I’v been deploying iPads for a couple of years now using various methods; iTunes, individual iPads, iCloud, Casper Suite and most recently, Apple Configurator. The VPP program wasn’t available in New Zealand until the end of 2012 so deploying paid apps to multiple iPads previously was a challenge.
With the VPP program and Apple Configurator I think that there is now a good and scalable solution for deploying Apps and settings to multiple iPads. There isn’t a standard way which will work for all environments, but variations on this theme should work for most people
The deployment strategy I use breaks down to 5 major steps;
- Organise and get hold of the Apps you want to deploy
- Use Apple Configurator to select the Apps you want to deploy and create settings
- Use Apple Configurator to push the Apps and settings to one iPad
- On this first iPad (call it your Master), organise the Apps into folders
- Use Apple Configurator to backup your Master iPad to setup the remaining iPads
At first it seemed logical to take the first iPad and download the Apps and configure settings on that iPad, and then use that as a master template for the other iPads. This works if you don’t want to send out paid Apps, but also, backing up an iPad and restoring it without turning on Supervision doesn’t allow you to keep the organised folders, and any profiles you install won’t be trusted.
Configurator lets you define a few others settings that you can’t do in any other way such as setting the wallpaper and lock screen text on a device.