GroundControl

Welcome to the GroundControl Forum

Aaron Freimark's picture
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Many of you know that I recently launched a product called GroundControl. It was designed to fill some of the all-too-familiar gaps in setting up and deploying iOS devices at scale. You know, the gaps that require lots of manual tapping to complete. Supervision, WiFi setup, MDM enrollment, iOS updates ... and on and on. GroundControl automates all of that, with fewer screen taps, maybe even zero taps.

When I founded Enterprise iOS I wanted it to become a community for iOS administrators to be able to freely ask questions and receive honest answers from real experience. Those questions and shared experiences — shared frustrations really — gave birth to GroundControl. What better place to host our Q&A forum?

Please post questions and experiences here. We'll do our best to answer honestly.

Thank you.
Aaron Freimark
Founder & CTO, GroundControl

New Restrictions in iOS 9 — with sample Configuration Profiles

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iOS 9 contains many new restrictions, especially for devices supervised by GroundControl, Configurator, and DEP.

Over at GroundControl's web site, I've posted a list of the new restrictions, plus sample configuration profiles for each. Want to lock the device name or wallpaper? Prevent the device passcode from being set or being changed? These are for you.

A few of the MDM providers will be ready on day 1, but if your on-prem solution may take some time to update, then you may use these files to bridge the gap.

Enjoy!

Quickly deliver iOS security updates with GroundControl 1.7

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Today GroundControl — the iOS fleet provisioning system — introduced a new and very powerful feature: GroundControl can now update the iOS firmware on your devices. Updates are cached, delivered as quickly as possible to your devices, and do not burden your WiFi network. Install critical Apple security updates to your entire fleet within 24 hours or less, without shipping to your depot.

Large fleets of mobile devices — such as in retail, transportation, or healthcare — typically require a labor-intensive mobile provisioning process, performed in a configuration depot. GroundControl dramatically simplifies that process, automating all processes to two steps: (1) Open the Box, (2) Plug it in. And its cloud-managed, distributed deployment model enables in-place reprovisioning, meaning you no longer need to ship devices back to the depot.

Like everything in GroundControl, the new iOS update feature is very customizable. To save time, payloads can be configured to update devices only below a specific version. Policies may be set up to patch only certain models, or at a handful of locations.

Note that when updating, GroundControl is able to install only the current Apple release. So no downgrading, folks. (This is a limitation from Apple, which adds the required cryptographic signatures to the current releases only.) And as a delivery mechanism, GroundControl won't help you prevent iOS updates. But there are other tricks on this site that may be useful to you.

For a demo or free trial, please use this form.

[Disclaimer: Aaron is both the admin of Enterprise iOS and the GroundControl CTO, but hey—we've got to pay the bills!]

GroundControl

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https://www.groundctl.com

GroundControl is a unique product for imaging fleets of corporate-owned iPads and iPhones, especially shared devices. We complement MDM by managing iOS updates, touch-free MDM enrollment, supervision, and by restoring a good deal of device content.

GroundControl and EnterpriseiOS.com were both started by Aaron Freimark, with immense support from Tekserve.

Happy New Year from Enterprise iOS and GroundControl (video)

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A short and fun demonstration of our new GroundControl enterprise-class iOS configurator. It's been a really big year for me, and I'm looking forward to 2015.

Happy New Year!!

Supervision

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What is Supervision?

Supervision was introduced by Apple in iOS 5 to differentiate institutionally-owned iPhones and iPads from personally-owned devices. Supervision is enabled using Apple Configurator, Device Enrollment Program — if purchased directly from Apple — or by GroundControl.

Supervision offers tremendous benefits to enterprises and institutions. It unlocks more than 20 additional management features, including single app mode, silent app push, and always-on VPN. Supervision also allows IT departments to restrict many features not appropriate for corporate-owned or shared devices, such as AirDrop, Messages, Handoff, and even Erase.

Despite the benefits, the supervision process had been too cumbersome for most organizations. According to a major MDM provider, fewer than 10% of all institutionally-managed devices are supervised.

Supervision features by iOS release:

  • App Lock (Single App Mode)
  • Global HTTP Proxy
  • Block iBookstore, iMessages
  • Block Game Center

 

  • Block AirDrop, AirPlay, etc.
  • Disallow Host Pairing
  • Activation Lock Bypass
  • Autonomous Single App Mode
  • Web Content Filter
  • Set background & lock screen
  • Silent App Push

 

  • Always-On VPN
  • Prevent Cloud Sync
  • Prevent Spotlight Internet results
  • Prevent Handoff
  • Prevent Erase
  • Prevent Restrictions UI
  • Prevent installation of Configuration Profiles by UI

 

  • Prevent News
  • Allow managed app installation exclusively
  • Prevent keyboard shortcuts
  • Prevent passcode modification
  • Prevent device name changes
  • Prevent wallpaper changes
  • Prevent automatic app downloads
  • Prevent changes to enterprise app trust
  • Prevent Apple Music
  • Prevent Mail Drop
  • Treat AirDrop as managed destination
  • Prevent pairing with a watch

 

Introducing GroundControl: USB Setup for iPads and iPhones, Managed in the Cloud

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[Editor's note: Folks, for the last nine months or so I've been working on a pretty big project, and today I'm happy to help reveal it to you. Much of what I've learned has come from this community. Thank you! And if you are in Atlanta at AirWatch Connect, please stop by the expo and say hi.]

GroundControl is a new system for streamlining iOS deployment, launching today. Plug in a USB cable, and GroundControl supervises, restores a base image, and installs configuration profiles, on out-of-the-box iPhones and iPads and without a screen touch. The multiple "Launchpad" base stations are managed by the cloud, helping ensure a consistent experience no matter how large your deployment is. If you like, think of it as "Configurator in the cloud".

Perhaps the best way to get a feel for the product is to take a look at the demo video below:

Visit the site http://www.groundctl.com for an FAQ and a signup for a trial. If you have questions please ask.

-- Aaron

The press release follows.

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