CNET Editors' review
Readying or updating more than one Apple device at a time can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. Apple Configurator makes the process easier and automates many tasks, allowing multiple iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch devices to be loaded with a standard configuration with a minimum of fuss. Documents, data files, and new apps can all be pushed out to users' devices with a single configuration update.
Apple Configurator installs easily, but it does take a bit of time to learn how to use it properly. Fortunately there's a lot of information available on the Apple support site. There's a considerable number of features inside Apple Configurator. While you can create and deploy a standard software load to connected devices, you can also create custom loads for specific users, down to dictating which documents and applications get installed on which devices. You can prepare updates to apps and iOS changes and push them out quickly, too. Integration with Active Directory and Open Directory add to the power of Apple Configurator. The software does have its limitations, though, and there's a few gotchas along the way. In testing a push to 25 iPads, we had the software crash twice but at different places, for no apparent reason, then on the third time it worked flawlessly. For applications, you can't use iTunes anymore, and have to rely on the Volume Purchasing Plan to license apps on each device.
There are many mobile device management solutions on the market, and most are expensive and complex. Apple Configurator provides a simple alternative that will suit some situations without the complexity and high cost per device the commercial MDM products carry. However, the Apple Configurator does have its limitations, and for larger enterprises, it may not be suitable. For smaller businesses and schools, though, Apple Configurator can be a useful tool.
Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution.
Three simple workflows let you prepare new iOS devices for immediate distribution, supervise devices that need to maintain a standard configuration, and assign devices to users. Quickly update your devices simultaneously to the latest version of iOS, configure settings, and install apps and data for your students, employees, or patrons.
Apple Configurator can be used by larger organizations and businesses to set up new devices, install enterprise apps, and enroll each device with a Mobile Device Management solution for remote management by an IT administrator. It is perfect for the classroom or student lab where devices need to be quickly refreshed and kept up to date with the correct settings, approved policies, apps and data. Apple Configurator can also be used to personalize devices with data and documents for specific users.
What's new in this version:
- Enroll both unsupervised and supervised devices in MDM using enrollment URLs
- Integration with new Bretford PowerSync+ Carts and Stations to report progress and status and display physical port numbers
- Support for a new iOS setting to require a passcode for initial AirPlay connection
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