ios 9.3

All the new stuff for enterprises in iOS 9.3

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Apple's released iOS 9.3 about a week ago, then pulled it for many devices, then re-released it yesterday, hopefully for good. There's a LOT of new features for enterprise in here, and we'll try to break it down for you.

Some of these features require MDM support, so you will need to wait for your MDM to support them. Others only need a configuration profile which you can create with Apple Configurator 2 or by hand (if you are adept at manipulating XML), and then distribute using your MDM. Apple's configuration profile reference is now a public document.

ALL of the new commands require Supervision on your devices to prove that they are corporate-owned. Supervision is available by the Device Enrollment Program, or by the Mac software Apple Configurator, or by using the cross-platform GroundControl (disclaimer: that's my company).

Lost Mode

Requires MDM Support
Supervised Only

Allows MDM to retrieve the longitude and latitude of a device marked “Lost”, and displays custom text (such as a phone number) on the lock screen. Seems to be the enterprise version of “Find My iPhone” without the hassles of Apple IDs and activation lock.

Home Screen Layout

Configuration Profile: Example
Supervised Only

Enforce home screen icon positions, locking apps in place and making them undeletable.

App Whitelist and Blacklist

Configuration Profile: Example
Supervised Only

Prevents apps listed (including all built-in Apple apps except Settings and Phone) from being shown or launchable, or specifies a whitelist of apps that are the ONLY ones that can launch. If you try to include Settings in the payload the device will reject the configuration profile. This is a long-awaited feature and we're happy to have it (although we wish it could hide Settings too).

Shared iPads & Education Features

Configuration Profile & MDM support required
Supervised Only with new shared device mode

Now labeled a “Preview”, Shared iPads are initially being promoted by Apple for education use only. Setup involves multiple steps, and requires several tools. There's a new Apple School Manager system that's a bit like DEP and a bit like our Apple ID Batch Creator. We’ll explore this more in the future. Allows a school to specify users & classes & groups, assign these to specific devices, and log out users from devices.

Set Notifications

Configuration Profile
Supervised Only

Specify which apps should get which notification types (none, banner, modal alert, etc.)

Lock Screen Text

Configuration Profile: Example
Supervised Only

iOS 9.3 now prints (very) small text at the bottom of the lock screen. Two configuration profile keys allow administrators to specify additional information: an Asset Tag and and an "If Lost..." message.

New Restrictions

Configuration Profiles
Supervised Only

New restrictions to block the Apple Music service, block iTunes Radio, prevent changes to Notifications settings, and to restrict Safari password saving to specified domains only.

About the security content of iOS 9.3

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Apple has published a list of security updates in iOS 9.3:

New MDM Features in iOS 9.3

taylor's picture
Your rating: None (10 votes)

There's been a lot of press on the new features coming out for iOS 9.3, but most of this hasn't covered the more subtle, MDM functionality enhancements. Namely:

  • Ability to enable/disable apps from running
  • Ability to reconfigure icon layout on the Home Screen
  • Control over notification settings
  • Additional restriction options
  • Safari auto-fill domain control

We go into more depth in the following article:

Feel free to respond, I'll answer any questions the best that I can Laughing out loud

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