamless purchase and distribute apps and content on the students devices.
  • Integration with Apple Classroom app:Apple School Manager integrates with the Apple Classroom app and create virtual classes with students and their designated teachers.

Simplify Device Management with Apple School Manager

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 Apple School Manager with MDM solutions 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. 

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 Apple School Manager (ASM) with MDM and using 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 every year 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.

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. 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

    Add MDM server on Apple School Manager

    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

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

    Apple School Manager Server Token creation

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 Server Token

    Step 3: 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) 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. In addition to integrating with Apple School Manager, 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 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.