Demonstrating Over-the-Air App Deployment in iOS 5

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Perhaps the biggest enterprise feature yet uncovered in iOS 5 is Over-the-Air app deployment. It's not quite "push"; but I'll call it "push-like".

Here's how it working, using JAMF's Casper Suite. JAMF updated their software today to support the latest iOS 5 technologies.

First, log into the MDM console.

Under Management, click "Mobile Device App Catalog".

Click "Add App".

Choose the type of app you are adding. In this example, we'll choose an app in the App Store.

Set the country and search for the name of the app.

Find the desired app in the list and click "Add..."

Next, verify the app name and version. The default deployment method is "Make Available in Self Service". This is Casper's enterprise app catalog. We're going to change this to "Deploy Automatically".

Note the two options that appear.

  • Remove app when MDM profile is removed is going to be quite useful for Carrots and Sticks. This setting marks the app as "managed", and tied to the MDM profile. Although users can still remove MDM profiles at will, this removes the apps at the same time. Perhaps this will make the users think twice.
  • Prevent backup of the app data adds a measure of security by preventing data backup both to iCloud and iTunes. This is a way of managing which apps can back up and which can't, without completely disabling backups.

Finally, click on "Scope" to set up the individual devices, device groups, device smart groups, user groups, and IP ranges you want this app sent to. I'm just going to set it to "All Devices," to keep things simple.

Click Save, and users begin seeing a prompt to install the app.

Clicking Install will prompt for the user's Apple ID, but no visit to the App Store is necessary.

This example was with a free app. What's cool is that if you use Casper to add Volume Purchase Program codes, you can distribute paid apps using this method too.

All in all, I found this a very simple solution to what had been a complex problem.

Share your ideas

slowtree's picture

slowtree

Joined: Sep 30, 2011

hm, what about config?

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Hi there,
I know that my question might sound weird, but what about pushing app settings?
Is there any way to push the app settings?
I've an in-house app that need to be configured remotely.

Thx,
Paolo

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Aaron Freimark's picture

Aaron Freimark

Joined: Nov 6, 2010
WWW

No way that I know of. Maybe

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No way that I know of. Maybe someone else has an idea.

But since the app is yours, why not make smart defaults? Or if settings vary from department to department, a simple setup wizard?

--
Aaron Freimark, Enterprise iOS founder & GroundControl CEO

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JimSiegl's picture

JimSiegl

Joined: Dec 9, 2010
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Is the carrot real?

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I've been trying to wrap my head around the "Remove app" features and it seems like it does not have anything behind it since if the app is installed under the itunes account of the user, they could just redownload the app after they have uninstalled the profile. Am I missing something ?

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Aaron Freimark's picture

Aaron Freimark

Joined: Nov 6, 2010
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Answers

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That's a great question. Here's how I tested:

  1. I used Casper to install a free app, "Flashlight", that I'd never installed.
  2. When prompted, I entered my Apple ID. The app installed. I ran it.
  3. I removed my device from the app management scope, the app was not deleted.
  4. I deleted the app management profile. The app was not deleted.
  5. On the iPhone, I deleted the MDM Profile. The app was deleted.
  6. I check the App Store for my purchased apps. I saw Flashlight.

So for free apps, this isn't much of a carrot. You are right. (But they are free anyway, so it was always more of a convenience than a carrot.)

For in-house apps, this deployment is obviously a real carrot, as it may be the only method for getting the app.

For paid apps, the Volume Purchase Program code may be revoked at that time, requiring the user to enter payment info. I don't know if that's true, and I may be wrong about that. Anyone have a VPP code they can donate to this research?

--
Aaron Freimark, Enterprise iOS founder & GroundControl CEO

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