Saeks has prepared a couple of online tutorials for Configurator, and is encouraging viewers to ask, and answer, questions about using it. The first one is an introduction. The second one goes into more detail on working with devices that are classed as "supervised."
Configurator is a set of screens and prompts that walk a network manager through the process for setting up an iOS device. Configurator devices can be "supervised" -- as in the case of iOS devices shared by multiple users at different times, or for corporate-issued devices; or they can be "unsupervised," with one user retaining the customary control over the device.
For devices that are classed as supervised, Configurator can install free apps from the iTunes Store, and enterprise apps that have embedded provisioning profiles. But it can only install paid apps based on an imported spreadsheet of valid Volume Purchase Program (VPP) redemption codes, downloaded from the VPP portal by a registered VPP administrators. Additional details from Apple are online.
"It's just something to be aware" of during setup, Saeks cautions. But devices can have more than one Apple ID. "You can sign out of one ID and sign in with another one," he says. "When you do that, it seems to be the case that users can then go to the App Store and download apps."
Saeks' first tutorial shows a series of clean, simple screens and prompts that walk the administrator through the configuration process. The configuration can be saved as a standard and applied to multiple devices.
Configurator also can talk directly to the corporate LDAP directory server to pull down user information and make use of it. In his tutorial, Saeks begins typing a name, options are presented, he selects one, and the relevant information fills into Configurator automatically.
Check boxes let the administrator quickly configure the iOS device to use or not use the onboard cameras, Apple's FaceTime video chat, and a wide range of other features.
If the device is being loaded with apps purchased under VPP, Configurator tracks the VPP redemption codes and automatically manages all the VPP accounting details.
If during setup the device is classed as supervised, it can only be managed from the original Mac by which it was configured.
Configurator can also create a backup, of sorts, of each device's data and documents, according to Saeks. "It grabs the data and saves it to the administrator's Mac," he says. "If you use this, then you need procedures in place to safely back up that backup." Apple's documentation for Configurator backup and restore is online.
"Compared to what was out there before, [Configurator] is a heck of a lot faster," Saeks says. "You can configure iOS devices ahead of time, so they're really well set up."
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww. Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed.
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