Meraki MDM Updated To Support Apples New Deployment Program (Device Enrollment)

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Yesterday Meraki updated their MDM system to release a BETA version of their Device Enrollment Program (DEP). This means you can now have your iPads auto enrolled over the air (wifi) into the Meraki MDM System Manager and the profile can not be removed. However unfortunately this is only available in the US at the moment and only if the devices are purchased directly from Apple in bulk. But still it’s a start to what could be a really useful tool.

More info is available by following the link below.

https://meraki.cisco.com/blog/2014/03/granting-your-wildest-mdm-dreams/

 

iOS 7.1, Apple TV 6.1 and Apple Configurator 1.5 released time to update and get new features

After a long wait and many rounds of developer releases Apple have finally released iOS 7.1 to the public.

Here is the information about the update from Apple.

This update contains improvements and bug fixes, including:
CarPlay
iOS experience designed for the car
Simply connect your iPhone to a CarPlay enabled vehicle
Supports Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, and 3rd-party audio apps
Control with Siri and the car’s touchscreen, knobs, and buttons
Siri
Manually control when Siri listens by holding down the home button while you speak and releasing it when you’re done as an alternative to letting Siri automatically notice when you stop talking
New, more natural sounding male and female voices for Mandarin Chinese, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese
iTunes Radio
Search field above Featured Stations to easily create stations based on your favorite artist or song
Buy albums with the tap of a button from Now Playing
Subscribe to iTunes Match on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to enjoy iTunes Radio ad-free
Calendar
Option to display events in month view
Country specific holidays automatically added for many countries
Accessibility
Bold font option now includes the keyboard, calculator, and many icon glyphs
Reduce Motion option now includes Weather, Messages, and multitasking UI animations
New options to display button shapes, darken app colors, and reduce white point
New Camera setting to automatically enable HDR for iPhone 5s
iCloud Keychain support in additional countries
FaceTime call notifications are automatically cleared when you answer a call on another device
Fixes a bug that could occasionally cause a home screen crash
Improves Touch ID fingerprint recognition
Improved performance for iPhone 4
Fixes display of Mail unread badge for numbers greater than 10,000
Continued user interface refinements
For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

Although it’s not mentioned on here there’s also hope that this will fix the long standing airplay issues. At present I’m still to test this but once I have I’ll update.
Update
Reports are coming in that this issue has now been fixed and AirServer have confirmed this on there support article about the issue here.

iOS 7.1 update

A word of warning although the update is only 200Mb in size to download the device actually needs 1.9Gb of space to install. So once again if you are only using a 16Gb device you will most likely need to tidy up your photos and video or remove some of those unused apps. If you do remove apps remember the data goes with it unless it’s backed up to iCloud. Once you have installed the update you can re download the apps if you wish.

Along with the iOS update Apple also released an update to Apple TV taking it to version 6.1. This brings features like hiding items from the main menu, remote app, security options to verify devices and airplay over Bluetooth support. More information can be found here.

Finally if you are managing multiple devices Apple have released an update to Apple Configurator taking the version to 1.5. This adds support to enrol unsupervised and supervised devices in an MDM via URL.

Apple configurator 1.5 update features

Link

Meraki Update MDM to include VPP App Managed Distribution

Good news for all Meraki users. You can now deploy VPP Apps via Managed distribution. This means that any apps you already have (you need to convert them to managed distribution first) or any new apps you buy via the Volume Purchasing Program you can now distribute to your Meraki managed iPads. Not bad for a free MDM solution!

Mobile Devices Deployment Guides, Articles and Information

The most common request from schools these days is help with deploying mobile devices. The mistake schools seem to make is misunderstanding how the technology works and how its deployed in an educational environment. Most just buy iPads and give them to someone who signs up with one id and downloads a few apps. They then think it will miraculously change education in the school. Unfortunately most schools find that after a month or so the novelty factor wears off, the iPads start acting strangely, managing the iPads becomes a nightmare and basically the iPads become an expensive bookend!

The best deployment is carefully thought about and heavily invested in. Ensuring school leaders have a clear vision shared with all, the infrastructure is ready, the staff are trained, the Mobile Devices are carefully deployed and managed, the correct accessories are purchased and most of all the correct support network is in place to help.

So to get schools started and thinking about deployments etc I thought I’d create this little post sharing links to a few useful resources. To start you of below is a presentation from FrogTrade giving their Top Ten Tips on a successful Deployment.

Next is a link to download Part 1 of a Guide to implementing devices by FrogTrade. After reading part 1 you should get an email allowing you to download part 2.

http://info.frogtrade.com/implementing-devices-ebook-pt1.html

Another nice guide by 9ine consulting who have worked with tablets for schools investigating 1:1 deployments.

http://www.tabletsforschools.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/CM00-Tablets-for-Schools-9ine-response-to-QA-introducing-tablets_spellchecked.docx

For those of you who prefer to read a book! Here is a link to iPad in Education for dummies.

http://eu.dummies.com/store/product/productCd-1118375386.html

I hope to add more links over time. If you have a good link about this topic add it in the comments below and don’t forget to follow/like.

Thanks

Transferring Photos and Videos from Computer to iPad, iPad to iPad, iPad to Computer using SimplTransfer. How To?

Today a teacher asked how she could get a video file from her computer to the class iPads. You may think just use YouTube but due to the age of the children the school filters YouTube for her class.
So here we go.

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1. First you’ll need a free app called SimplTransfer. You can upgrade this via in app purchase to get more features or to support the developer.

2. Now you need to load the app. On first load it will ask you to allow access to photos and videos. Accept this otherwise the app won’t work. You should now be presented with a screen like this.

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3. If you want to transfer between computer and ipad please read on otherwise goto step 6 for using it between iPad and iPad or iPhone. Leave the app open and running. On the computer you need to open you web browser.

4. In the address bar type the web site address given to you on the iPad screen. It will be something like http://000.000.000.000 (the 0s will be numbers relating to your device . Tell the browser to go.

5a. Now you will be browsing your photos and videos from the iPad on your computer screen. To upload a video or photo to the iPad press the upload button on the top left. Browse to your photo/video and open it. It will now be uploaded to your iPad and saved in the camera roll. If you upgrade the app you can upload to any album or create a new album to upload to on the iPad by selecting them from the dropdown menu to the right of the upload button.
5b. To download click into the photos and find the one you want. You can select more than one by clicking the selection box below a photo or you can select all by pressing the select all button in the top left corner. Once you have selected the photos/videos click the download button at the top left.

6. That’s it for transferring between computer and iPad. If you want to transfer between iPad and iPad or iPhone then read on. First you will need the app open and running on each device. Now at the bottom select device.

7. You will get a new screen on the iPad allowing you to select a device from a list. Press the device you want to transfer to.

8. Now you will need to select an album where the photo/video is stored. In the free version you can only send the top 50 items from an album so if your photo is number 51 or above you will need to create a new album in the photo app and add your video/photo to it. Alternatively you can purchase the upgrade.

9. After touching an album you will see all the photos and videos in the album. Touch each photo/video you wish to transfer.

10. Now press send at the bottom left and all the photos/videos you have selected will be transferred to the other device.

11. Job done, good luck transferring photos and videos between devices.

If you like this how to please follow me to keep updated with other how to’s and technology news.

Using Apple TV with a Windows Tablet and AirParrot

This week I tasked myself with displaying a Windows 8 tablet on a projector wirelessly. The only problem I had was no money or time to buy anything new and very old projectors. Then I thought to myself I wonder if I could use the Apple TV in the Heads Office to wirelessly connect using Airplay.

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So a quick google search leads me to a piece of software called AirParrot. The first thing to note this software does cost money but you can download a free trial. The free trial gives you 20 mins of airplay time before closing. You then have to open the program again to get a further 20 mins.

After a quick download and install I was ready to give it a try. The program sits in your task bar and when you need to connect you just right click the little AirParrot icon and select the Apple TV you wish to connect to. A few seconds later and bang your windows screen is on your projector via Apple TV. It even lets you connect to an Apple TV which is pass code protected.

To be honest I was very surprised when I started trying different metro apps and programs. I was able to draw on the screen in Fresh Paint and it replicated on the projector without lag. I also tried watching videos and again no lag.

AirParrot also has tools to allow you to alter frame rate etc to improve performance if you do have trouble.

So if you don’t have a modern projector or TV with wireless then this bit of software with an Apple TV may help you out.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 – Installing Boot Camp Windows 7

Today I setup a Mac for the first time with Boot camp and installed Windows 7 Pro. The process is fairly straightforward but I did hit a few stumbling blocks along the way. The main reason for this was because the documentation I was using was old and missed out some extra steps. So here is what I did.

1. First I ran the Mac Boot Camp Assistant. This helps guide you through the process of putting Boot Camp onto the Mac and installing Windows. The first screen you are presented with is shown below. Click Continue.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.52.02

2. I was then presented with the screen below. I selected the middle option to download the drivers etc to USB for Windows.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.52.25

3. The download screen then appeared and after a while I had the Windows Support Software on my USB.

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4. Now I ran the Boot Camp Assistant again and this time at the selection screen I selected the bottom option to install boot camp and Windows 7. I needed to make sure I had the windows disc in the DVD drive before I started this process.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.52.25

5. The next screen is to arrange your partition sizes. Just drag the little dot in between the mac and windows drives to set your size. I went with 32GB for the Windows partition as I didn’t need it to do much. Click install and your partitions will be created.

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6. After the partitions have been created the mac will reboot and start the Windows install process.windows 7 install now

7. Work your way through the Windows install wizard. First select your language and region options.

windows 7 select lang

8. Click install now and agree to the terms. Now you need to select the custom install option.

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9. Next you are presented with the partition selection screen. Here you select the partition that was earlier created by Boot Camp. It will normally be the bottom partition and have the words BOOTCAMP in the name.

windows Bootcamp partition

10. You will need to format this partition making it an NTFS partition so windows can be installed. Click Drive Options to find the Format tool. Make sure the BOOTCAMP partition is selected before you do this.

windows Bootcamp partition format

11. After clicking OK your drive will be formatted. Finally click next and let windows install.

windows 7 installing

12. When the install is completed you will need to enter a username, computer name and password. Eventually you will be loaded into Windows.

13. Now you need to install the Boot Camp Windows Support Software from the USB you created earlier. Insert your USB drive and browse to the Boot Camp Folder. Double Click Setup and click Yes if prompted with a User Account Control window.

win 7 bootcamp installer setup

14. You will now see the Boot Camp Windows Support Software installer. Click Next and accept the agreement. The installer will now setup windows to use your Mac’s hardware correctly and install the Boot Camp Control Panel.

15. After a restart you will have Windows working on your Mac.

HINT: To be able to switch between OSX and Windows on startup hold down the ‘Option Key’ while the machine boots and use the arrow keys to select OSX or Windows.

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Apple Configurator – What is it?

Over the last week I’ve been getting to grips with Apple Configurator and thought I’d report my findings. First this app is free and its only available on a mac and Apple have no plans to bring a version to Windows. The app is designed to help you setup iOS devices quickly and easily(ish).

The app has 3 sections to it, the first is prepare mode. This mode allows you to prepare a device for use and offers several options to it. One of the main options is supervise. Supervise locks the iOS device to that mac, thus preventing it from being used with iTunes on any other system. Another cool option is the ability to upgrade the iOS. You can also restore a backup to the device and finally you can assign profiles. Profiles have been around for a while on iOS devices but with the extra option of supervise and the latest ios6 you can now do some really cool things. I actually only used the profiles to send across our wifi settings and to connect the device to a Mobile Device Management system we are using. A final thing you can do is install apps either free or paid. So in a nutshell prepare mode allows you to setup your iOS devices and lock them down and this maybe all you need from the app.

The second section is Supervise this is only used if you set the iOS device to be supervised in prepare mode. It basically allows you to manage supervised devices when they are plugged in. You can alter most things you setup in prepare mode. Right clicking also allows you to backup a device and unsupervise a device. It’s worth noting when a device is unsupervised it is wiped and restored back to factory settings. However any paid apps you have used via apple Configurator will be allowed to be reinstalled onto another device.

The last mode is Assign. This allows you to assign a supervised device to a user. Users can be imported from a directory or simply added manually. Users can also be grouped allowing classes to be assigned devices easily. Assign allows you to send documents to a device and take documents off. I’ve also been told that it takes a snapshot of the device when you check it back in and when you check a device out again it restores that snapshot to it. This should allow multiple users to one device very easily and works well with a sync and charge storage cart.

A few further things worth noting you can set the image of the lock screen on devices and add a users name or picture to it using the preferences in Configurator. However this only works in supervised mode. Apple Configurator can also manage upto 30 devices at once making configuration changes very fast.

More information can be found here.

Mac Mini First Impressions

This week I finally decided to purchase a Mac Mini for the school. The main reason behind this was for the use of Apple Configurator (I’ll explain more about this in future posts).
So the first thing that surprised me was its size. I know it’s a mini but it really is small, I don’t even notice it on my desk.
What’s really impressive is what’s packed into this tiny box. The model I have is only a basic one but it still packs a 500gb hard drive and a core i5 2.5ghz processor with 4gb ram. This so far has shown plenty of power for doing the standard web browsing and running apps etc.
The other impressive thing is the connections available. It has a mini Hdmi port, 4 USB ports a network port and a thunderbolt port. One thing to note is it doesn’t have a VGA port or the old style mouse and keyboard ports. It also doesn’t come with a mouse or keyboard so you need to get hold of these yourself. A standard keyboard works fine but its worth noting not all the special character keys are in the same place. Finally to get round the lack of VGA port you need a thunderbolt to VGA adapter which will allow you to use any standard monitor or TV.
Software wise it comes with the latest OS installed and the setup process was very quick and simple. I was able to connect to the network via wifi or cable in seconds and setup a new apple ID. In all I was downloading my first app within 5mins. What’s also nice is that the OS can be upgraded to the server version if you require it at any time in the future. This does cost but only £13.99 from the App Store.
So overall not a bad bit of kit for the price, however which spec you go for depends on what your using it for. For us the lower end spec is fine as will only be using it for a few basic things like Apple Configurator.