iOS Device Tracking

boxy's picture

boxy

Joined: May 18, 2012
Your rating: None (2 votes)

Hello All!

Does anyone know of a MDM solution that physically tracks iOS devices in real-time? So far the best things I have found are the tracking methods used by Apple's Find My Device and Air-Watch.

Also, does anyone know if there is a way to track these devices but prevent the user from clearing the settings that allows this tracking method?

Maybe a little background information would help describe what I am looking for. Our company wants to deploy some iPads but wants to be able to know where the device is at all times.

Any help is greatly appreciated and would love to hear how others are tracking/locking down their devices.

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abstractrude's picture

abstractrude

Joined: Apr 24, 2012

No

Your rating: None (7 votes)

You will never be able to do this. You can't do realtime tracking of a device in icloud or in air-watch or any other MDM solution. You can locate a device based off cell tower position via MDM and do a lookup via icloud.

also, why do yo need to know where the device is at all times? Do you know where every laptop is at all the time? I'm sure if you put some real business needs in here we can help:)

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Aaron Freimark's picture

Aaron Freimark

Joined: Nov 6, 2010
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Hey Abstractrude, great to

Your rating: None (1 vote)

Hey Abstractrude, great to see you here.

I agree with your questioning of why. But you aren't quite correct about MDM. While the MDM protocols don't allow geolocation, there is no such prohibition in apps. An app can certainly access GPS location, and send those coordinates to a web site. So some MDM vendors (AirWatch I know) provide the option of installing an app on managed devices. These apps always need additional configuration, as they can't read the device's MDM profile. They can also be set up to continue operating in the background, as Location Services is one of the few features allowed for background use.

But, and this is a big but, since they run all the time, they drain your device's battery quickly. They keep operating, even if you aren't looking up the position, even at night. And if the user reboots the device, they do not automatically start up. So you need to get the user to launch the app once after each reboot.

So this app-based approach probably isn't what you are looking for.

Find My Device probably is a lot closer to what you want. Location Services run only when requested, and requests may be sent over the air. However, there is no sure way to lock the setting "On".

--
Aaron Freimark, Enterprise iOS founder & GroundControl CEO

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abstractrude's picture

abstractrude

Joined: Apr 24, 2012

Yeah, I guess my answer was

Your rating: None (1 vote)

Yeah, I guess my answer was thin on details. My point was the parent was unrealistic and may mis understand how tracking works. But here is the main point, the mdm relationship can be broken at any time, so since the user can remove the profile that defeats what the parent post wanted.

The app from MDM vendors is whole other issue. MobileIron and Airwatch have this functionality, but as you stated it can be shut off at anytime. At first run it can be shut off completely. So once again the parents "want" is not possible. Beyond battery drain, what about privacy? Most of the MDM vendor apps are there to help the end user establish the MDM relationship through self service, since the app was loaded without MDM installed it cannot be "managed" via mdm either, so not only can they turn off location services they can uninstall the app. Companies liek airwatch use marketing to trick people into thinking you can do things on paper, that in the real world are impossible.

I assure the parent, you will never be able to track your users at all times Smile

p.s. MDM does allow location based off nearest cell tower. Unless something has changed, this is important in the roaming notification features.

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J to the C's picture

J to the C

Joined: Apr 25, 2012

iOS device tracking

Your rating: None (1 vote)

Boxy -

That functionality can be done via Android devices. BoxTone is one EMM provider that can do if for Android devices.

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boxy's picture

boxy

Joined: Apr 24, 2012

Thanks for the information

Your rating: None

Thanks for the information guys. I'll explain slightly more in detail in hopes of finding something that will help us.

Our company has acquired a handful of iPads that we are going to loan to clients on a daily basis. Obviously these clients will leave their personal identification with us so accountability will be possible. Ideally we need a method to locate these devices if they are stolen or not returned but, as evidenced above, it seems there are methods of tracking but the user is able to remove the app or device settings that allow tracking. Is this assumption correct?

I am working with a trial of Air-Watch and indeed do see that the user is able to remove the MDM profile and change device settings since there seems to be no configuration setting to disable the deletion of apps and/or disable the modification of device settings.

What are other admins doing in a similar scenario? What safeguards are put into place to ensure asset protection?

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abstractrude's picture

abstractrude

Joined: Apr 24, 2012

I think you are looking at

Your rating: None (1 vote)

I think you are looking at this issue from the wrong prospective. This is more of an HR issue than a tech issue. If you have people stealing from you, plan accordingly. Have them sign a checkout form. Leave a deposit I dont know. I can walk into an office and take a laptop or stack of paper, they can't be tracked. Also, you are assuming that the network connection will be on. The best thing to do here is, manage loss prevention from an HR and human being level, then come up with a great MDM plan for protecting data and the user. Furthermore the Apple Configurator may be a good tool here if they are in and out all the time.

You can use mobileiron or other mdm to make sure data protection is enabled etc.

As for the boxy answer, sure you can track android but android tablets kinda blow, especially third party apps on android tablets. My opinion of course Smile

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amy01's picture

amy01

Joined: Jan 12, 2012

iOS Device Tracking

Your rating: None (1 vote)

Yes iOS & Android devices tracking can be done by Amtel MDM. We have been doing it quite some time now for corporate clients. The decision to track or not to rest with the HR policies of the respective organization. The general trend is track the corporate liable devices but only permission based tracking for BYOD devices.

Our service managers can help you show it real time.

Regards
www.amtelnet.com

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AirWatch's picture

AirWatch

Joined: Feb 23, 2011
WWW

To provide functionality even

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To provide functionality even after a reboot, AirWatch can send an agent checkin request via push notification (always functional even after a device reboot) when a device does not send our agent app’s information for a certain amount of time.

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Scoosh's picture

Scoosh

Joined: Dec 7, 2010

Sounds like you need Loss Prevention solutions

Your rating: None

When you loan out the iPad, does it stay in a specific area or does the iPad leave the building?

I was in a medical facility recently and every piece of equipment had a asset tracking fob affixed to it.
http://www.aeroscout.com/tags

Keeping mind, the location services approach that device management vendors are providing only works for cellular devices.
It won't work for iPod touch or iPad wifi.

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boxy's picture

boxy

Joined: Apr 24, 2012

Yes

Your rating: None

Thank you very much Scoosh,

Those assest tags are a great suggestion and probably what will work the best. We plan on loaning these ipads out daily and want them confined to our building if possible.

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MrShoemaker's picture

MrShoemaker

Joined: Jun 8, 2012
WWW

AirWatch Request

Your rating: None (2 votes)

I manage an iPad Project in Palm Beach Florida. I would love try and test AirWatch if you offer betas or tests. Our Wiki is at http://ipad.palmbeachschools.org

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Colin at Vismo's picture

Colin at Vismo

Joined: Oct 9, 2012
WWW

Vismo Global Tracking Solution

Your rating: None

Hi Boxy

Vismo is a Global Tracking Solution which tracks individuals around the world using an application installed on their smart phone (iOs and iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone) or Iridium and Thuraya satellite phone. It turns their phone into a tracking device with panic-button capability enabling your security team to track, protect and respond to employees as they travel to higher-risk areas of the world. You can use Vismo to show the latest position of any employee in the vicinity and perform on-demand GPS location fixes.

Vismo allows you to get regular GPS locations direct to a secure web platform as well as view current locations and historical trails together with battery life and signal strength. Each device has a panic button which triggers E-mail and SMS alerts in real time to key contacts and covert audio recording.

Take a look at www.vismo.com

I'd be happy to give you a free trial if this would help you.

Colin

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eto's picture

eto

Joined: Oct 24, 2013

Airwatch checkin request

Your rating: None
AirWatch wrote:

To provide functionality even after a reboot, AirWatch can send an agent checkin request via push notification (always functional even after a device reboot) when a device does not send our agent app’s information for a certain amount of time.

Hello,
how is it possible to do that ?
Where in the mdm console ?

Thx!

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Martha Greyson's picture

iOS is designed to look

Your rating: None (1 vote)

iOS is designed to look beautiful and work beautifully. And it's engineered to take full advantage of the technologies built into smartphones and iPhones. We should all commend our fast-innovating technology for all the great inventions in our smartphones, home appliance, and other gadgets.

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hanshenriksen's picture

Most of the MDM vendor apps

Your rating: None

Most of the MDM vendor apps are there to help the end user establish the MDM relationship through self service, since the app was loaded without MDM installed it cannot be "managed" via mdm either, so not only can they turn off location services they can uninstall the app. Companies liek airwatch use marketing to trick people into thinking you can do things on paper, that in the real world are impossible.

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taylor's picture

taylor

Joined: Jan 25, 2016
WWW

SimpleMDM

Your rating: None

For future readers, SimpleMDM offers location tracking, and more recently, historic location tracking. You can read about the feature in this article:

http://simplemdm.com/2016/08/15/introducing-location-history-improved-mo...

Taylor
simplemdm.com
Intuitive, Powerful Apple Device Management

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Sarika Abraham's picture

Sarika Abraham

Joined: Aug 22, 2016
WWW

Hexnode MDM provides location

Your rating: None (1 vote)

Hexnode MDM provides location tracking feature. The location can be updated periodically and the time period can be set by the admin according to their convenience. For tracking a device, that device will have to allow location tracking and there is no way around that. But once it is allowed the MDM can track devices or users very easily. Also the feature incorporates location history which will give you information about the locations the device has been on a particular day, week or month.
For more information on device tracking please stop by MDM location tracking

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