Today I was busy setting up some new iPad minis for school. Apple Configurator is getting increasingly reliable and stable, so didn’t hit too many issues with that. However, I then hit a problem that I couldn’t get the devices to enrol on Profile Manager.
Now, I’ve spent several years trying my best to get Profile Manager to work. On Lion, it was basically broken. By Mavericks, it had improved quite a lot. But it was never fully reliable, with odd quirks coming up every now and again. There were some cool features, such as the use of variables when setting up things such as email accounts. But the downside to this was that when the Mac server decided to lose the link to our Active Directory, this resulted in all of the teachers’ email settings being removed from their iPads. Not fun.
Now, I have used Meraki before, which has a free MDM solution. It doesn’t do everything and can be a bit confusing to use, but it is certainly reliable. And free. So today I decided that I would use Profile Manager to actually build all of my profiles (which it is really good at, e.g. email settings, restrictions etc.) and then use Meraki to deploy them.
And so far, this seems to be working fine! The only downside is that I have to remove every device from Profile Manager and enrol them onto Meraki instead, but I’m having to do a bit a refresh anyway, so it shouldn’t be too much work as well.
Profile Manager is now working! Woo. Now I just need to find the time to actually play with it.
All down to Dave from Toucan.
I was listening the the most excellent Out of School podcast by Fraser Speirs and Bradley Chambers and was struck by a comment Chambers made about how they had gotten rid of their Active Directory in their school. Now this obviously doesn’t affect iPads, as they don’t need logging in etc, but what was interesting is how they just had local accounts for their Macs. Here’s why I’m interested…
- One of the annoying parts of using the Macs at the moment is waiting for network accounts to be available when you first turn them on, and then waiting for login to happen. This wouldn’t be a problem any more!
- Another annoying thing is the issues Macs seem to have if you leave a network account logged in for long periods of time. I leave my personal MacBook on all the time and it just wakes up fine, no problem. But network accounts seem to be a lot more unstable, so much so that I encourage teachers to turn off, or at least log off, their Mac at the end of every day.
- Now obviously one would still like the benefits of being able to manage the preferences on a Mac, even if one wasn’t using a directory. Now my understanding of Profile Manager is that it pushes preferences directly to a Mac without the need for a directory as such. Interesting and interestinger!
The promise of Lion’s Profile Manager seemed good: a nearly free way of managing all the macs and iPads on your network, pushing setting etc over air using Apple’s Push Notifications.
Except I can’t get it to work. The issue is that when you try and enrol an iOS device, it complains that the certificate is invalid. I’ve searched hi and low on the Interweb for solutions, and even tried out a few. However, the result has been even more of a mess, as far as I can tell!
45 iPads arrived at school today, just waiting for me to set them up ready for September. I was hoping to use Profile Manager as part of the setup process, but I think now I’ll just have to make do with Apple Configurator and iTunes. Hey ho.
Maybe more joy will be to had with Mountain Lion Server?
These guys at Amsys seem to have gotten it going, if anyone’s interested.