VPP/MDM Not a Happy Combo anyone?

HCCSC John H's picture

HCCSC John H

Joined: Aug 21, 2015
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That may seem like a vendor complaint but truly seeking answers to who else on other MDM platforms is experiencing this.
For the first month of school our MDM is truely struggling with pushing out paid VPP apps to devices and continually has major VPP licensing issues. As in it thinks that we do not have any licenses to distribute VPP apps normally and we need to go thru a long time consuming procedure per unit to get paid apps on devices involving 'retiring' the current VPP user in MDM, recreating that units VPP 'user' in our MDM and then doing a manual association of paid apps to that device, plus many other 'workarrounds'. So far our MDM provider has indicated issues with VPP syncing with their product and has issued 2 Server SW patches to address issues in the last month, both of which we have limited success with. Other K-12 Districts have similar VPP issues with this particular MDM product. Up to this point we have been extremely happy with our MDM providers support, but this month of basically silence while we suffer with this issue with very little communication has left a very bad taste in out mouth for their product and honestly looking other directions for a MDM solution.
Anyway, all of that to ask with your MDM have you had any issues where the VPP licenses under normal conditions about 60-70% of the time will not associate correctly with a iOS device and an Apple ID 'user' unless you do a long drawn out procedure per device to address? With over 3500 devices at this pace it will be past Christmas break before we get the paid apps issues addressed on units.

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jlock's picture

jlock

Joined: Nov 12, 2013

Hey John, I'm on a different

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Hey John,

I'm on a different MDM and we have been having issues as well. We implemented Managed Distribution and DEP over the summer and we've been having fairly widespread issues with both. I think both of these were pretty huge changes for MDM providers to implement but it is quite frustrating when they advertise support for a new feature and you find that it doesn't work as well as advertised.

I read your other thread and my understanding is that to use Managed Distribution students must have access to the App Store. This is really based on Apple's MDM model and the vendors don't really have a say. Users have to sign in with an Apple ID and register it for Managed Distribution. The actual registration link opens the App Store on the user's device. My MDM has a "restricted mode" to limit App Store Access but I have found it doesn't allow the paid apps to be distributed properly when it's on. We are just using a Profile to restrict Apps rated 17+ as well as an App blacklist and Compliance rules to discourage students from installing unwanted apps. Since you mention middle school you may also need to look into implementing Apple ID for Students program if you have any students below the age of 13.

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HCCSC John H's picture

HCCSC John H

Joined: Oct 23, 2013
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Good to know it is not just

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Good to know it is not just our MDM that is having issues with VPP...Our main issue currently is even after doing the manual procedure on some and many VPP 'syncs' from the MDM to Apple, in our device logs it continually shows and seemly endless loop of 'Install App' and 'Removing App' messages due to 'no licenses available'. Ugh....If an Apple issue with VPP hope they fix soon as at his point our MDM provider seems to be in the dark on a fix. :-<
On the Apple App Store needing to be open on Student units to reveive any apps or updates that is a definite yes. In our case on our Middle School units we have policies limiting available apps to '+4' only. Does not totally eliminate the issues of games on Student units in MS Administrators eyes but at least they are unable to get the latest Zombie Killer pro type app.

On the Apple U13 program, yep we are in the middle of that nightmare. Between many, many uploads to the Apple site, quirkyness with the U13 site, parents that provide incorrect or old e-Mail account information and then parents that flat our refuse to 1)Obtain an e-mail account so we can send them the invite or come in to fill out online form using an internal District e-mail account 2)let their child obtain and use an Apple ID period it has been a nightmare in some cases getting Apple IDs for our U13 Students. Many late night Parent meetings and one on one Parent help and we are still fighting that one.

On the 'Restricted Mode' in your MDM..What is that all about?

John Humphrey
Apple Support Specialist
Huntington County Community Schools
Huntington IN

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jlock's picture

jlock

Joined: Nov 12, 2013

The Restricted Mode is sort

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The Restricted Mode is sort of a hack or at least feels like it to me. In AirWatch you can enable this and it will restrict access to the App store and require users to download apps from the "App Catalog". Functionally the App Catalog does not actually contain the Apps but is rather just links to the content in the App Store. When a user attempts to install an App from the App Catalog, Airwatch temporarily relaxes the App Store restriction so that the approved App can install, then repushes the restriction profile after a short amount of time. unfortunately there is a small window where the users can access the full content of the App Store.

This is not supported under Managed Distribution because of the registration with the App Store that I mentioned in my previous post.

As for the functionality of Managed Distribution, we definitely have had issues with Apps being deployed to users consistently. Users with assigned Apps either don't receive them or, when they attempt to install them on demand, the App Catalog reports that the app will be installed, then it never installs. In some cases, when the user is using the same Apple ID on a personal iPhone, they receive a message stating that the App has been removed, even though they only attempted to install it on a district owned iPad. Some of the console side stuff is inconsistent too. I have opened tickets with my vendor and am hoping some of the newer patches will address some of my issues.

-Jason

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960Design's picture

960Design

Joined: Aug 5, 2014

I haven't had any of the

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I haven't had any of the issues you seem to be suffering ( humble sadness ). Actually I pushed out 450 apps to 20 devices in just a couple of minutes today. I also updated a single iPad with 20 free apps and one paid, in about 5 minutes ( it takes just as long to push to 100 as it does to one ).

I have a different workflow all together. Depending on user access; some cannot access the app store at all, others have full access. They have a custom app installed on their iDevice to create work tickets such as App Requests, ect.

I use Meraki and we have an Admin setup for iPads ( for example ) that allows them full access to the App Store. We can also silently push managed / licensed / distributed apps to them with a couple of clicks.

William
Mobile Learning Analyst

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