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Apple recently introduced several changes to the ways education and enterprise customers can manage iOS device deployments.

The first of these changes has to do with how devices are configured before being assigned to employees. Previously IT administrators would have to plug each device into a computer and apply a profile that configured the settings and restrictions. Under the revised program, customers can now order pre-configured devices directly from Apple, cutting out the setup step and allowing for faster, more convenient deployment. These profiles are also locked to the device, which prevents end users from removing them to use the device as they please.

Deployed devices can also be managed remotely using a new zero-touch configuration setup, which gives IT admins the ability to reconfigure or wipe corporate iPhones and iPads without ever having to bring it into an office. A new device enrollment guide published by Apple contains all of the details of the new options.

Changes have also been made to the Volume Purchase Program, which allows institutions to buy iOS apps in bulk for deployed devices. End users can now put in purchase orders for software through their IT departments just as if they were requisitioning any other software or hardware. This will allow IT departments to better outfit corporate iOS devices with the software employees need to do their jobs effectively.

Finally, a new change to the under-13 Apple ID program makes it easier for students to sign up for Apple’s services on school devices (with parental consent, of course). A parent’s guide to the program was published this month that aims to inform parents of the inherent limitations placed on under-13 Apple IDs in order to comply with FCC rules on data collection from minors.

According to the parent’s guide, these restrictions include:

• Account settings, such as email address and date of birth, cannot be changed. • No credit card is attached to the account at setup. • Limit Ad Tracking is turned on for the account to ensure the student does not receive targeted advertising from Apple. • Students can’t opt-in to receive marketing materials. • A parent or guardian can be notified of any significant changes to the terms of the account.

Under-13 accounts will automatically be converted to full, unrestricted Apple IDs on the user’s 13th birthday. All data and services previously setup with the account will be retained.

With these new changes, some of which Microsoft holdouts have been requesting for some time, Apple is continuing to challenge the Redmond company’s grasp on the institutional market it once dominated.

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