VPP

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Apple's App Volume Purchase Program

VPP's Managed Distribution your experience?

danny33c's picture
Your rating: None (2 votes)

If your MDM is able to use Managed Distribution instead of code redemption I'd like to know what your experience has been like. We are using Casper MDM and as of March 12, 2014 it has not been implemented.

I read the early posts from November from the AirWatch users, is that going any better?

Now Buy Apps using Purchase Orders

Your rating: None (2 votes)

Apple has introduced VPP Credit, a way for businesses to purchase Apps and iBooks using purchase orders.

Quote:

Businesses can buy apps and books with a purchase order for use in the Volume Purchase Program. Volume Purchase Program Credit (VPP Credit) can be procured for a specific dollar amount and is delivered electronically to account administrators. Business customers can buy VPP Credit through their Apple purchasing account or through Apple Authorized Resellers.

More info coming soon.

What is Apple Volume Services?

Your rating: None (3 votes)

AppleInsider notices a new Apple web site, http://volume.apple.com.

Quote:

Enable your organization to:

  • Automate MDM Enrollment
  • Buy Apps and Books in Volume

What could it be?

Original post: http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/02/17/ios-71-rumored-to-arrive-march...

How to silently push free apps using VPP, Managed Distribution, Supervision and AirWatch

Your rating: None (3 votes)

What's the best way to get an App Store app onto many iOS devices? If those devices are supervised, the best way is to use MDM and Apple's new Managed Distribution method. I'll demonstrate how to do that using AirWatch below. (Other MDM providers have similar capabilities. Check with your favorite.)

Steps

  1. Make sure you will meet the requirements: VPP, MDM, Supervision, and a common Apple ID.
  2. Link your MDM provider to your Apple VPP account
  3. Invite your MDM "users" to your VPP program
  4. Use VPP to "purchase" apps (even free ones)
  5. Use MDM to deploy the apps to your users.

Alternatives

Before we start, are you sure you want to do this? Apple Configurator may be a much better solution for the "getting apps onto iPads and iPhones" problem, at least when all the devices are in the same room. But if the devices will be scattered far from the iGeek, then keep reading.

Requirements

The setup is quite important.

  • Make sure your MDM provider your platform version supports iOS 7's new Managed Distribution system. ("New" means November 2013.)
  • You'll need to create an MDM user who will own all those devices. You will want to make sure this user is in a new location group.
  • You will need to set up an iTunes Volume Purchase Program account for your business or school. Note this requires a new Apple ID, a DUNS number, a pound of flesh, some eyes of newts and toe of dog, and a few days for processing. OK, it isn't that hard, I'm just having fun.
  • You'll need an Apple ID to share among your devices. You will want to use the technique to credit an Apple ID without a credit card. (I'm assuming you will be distributing only free apps to your devices, which means you can share the same Apple ID.)

Got it? Good. Now for every iOS device, you'll need to do a few preparation steps. (Hint: If you play your cards right, you will be able to accomplish all of the below in a single stoke.)

  • Supervise it using Configurator
  • Sign in to the App Store using the common Apple ID (restore a backup image with the App Store user signed in)
  • Enroll into MDM (you can do that automatically using Configurator during the supervision process, at least with Casper Suite, AirWatch, MobileIron, and others.)
  • Associate the device with the common MDM user (that should be a setting in MDM prior to generating the enrollment profile)

Link your MDM provider to your Apple VPP account

Sign into your VPP Account. In the upper-right corner, click on your Apple ID and then "Account Summary".

In the "Managed Distribution" section, download the VPP token. This contains the credentials your MDM provider needs to link to VPP.

Now log into AirWatch. Navigate to Settings > Apps > Catalog > License Based VPP. Double check you are looking at the correct location group.

Enter a name to describe this connection (I called it "Tekserve VPP") and upload the token. I strongly recommend "Automatically Send Invites" is NOT checked.

Save this config, and you now have linkage!

Invite your MDM "users" to your VPP program

Next step is to invite your MDM users to participate in the program. There is no assumption that the Apple ID is the same as the MDM user's email. In fact, Apple is pretty clear they don't want MDM (or the employer) to ever know an employee's Apple ID. Therefore the MDM system needs to send an email to the users, who click a link to accept enrollment in the VPP program.

I haven't yet figured out how to invite one user at a time, so we're going to have to invite EVERY user in the MDM location group. Now if you have been following carefully, you are working in a location group with only a single MDM user. Cool. Send the invitations by clicking the "(Re)Invite Users" button. There won't be a confirmation, but email will be sent to all addresses the MDM has on file.

Quote:

Aaron Freimark,

Using your iOS7 device's browser, please click on this https://buy.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZFinance.woa/wa/associateVPPUse... to register for Apple's License Based VPP Program. Registering for the program will enable you to download applications purchased by your organization on your behalf.

Please contact your IT helpdesk if you have any questions: noreply@air-watch.com

Regards,
AirWatch

Clicking the link will open the App Store (on an iOS device) or the Mac App Store (on a Mac) and ask for an Apple ID and password.

Quote:

This organization can now assign apps and books to you.

Use VPP to "purchase" apps (even free ones)

Next step -- there are a lot of steps -- is to use Apple's VPP to purchase an app.

The iTunes VPP store used to have only paid apps. Now it has free apps as well. Today let's install Tiny Death Star, a popular enterprise productivity app. So log into the iTunes VPP store, search for "death star", and "purchase" several copies. You can purchase as many as you want, it's free!

A paid app presents a choice for either downloading old-style redemption codes or new-style managed distribution. Free apps don't get a choice; managed distribution for all.

After purchase, Apple takes a few minutes to prepare your order. Wait until you receive email confirmation before continuing to the next step.

Use MDM to deploy the apps to your users

Back in AirWatch, click on Apps & Books > Applications > Purchased. Now you ask AirWatch to check with Apple, so click the "Sync Licenses" button. This part may take a short time, but in my test I just needed to refresh the page.

Once AirWatch is aware of the app, you can assign it to users. Click the twisted-arrow button.

AirWatch assigns these apps via smart groups only. This article is already way too long, so I won't explain how to create these.

Now decide how many licenses you want allocated to the group.

Now save the assignment. The last step is to publish the app.

In my experience, the app isn't quite ready to publish immediately. So if it doesn't work immediately, wait 15 minutes and try to publish again.

As expected...

On my test supervised iPod, I get the Tiny Death Star app, automatically downloaded and without any prompts. It works! Woo hoo!

As unexpected...

My unsupervised iPhone also received the Tiny Death Star app, and it isn't even enrolled into AirWatch. Hmm.

I understand part of this. I used my personal Apple ID for the test; the same Apple ID I used on my iPhone. Managed distribution works by adding the assigned apps to my Apple ID purchase history. And my iPhone has automatic app downloads enabled. But does this imply that unsupervised devices can also receive silent installs?

Looks like more exploration is needed.

Automatic Updates for VPP apps

timlings's picture
Your rating: None (4 votes)

I was wondering if anyone had found a solution to this...

We've got some iPad minis which we're supervising with Apple Configurator and then installing VPP apps with. However, on the iPads themselves, under 'iTunes and App Store' in Settings, there is a very tantalising switch for 'Updates' under 'Automatic Downloads', even when you are not signed into the App Store. Has anyone managed to get this to work? Or do you have to be signed in with an AppleID? And would it be craziness to sign in with the iTunes account used to authorise the apps on Apple Configurator?

Thanks

Tim

Apple VPP links for more info

mscheid13's picture
No votes yet

VPP Guide
http://images.apple.com/education/docs/vpp_education_guide_en_Oct2013.pdf

Updated Volume Purchase Site
https://www.apple.com/education/it/vpp/

Information about Migrating Codes
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6015

Volume purchase program assistance:
https://ssl.apple.com/support/itunes/vpp-edu/

Apple Launches "Managed Distribution" for App Store Volume Purchase Program (VPP) for Business and Education

Your rating: None (13 votes)

Apple tonight updated its app Volume Purchase Program with several long-anticipated and important additions. The updates introduce a new "managed distribution" of apps to iOS 7 devices, allowing assignment and revocation' through Mobile Device Management. Here are the highlights:

  • Works with most apps available in the public app store (both paid and free), custom B2B apps created for your organization by 3rd parties, and books from the iBooks store
  • Either download the legacy redeemable codes, or use managed distribution to link your MDM server to have reassignable apps
  • Managed distribution allows your institution to maintain ownership of the apps. Revoke apps from users when no longer needed, and reassign the licenses to different users.
  • Managed distribution requires iOS 7 and a suitable MDM.
  • MDM providers must be updated to work with the new system. Expect announcements over the next days and weeks.
  • App assignment does not reveal the individual's Apple ID to the institution.
  • Assigned apps are installed automatically on supervised devices. Unsupervised devices show a prompt to install.
  • Education customers will be able to purchase by Purchase Order "coming later this fall". The rest of us need a credit card.
  • Education customers are able to set up multiple administrators. The rest of us use a single login.
  • Available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
  • Unused codes and codes redeemed by Apple Configurator may be migrated to managed distribution.

There are new web pages on VPP for both business and education. There is also a VPP Guide for Business and VPP Guide for Education.

We'll have more information coming soon.

About iOS 7's overhauled app licensing program (VPP)

Your rating: None (2 votes)

In iOS 7 VPP is all brand new. I haven't yet seen a demo of MDM that works with the new VPP system (I may on Monday). But here is how I understand it is all supposed to work.

The process still begins by visiting http://vpp.itunes.apple.com, searching for and purchasing apps. Before iOS 7 you would need to download a spreadsheet of redemption codes. Now there is nothing to download. Instead, the iTunes VPP store keeps a record of your purchases. Then...

  1. You use your MDM system to send VPP program invitations to your devices.
  2. You use MDM to register users with VPP
  3. MDM import your app catalog. This tells MDM which apps you have purchased and which, if any, licenses have been used.
  4. You use MDM to assign any unused licenses with users, and tell Apple about these associations
  5. You may now push out these apps to devices

The key here is step 4. When you associate the app "PCalc" with user "George Washington," Apple adds "PCalc" to George's App Store purchase history. George can now use PCalc on all his devices. What's more, George doesn't need to enter his Apple ID and password to download. After all, he's not purchasing it, he's just downloading it. There is, however, a confirmation on the device that George needs to accept. (On supervised devices there is no confirmation and the app installs silently.)

What's more, you can now use MDM to revoke an app from a user. This allows the institution to reassign PCalc to someone else, while allowing George a grace period. Pretty nifty.

If the entire process is much smoother, there are still some quirks. Not only does the institution not need the user's Apple ID to assign an app, Apple has seemingly bent over backwards to avoid revealing the Apple ID to the institution. Apple IDs are, apparently, private to Apple's relationship with the user.

Since this is merely a set of APIs I'm curious how MDM vendors implement it in different ways. Who will have the smoothest implementation?

Apple Configurator 1.1.1 Fixes VPP Spreadsheets

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Apple has updated Configurator to version 1.1.1. Apple Configurator is Apple's tool for mass configuration and deployment of iPhones and iPads.

The release notes mention only one change:

Fixes additional issues with importing Volume Purchase Program spreadsheets and installing paid store apps

Read more about Apple Configurator in our wiki.

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