Customizing wallpaper and lock screen using Apple Configurator

Apple Configurator lets you select and set the lockscreen for your iOS devices, as well as displaying either device/username or some custom text.  If you’re using the ability for Configurator to assign devices to users, then you can also show an image of the user.

To configure the lockscreen image and the message you would like to display you’ll need to open the Preferences of Apple Configurator, and then click the Lock Screen icon;

ConfiguratorPreferences

 

Again, this can only be forced if the device is in Supervision mode. To set the image for the lockscreen, drag an image onto the preview of the iPhone/iPad.

 

Finding iOS Software Update files – part 2

In versions of Apple Configurator prior to 1.2.1, the .ipsw files were stored in the file system.

According to this technote, http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4446, in version 1.2.1 the .ipsw files are copied into the Configurator database. This leaves us with either using the files downloaded by iTunes or from a site like Felix Bruns’.

If you do come across articles which point  you to folders inside ~/Library/ to look for .ipsw files, check the date of the article – it may be from the earlier version of Configurator

Finding iOS Software update files

If you’re looking to use Supervised mode on your iPads, you’ll find that Apple Configurator will re-install the iOS onto te devices as part of the deployment process.

For some schools with limited internet connections waiting while Configurator downloads the iOS version, and hoping that it succeeds and doesn’t experience some form of failure can be a frustrating experience.

Felix Bruns hosts a directory of the iOS software versions on his site at http://www.felixbruns.de/iPod/firmware/.  From here you can download the .ipsw file for your device. Each version of the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch seems to have its own .ipsw file, so make sure that you get the correct version.

Once you have downloaded the .ipsw file for your devices, when you are at the Prepare stage, choose Other.. from the iOS menu;

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 9.09.41 PM

Then, use the + button at the lower left of the next screen to select the iOS Update file which you downloaded earlier.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 9.09.21 PM

Select the file you’ve added and click Done. You can now proceed to the next stages of deployment without Configurator needing to download iOS updates from Apple.

Backing up your master iPad and syncing the rest

So far we’ve obtained Apps for your iPads, configured settings, deployed Apps to a Master iPad and re-arranged the Apps into a logical way for use by students.

The next step is to take a backup of this iPad and sync it to the rest of the fleet.

To make a backup of the Supervised iPad, go to the Prepare screen, and from the Restore menu in the middle of the screen, choose Back up. You’ll be asked to name the backup. Give it a name like ‘iPad Master with Apps in Folders’

Name iPad Backup

Configurator will now take a backup of your master iPad. When Configurator has finished your backup, unplug the master iPad.

Syncing the rest of the fleet

Now that you have a backup (with Apps in folders), you can setup the rest of the fleet.

We need to go back to the Prepare screen to do this;

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 9.11.47 PM

Here I’ve changed three settings;

  • The name of the iPads. This can be the start of the name if we also change;
  • Number sequentially starting at 1.
  • Restore: Here we choose the backup which we’ve just created.

When you’ve entered theses settings, click the Prepare button at the bottom of the screen, then Apply, and then start connecting the iPads you want to configure.

Apple Configurator will keep setting up the iPads which you connect to the Mac. As the iPads complete their setup they will reboot to show the wallpaper and the Home screen. As they are a restore from an iPad which has had the setup steps completed you won’t need to complete the setup steps on these restored iPads.

Organising Apps into Folders

Organising Apps into folders and keeping them that way for pods of iPads is one of the more time-consuming affairs we found on our iPads, particularly in the Junior levels of the schools.

There are some groups of teachers and students who will find an App no matter where it is. These are the Searchers who flick to the Spotlight screen, enter the name of the App and launch it from there. Other users however, the Browsers, are used to looking through the iPad and finding an App that way.

To organise Apps into folders on an iPad can be done using the method of holding a finger on an App until the familiar wobble appears, and then dragging the App onto another to combine them into a folder. When this dragging and dropping has to be done across multiple screens this can become tiresome.

iTunes comes to the rescue here, providing you run it on the same computer as you used for Configurator earlier.

Launch iTunes, and click the Library link at the top right of the screen. Where you’re aiming to get to is this screen (iTunes 11);

iTunes 11If this is the first time you have used iTunes since you syncd this iPad, you may have to go through the initial Setup your iPad screens. If you do, select the options to setup as a New iPad.

At the top right of this window there is an icon for an iPad. Clicking this will show us this screen;

Apps on iPad in iTunesThis screen lets us drag Apps and folders around as we would do on the iPad, but with the advantage that dragging between screens is easier.

When you’ve finished with rearranging your Apps, click Apply

 

 

Pushing Apps and Profiles to a device

Now that you’ve got your Apps and any Profiles that you want into Configurator, it’s time to push these to your first device.

It’s important to know that to push Paid Apps you have to have Supervision set to On.

When you deploy paid Apps, Apple Configurator keeps a record of the VPP codes which you have redeemed onto devices. If you unsupervise the iPads later, the VPP codes become available for re-use, but only from the Mac running Configurator where you first redeemed them.

Go back to the Prepare screen of Apple Configurator, and set Supervision to On.

Supervision turned on

You’ll notice that the setting for iOS is changed automatically to Latest and Erase before installing is checked. This is to ensure that the same and latest version of the iOS is installed to the devices.

Select any of the profiles you want to have installed, then go to the Apps screen and select the Apps which you want installed. We’re still in Prepare mode here as we’re getting ready for installing anything to our first iPad.

When you’re ready, go ahead and click Prepare at the bottom of the window.

Configurator will warn you that any USB devices which you have connected will be wiped and these settings applied, including any devices which you connect during the Prepare phase.

Configurator warning

Click Apply, and then when you see the window below, connect your first iPad.

PrepareI think its a good idea to have no USB devices connected to your Mac until you get to this screen. Clicking the Apply button (or not having it appear if someone else has ticked the Do not ask me again option) could lead to disaster if your own iPhone or iPad was connected to the Mac.

If you find that a device you connect doesn’t appear in the right-hand side window, wipe it by going to General->Reset->Erase All Content and Settings.

When Configurator has finished deploying Apps and settings you should see your device in the right-hand pane with a greeen dot indicating that the sync has finished.

Remembering that Apple see iPads as personal devices, it makes sense that the iPad still needs the initial setup steps completed before it can be used. After these steps have been completed, the iPad will be ready to use with its Apps installed.

Creating a Configuration Profile

Configuration Profiles let you define settings for the iPads. The common settings which you can set using Configuration Profiles are wireless network settings, the age restrictions for iTunes content, and enabling or disabling areas of the iPad like the camera, Safari, Facetime etc.

If you would like to view a complete list of the settings available, Apple’s online help for Apple Configurator has them listed at http://help.apple.com/configurator/mac/1.0/#cad5370d089. Apple’s PDF version of Deploying iPhone and iPad using Apple Configurator is also available at http://images.apple.com/nz/iphone/business/docs/iOS_Apple_Configurator_Mar12.pdf.

To create a Configuration Profile, click on the Settings link at the top of Configurator’s Prepare window so you are looking at this screen;

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 7.46.52 PMThe bottom section of this window is where you can add a Profile.

Go ahead and click the + button, and choose Create New Profile, and you’ll see this screen;

Create Configuration Profile

 

You must enter a name for the profile. A profile can contain multiple settings. Some people insist on only one settings per profile (so making one profile for wireless settings, another for restrictions, another for web clips). The best way to set these up depends on your environment, but if you have settings which you think you’re likely to want to change at a later stage, it’s probably best to keep them in a separate profile. There’s no limit on the number of profiles you can add onto a device.

After you’ve entered a name for your profile, it’s tempting to click Save, thinking that this saves the value you’ve entered. Not so, the Save button saves the entire profile, so you don’t need to click Save after you have completed a panel.

When you select a panel (here I’ve selected Wi-Fi) you’ll see a description and a Configure button.

Wireless Panel with no payload

Here Configurator is asking you to create a Payload (a setting). Click Configure and you’ll be able to enter values for the payload. If you decide that you don’t want to configure this payload, you’ll need to click the – button at the top right of the window to delete the empty payload. If you don’t you won’t be able to save the profile.

The example below shows a simple WPA2 password entered for a wireless network called SchoolWireless.

SchoolWireless Sample payload

What your payload needs to be for the wireless network will depend on your own wireless network setup.

After you have completed the payloads which you want, click Save

You’ll see the Profile available for deployment in Configurator’s main window.

Sample profile ready for deployment