What is Apple DEP? (Apple Device Enrollment Program)

The Device Enrollment Program is part of the free Apple Business Manager portal, but what is Apple DEP exactly and what are its key benefits?

What is Apple DEP and how can you save time and costs with it?
What is Apple DEP and how can you save time and costs with it?

What is Apple DEP?

The way that iPhones and iPads have taken over the business world was not necessarily foreseeable. Initially designed as a product for private use, Apple was able to make its business breakthrough through its usability and design. IT departments now have to consider which solutions are best for managing these devices.

The business market is however too lucrative for Apple to leave this gap unaddressed. To help integrate iPhones and iPads into the workplace, the Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) was introduced, providing a way to quickly configure a large number of devices at once and automate their enrollment into the enterprise. It is designed to be used in conjunction with MDM software and is not a standalone management solution for organizations.

Although once an independent program, Apple DEP is now part of Apple Business Manager, which you can learn more about in our Complete Guide to Managing Devices with Apple Business Manager.

Apple DEP – How it Works

1. Sign Up for / Login to the Apple DEP

Since the Device Enrollment Program is managed as part of Apple Business Manager, creating an Apple Business Manager account is necessary. At https://business.apple.com/ every qualified company and educational institution can register. Having an existing Dun & Bradstreet number (D-U-N-S) is requirement, which according to our experience is available for virtually all companies.

2. Devices Eligible for DEP

Certain aspects must be taken into consideration when purchasing devices destined to participate in then DEP. The devices can only be bought directly from Apple (i.e. the Apple Store) or from an authorized dealer. Some carriers also offer the possibility to procure devices via DEP when mentioned at the order stage.

3. Mobile Device Management (MDM) with DEP Support

Not every MDM solution supports DEP. Before you start it, you should ensure, in terms of software, that you are ready to do so. Your MDM solution needs to be linked to Apple DEP to allow the devices to find their way to your server.

4. Connecting Devices to DEP

All which remains now is to assign the Apple devices to the DEP console to the corresponding MDM server. Both individual devices and complete orders can be connected to the server.

What Are the Advantages of Apple’s Device Enrollment Program?

Some of the Apple DEP benefits that you can expect from implementation are:

  1. Optimized work processes: After linking with the MDM server, everything else is fully automatic. Neither iPhone nor iPad need to be in the physical hands of an admin. You can send the purchased devices directly to the user, who can then enjoy the “out-of-the-box” feeling of a new device.
  2. Highest level of security for the enterprise: The company nevertheless retains full control over the device. This prevents the MDM profile from being deleted by the user. In fact, the DEP admin is the only person who can remove the link between the device and the server, which is stored directly on the Apple servers. This means that stolen or lost devices can be prevented from reverting back to factory settings – an immense security gain.
  3. Supervised Mode: Especially interesting for corporate devices is how DEP devices offer the possibility to be placed over-the-air in supervised mode. This allows further security measures to be placed on the device to secure sensitive data. Our ultimate guide on iOS / iPhone device management explains supervised mode in more depth.

Apple Devices at Work – Never Been as Easy

With the Apple Device Enrollment Program, Apple has made a major leap when it comes to COPE strategies, enabling an efficient way to configure devices as quickly and as easily as possible.

In order to benefit from this, all you need is a MDM solution, like Cortado MDM. Ultimately, this combination will save you a significant amount of both time and money.