iPad Management

So I figured I could at least squeeze one more post in this year even though it’s a little off topic from my Mac Management Series. I was tasked a few weeks ago with purchasing and deploying 10 tablets for use during our Regular weekend services as well as for Special Events. My desire was to have a setup that was easy to manage and have the tablets automatically Reset/Restore themselves to a preset configuration every time they are plugged back in. Based on this need, I recommended the purchase of 10 iPad Mini’s along with Airstrap 360 Cases. We also purchased the Tripp Lite USB Tablet Charge/Sync Station along with the basic Mac Mini to manage the syncing of the iPads. I’ve also purchased the AC Infinity Fan Thermostat & Speed Controller along with their 120mm Fans. These should be coming in soon and i’ll update the blog post with information and pictures once everything is assembled.

My original plan was to use Apple Configurator 2 because I assumed that it would be able to handle the automatic wipe/reset/configure process that I desired. As soon as the hardware came in I started tinkering with AC2 and after 2 days of trying every possible configuration discovered that it would not do what I had planned. Because of this, I turned to the amazing MacAdmins.org Slack Community and asked if anyone had any recommendations. Upon a recommendation from Lach (@locee), I went ahead and contacted the folks at Ground Control and asked for a free trial of their software after browsing their knowledgebase and discovering that it would fit our needs.

I was given a very good intro to the product by Jeffery Marino and after just a few short hours after the intro I had a fully functional workflow for the iPads. This workflow includes Ground Control for Supervising the device, ensuring that the iPad is reset, ensuring the device has the latest iOS, restoring a pre-defined backup, Setting Time Zone, Language, & Locale, configuring Wifi Profile, Setting icon Arrangement, configuring Lock and Home Screens, and last but not least enrolling in MDM (Meraki Systems Manager).

One thing to note about Ground Control is that it only does device supervision and configuration and will not deploy applications to the device, you must use an MDM to deploy the applications.

I hope you all find this information useful and as I continue to explore ways to manage our iPads i’ll share my findings. Hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and New Years and i’ll catch you in January with some more posts on Mac Management.

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