Apple School Manager is Apple’s newly offered service that lets you manage your School devices better and more efficiently than ever before. Apple wanted to make it easier for your school to buy content from the App Store, configure device enrollment automatically within your mobile device management (MDM) solution, as well as create and manage staff, faculty, and student accounts.
Apple School Manager is accessible from anywhere on the web. That means that technology managers and IT administrators, for whom this product is designed, can manage all of Apple devices within your school without even having to physically be onsite. This is fantastic news for schools who qualify and are set up for this excellent program. But many schools, perhaps yours as well, are unfortunately, left out.
Wait, Why Wouldn’t My School Be Able to Use Apple School Manager?
There are several reasons that a device might not be eligible for this great solution. Prior to enrolling, the following conditions* must be met in order to enroll devices in Apple School Manager:
- The device must have been ordered after March 1, 2011, whether it was purchased directly from Apple or from a participating Apple Authorized Reseller or carrier.
- If the device was purchased directly from Apple, the purchaser must have used an enrolled and verified Apple customer number.
- If the device was purchased directly from a participating Apple Authorized Reseller or carrier, the device must be linked to that reseller’s Apple reseller number. The actual date of eligibility is determined by the participating Apple Authorized Reseller or carrier sales’ history.
*Information and requirements for the Apple School Manager are pulled directly from Apple’s website. If this changes, I will update the requirements.
[UPDATE: It now appears that Apple School Manager can be set up with devices not purchased directly thru a qualifying Apple Deployment Program! A school may apply for an Apple School Manager account. The application process takes several days, but Apple will verify your accreditation and create your account. After which, your school can then enroll any device via Apple Configurator 2. I will be performing this for a school here in Tallahassee in the coming days and will update this article further after confirming this new procedure works]
Schools currently using Apple Deployment Programs (Device Enrollment Program or Volume Purchase Program) can upgrade to Apple School Manager. But if you are not currently enrolled, chances are that your school will not meet the above requirements as you likely didn’t purchase your Apple products from a participating reseller and therefore, your devices will not be linked to an eligible account.
Therefore, if you did not purchase your devices thru Apple’s Deployment Program, this kind of leaves you and your school out. Many schools are required to purchase their hardware through a larger, collective account and therefore the devices are not registered with Apple’s Deployment Program. Alternatively, a school may receive the Apple devices as a gift or donation.
These are just a few reasons that often lead to schools being left to manage these devices themselves without the much simpler Apple Deployment Programs or Apple School Manager.
What If Apple School Manager Doesn’t Work For My School?
Whether or not your school qualifies for Apple School Manager or not, there are many third-party Apple Authorized Service Providers that can be willing to assist your school with designing and implementing a comprehensive and robust technology solution for your school.
One solution that we have used is Apple Configurator 2. Targeted particularly toward schools and educational institutions, Apple Configurator 2 is a program that allows IT professionals to manage all of the Apple devices in your school from a central location. Apple Configurator 2 speeds up the typical process of individually managing Apple devices and allows for configuring all devices at once from a central USB-connected hub.
In simpler terms, this means that we can update software and apps, install or remove applications, set up security and lock down certain options, as well as name and assign device to individual classrooms or students using device information. This ensures uniformity and inclusion across all of your institution’s Apple devices.
Which Is Better, Apple School Manager or Apple Configurator?
Assistance with Apple School Manager
If your school was fortunate enough to have the foresight to purchase their Apple products through a qualifying Apple Deployment Program, then you should absolutely use Apple School Manager. It is simpler to use and offers a substantial amount of control over the individual units with far less configuration and setup needed.
However, often even schools in this scenario could use a little help. What we see happen more often than not is a well-meaning but untrained PC-oriented teacher or IT support doing his or her best to manage the Apple devices on top of his or her regular classroom or technology responsibilities. This can really get out of hand quickly. Your student’s safety and education is of paramount importance and should be in the hands of Apple Authorized and Apple Certified support technicians like the ones here at FloridaPro Computing.
Help with Apple Configurator
On the other hand, if your school falls into the large category of institutions that have Apple devices that do not qualify, but still need the same level of security and support offered under the Apple School Manager app – you need to look for outside help. Apple Configurator can provide great security, safety and guidance in the educational environment and can lead to smarter, happier students.
A solid and professionally managed school will include three things. (1) It will have have volume purchasing set up for quick purchase and distribution. (2) A safe configuration will include web safe search to guard and protect your school’s young minds. (3) Lastly, it will include a manageable workflow that limits the time and headache that can go along with updating and upgrading the individual devices.
However, it is not easy nor straight-forward to set up, test, configure and launch profiles for all of your Apple devices across every grade, class or student’s individual needs like what is outlined above. That is where an Apple Authorized Support Provider like FloridaPro Computing can really assist with your school’s Apple computer and iOS devices. Not only can an Apple Authorized Support Provider give outstanding, certified and Apple-authorized technical help. But handing iOS devices like iPhones and iPads to students, teachers, and parents inevitably leads to broken devices. Having an existing relationship with an AASP can help with timely completing repairs for an iPhone screen repair or iPad whole unit replacements.