Apple Configurator is a standalone OS X App allowing you to rapidly setup, deploy and configure iOS based devices. Version 1 has been around for a bit and today the wrappings of Apple Configurator version 2 have been removed. Here is a quick run-down of how some of these new changes will help you with getting devices deployed quicker.
First note, AC2 requires you to be on Mac OS 10.11. Second important note, make sure to backup your AC1 data before upgrading just in case you need to restore.
Rather than put together a lengthy post on the how to use a new feature, this will be a list of why a feature is useful to check out. Some will apply to your deployment, others won’t depending on what works well for your organization. Here goes:
- New Interface – The new interface of AC2 has changed to give you better access to drill-down details. You can sort devices by iOS version, capacity, Supervision, and updates. Right-clicking on a device brings up many more actions including getting additional information
- Additional Preferences – Your AC2 preferences now allow you to setup multiple organizations for logically arranging devices. We also see a server area where MDM servers can be added for automated enrollment. You can set tags on devices as well.
- iTunes no longer required – Now you can handle all the app related operations from within AC2. No need to go into iTunes, download the app and import it into AC; AC2 ties into your VPP account to pull in your purchased content.
- Blueprint Support – Blueprints allow you to generate a template for Configuration Profiles and App assignment. You build a blueprint with the apps you would like on the device, settings on the device, a wallpaper, unlock tokens, etc. These blueprints are then applied to devices. Treat the blueprint as a device when adding apps similar to the concept of a “Golden Master” image. These can be extended with Automator Actions and even UNIX commands!
- Importing / Exporting / Sharing – AC1 was limited to one machine, more or less. AC2 allows you to export / import / use iCloud for sharing your supervision information with others.
- DEP / MDM Enrollment – You can add a MDM server to AC2 and have DEP supervised devices enroll to the MDM through a Configurator machine. This can be a huge timesaver.
- VPP Device Assignment – You now can use the VPP Device-Based assignment of Managed Distribution licenses to devices without the need for an Apple ID on the device. Keep in mind, your app developer will need to support this method of management.
- Automation Workflows – AC2 has Automator actions built-in which will allow you to create some really powerful workflows for automating devices. There are some sample items online: http://configautomation.com/
- Additional Device Actions – Actions for devices are no longer buried in device groups and by selecting multiple devices. You can right-click on a device and view actions, such as Restoring, Updating, and under Advanced, Reviving a Device.
While there are a bunch of new tasks that can be done, keep in mind this is the initial release of a version that is now getting widespread daily-use testing. Make sure to take advantage of the “Provide Apple Configurator 2 Feedback” in the AC2 App menu. Don’t forget to share your tips as well! If you would like me to link to a write up of yours send along a ling and I’ll add it below!
Reviews and other updates on AC2