Apple School Manager: Everything You Need to Know

Managing large numbers of iPads for your students doesn’t need to be a headache. Learn how you can save time with Apple School Manager here!

Apple School Manager: Everything You Need to Know. Girl working on iPad.

What Is Apple School Manager?

Apple School Manager (ASM) is a web-based management portal for iPads and iPhones, as well as for iPod touch, Apple TV and Mac devices. It is available in 69 countries worldwide.

Apple School Manager is used with a Mobile Device Management solution to provide IT admins in schools with a single pane of glass for deploying and configuring devices, whether user or school-owned, in addition to buying and distributing apps and books to students. If you happen to be familiar with Apple Business Manager, ASM will appear very similar, yet it offers extra features specifically designed for the education sector.

What Are the Advantages of Apple School Manager?

Just like Apple Business Manager, the main benefits of Apple School Manager are its time-saving capabilities when it comes down to managing the large numbers of iPads your students might be using. Here are the major benefits:

Comprehensive User Management

Apple School Manager is the perfect portal for managing all the different users and teachers which are part of the eLearning experience. The ASM admin can assign different roles, including managers, teachers and students, which each have their own privileges. Unique Managed Apple IDs, which are required by students to sign in to linked personal or school-managed devices, are also easily created on the platform. If your school or institution uses a Student Information System (SIS), which may include lesson plans, timetables etc., ASM may be able to integrate with this directly too.

Implement Configurations and Device Restrictions With Just a Few Clicks

To really deliver the best possible learning experience for students, it is recommended by Apple to connect ASM with your Mobile Device Management solution.

If you are not sure what a Mobile Device Management solution is and why you need one for Apple School Manager, consult our free white paper at the end of the page.

Once both are linked, you can centrally update all device settings – whether for iPhone or iPad – and monitor device use to ensure institution policies are upheld.

For example, IT can easily implement Safari or app restrictions on Apple devices with iOS 7 or newer, regardless of whether you wish to disable access to all websites, specific websites or to just restrict adult content. In addition, iOS devices also support a global HTTP proxy configuration, enabling more comprehensive restrictions for institutions which may need to comply with legal requirements for content filtering.

Bulk Purchase Apps and Books with Special Conditions

The apps and books on iOS are capable of transforming the way your students learn. With Apple School Manager, managing all the different apps or book licenses becomes much easier. First, when educational institutions purchase more than 20 copies of an app, they can take advantage of special price offers. A more critical feature, however, is that after the purchase every license remains property of the institution and can be transferred to other devices and users, preventing licenses from potentially being linked to a student’s private Apple ID.

Again, ASM really starts to shine when combined with your MDM solution. Both work together to allow school admins to remotely handle the distribution and management of apps and books for each student and device. Students do not need to install apps themselves. Most MDM solutions can also leverage existing user directories or groups, like Active Directory.

Automatically Deploy iPads Purchased From Resellers

Apple School Manager integrates with another important service from Apple: The Device Enrollment Program (DEP). If you purchase your iPads from authorized resellers or carriers which support DEP, you can enable these devices to be automatically registered with your Mobile Device Management solution at the purchasing stage.

Once devices are registered with the MDM, apps, books, configuration profiles and settings, are then automatically pushed to each device. Hence, instead of having to connect each device via cable and manually configure each device via Apple Configurator 2 before handing them to users, the whole process with Apple School Manager is streamlined massively.

This saves a huge amount of time, especially when you are dealing with 30 new iPads for the entire class, or more.

10 silver iPads on a brown wooden table
A scary sight for some school admins, but it doesn’t need to be when devices are purchased through Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP)

How Much Does Apple School Manager Cost?

So how much does Apple School Manager cost? For those of you wondering, Apple School Manager is free to use. 

That being said, to get the most out of the portal, a cloud-based MDM solution is recommended, meaning subscription costs are likely to be charged.

How Apple School Manager Works at a Glance

The best way to understand how Apple School Manager works is to reach out to a MDM provider, like Cortado MDM, as they can walk you through the portal free of charge and without obligation. Feel free to browse our onboarding videos too.

For a quick overview, here are the basic steps:

  1. Once you have access to Apple School Manager – and have purchased devices from authorized resellers – you need to start by linking your MDM server to the account.
  2. The admin then needs to select the devices and assign these users with the MDM solution.
  3. Important settings, like profiles, user rights and which apps are for which class or user group are configured via the MDM solution.
  4. iPads are then distributed to students, whether directly to their house or in the classroom. The admins are not required to touch the devices at all. The student simply opens the boxed device, logs in and can immediately use the device as prescribed by the admin.

Get Started Today

You can apply for access to Apple School Manager here. Only recognized educational institutions are able to use the portal. During the verification process, Apple will contact you by phone to verify your information. To do this, you will need to enter the confirmation contact in the registration form. Apple will then send you detailed instructions on the next steps you need to take to complete your ASM account. This process can take up to 5 days.

To find out more about Mobile Device Management solutions, consult our Cortado MDM homepage or simply start by testing Cortado MDM free of charge. We also offer free support and consultation on Apple School Manager, even if you are not a client of ours, so contact us today!