Can’t connect to iTunes Store

…is an annoying message.

Whilst trying to install an app on one class’s set of 6 iPads I kept hitting a ‘cant connect to iTunes Store’. Strange and frustrating. I tried using the trick of changing the date to some point in the future but that didn’t work.

What I did do was reset the iPads, wiping all content and settings. It’s a little extreme, but it did seem to do the trick! And restoring off an iCloud backup is super simple.

Except when you’ve only got a 20meg pipe.

This is the major drawback with running a ‘cloud’ setup with iPads. It’s been good up to now, especially with keeping the costs down, but in future getting a sync and charge case and going down the wired iTunes route is probably the best idea.

Setting up iPads pt.2

Or, Spectacular, Spectacular!

Today we had a go at setting up all the iPads. It was not entirely successful, perhaps even spectacularly disastrous, but definitely informative.

Here was the plan:

  1. Setup Apple ID on one device per class set, redeem iTunes vouchers and then download required apps
  2. Backup to iCloud
  3. Restore from iCloud on the other iPads in the class set
  4. Sit down and have a cup of tea, marvelling at how quick and easy all that was

Alas, no.

iTunes vouchers

Didn’t think this would be a problem, as our Apple reseller sent us enough iTunes voucher codes. However, two of them weren’t working so I thought I would just buy some from my own iTunes account and then claim back the expenses. The first try worked, but when I tried to create a second gift voucher, it just wouldn’t let me. Instead we had to take a trip to Morrisons to physically buy a second voucher. Hey ho.

Download apps

Setting the apps going was very simple as I had emailed a list of iTunes URLs to the iPad. A few taps later, all the apps had been bought and were starting to download. However, I hadn’t reckoned on the school’s 20mbps connection and the large size of apps like Pages, Keynote and Numbers. It took about an hour to download 6 iPads of apps…not pleasant!

iCloud backup

The backup to iCloud was easy peasy, as was the restoring from backup (to begin with). However, we then hit issues of iPads not thinking we were in the UK and then promptly deleting all the pending apps.

There was also the issue of the lock screen names that Apple Configurator had done for us. To get round this, you just had to plug the iPad back into the Mac with Apple Configurator on and let it reapply the name and the configuration profiles (for wifi etc). This had to be done before entering any passwords and re-downloading apps.

I’m hoping that leaving the iPads in their boxes happily downloading apps overnight will result in a set of setup iPads in the morning. I’m also hoping that the pain at this point will result in slightly more straightforward day-to-day usage of the iPads. Hopefully!

iCloud and class iPad sets

After our Lion Server upgrade and a (probably) lengthy discussion with one of Toucan’s finest engineers this coming Monday, I’m planning on ordering iPads for our school. We’re going for some class sets of 6 for Year 5 & 6 classes and then smaller class sets for Reception and Nursery. However, the issue still remains of how we’re going to manage them, particularly regarding AppleIDs. Here’s a solution I’m now considering…

Class iCloud accounts

Because we’re not going for complete class sets of iPads, sharing one AppleID and iCloud account may well work for each class set

  • Set up an AppleID and iCloud for each class set, with a catchy name like myschoolyear5ipads2@me.com or something.
  • Set aside money in the budget to pay for full licensing of apps once the Volume Purchase Programme comes to the UK. Not ideal, but neither are the alternatives.
  • Turn on automatic downloads of new apps on each iPad in the class, plus on the teacher’s iTunes on their Mac. This makes adding new (free) apps on the class set super easy!
  • Turn on documents in the cloud and iCloud backup. This means that children can pick up any iPad and their documents will be there. Hopefully won’t result in horrible syncing issues.
  • Setup the same me.com email on every iPad. Teachers can then email the whole class set at once.
  • Turn off photostream – pity needs to be shown for our wireless network!

Or something. What are the potential issues with this idea?