Intune for Education is a school focused MDM (Mobile Device Management) tool that makes the set up, deployment and management of Windows 10 devices incredibly easy for schools and their IT partners. I’ve probably completed a few hundred demos of it we featured it in our Trial in a Box programme in May and June of 2018.
I’m super excited to see that now iOS support has been added to Intune for Education, allowing a “single pane of glass” for management of both Windows 10 and iOS devices for schools. This has been one of the most requested features from school leaders and IT partners over the last 12 months. The full version of Intune has supported iOS for a long time and I’ve previously written a five part blog post series showing how to set up and configure DEP, VPP and Custom Profiles for iPads. With this announcement, however, the interface has been simplified and the process made easier as it can all be done via the Intune for Education Portal here.
I strongly encourage you to go to the above link to get started and read the instructions, but if you want to skip straight into your iOS Device Management in the Intune for Education Portal then click here.
Note that the above screenshot (from the official documentation) shows all three sections configured and ready to “manage”. If you’re setting this up for the first time you will need to:
- Log into the Intune for Education Portal
- Select “Tenant Settings” on the left hand menu
- Click the new “iOS Device Management” settings (below the “General” menu)
- Click “Configure” for each of the three sections before you can start to manage your iOS devices.
Therefore, your screen will probably look more like this:
The overall instructions are pretty good and quick links include:
There is also detailed instructions on how to get iOS apps via VPP and some important reminders when it comes to free iOS apps. Even though you can add them directly to devices, it’s strongly recommended that you add them via the Apple School Manager and VPP because this will allow for silent installs of the apps being pushed to the devices (rather than prompting for an Apple ID on the device before installation).
Something to note: Intune for Education will only allow you to manage devices enrolled via Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP). Whilst most schools are purchasing iPads from authorised Apple resellers, keep this restriction in mind when you’re planning a deployment and check that the iPads you have will be supported via DEP.
One of the nice features is when adding a free app from the iOS App Store you can search for apps directly from within the Intune for Education portal, meaning a teacher or IT manager does not need to leave the “single pane of glass” to add apps. A small, but super convenient, feature.
iOS Settings & Restrictions:
This is one of the key areas that is added to the standard Intune For Education console once iOS is configured and you can read the instructions for this here.
It’s worth noting that the Intune for Education for iOS is optimized around the functionality available in Apple School Manager and deployments into school scenarios. It does not add any additional features that are not already available in the full version of Intune. To that end, what I wrote about late last year still applies, however my hope is that now there is a specifically education focused version of Intune for Education with iOS management that some of these features will rapidly be added – watch this space for now.
My Point of View:
I see this as a critical step forward for Intune for Education. In my previous role as the Director of ICT at St Andrew’s College, I was constantly looking for tools and reporting that simplified the experience for my system administrators and seeking that elusive “single pane of glass” for reporting and administration.
The addition of iOS management to Intune for Education adds a critical step towards that (keep in mind the full version of Intune also supports Android and MacOS). With many schools running a mixed environment of both Windows 10 and iPad devices, this provides an even easier interface for the configuration, deployment and management of their devices – which can only be a good thing.