As someone who’s been managing iPads and Macs for a long time, I know there are a lot of “nooks” where settings are in various mobile device management systems. I’ve learned a lot of things through trial and error as the platforms have evolved, but that isn’t useful for new technicians. A new book was recently published that I feel is essential for anyone who works with Apple products in the enterprise. I just finished reading Apple Device Management: A Unified Theory of Managing Macs, iPads, iPhones, and AppleTVs, and I think it’s going to become the handbook for Apple device management.
About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.
I first read about this book on LinkedIn, and I realized how much I would have appreciated this book years ago. If you are starting fresh on Apple device management coming from a Windows world, this book will help you understand the foundational concepts of Apple management.
You’ll start by understanding where Apple, third-party software vendors, and the IT community is taking us. What is Mobile Device Management and how does it work under the hood. By understanding how MDM works, you will understand what needs to happen on your networks in order to allow for MDM, as well as the best way to give the least amount of access to the servers or services that’s necessary.
As someone who didn’t work with Apple products in the early days. I appreciated the history of how Apple management was done in the 90s and early 2000s. Several screenshots were included as well that was fun to examine to see what IT managers dealt with back in the “golden era.” One of the sections I appreciated in this early part of the book is where it shows what was added management wise in various versions of macOS and iOS.
You’ll then look at management agents that do not include MDM, as well as when you will need to use an agent as opposed to when to use other options. Once you can install a management solution, you can deploy profiles on a device or you can deploy profiles on Macs using scripts. With Apple Device Management as your guide, you’ll customize and package software for deployment and lock down devices so they’re completely secure. You’ll also work on getting standard QA environments built out, so you can test more effectively with less effort.
The next section looks at the role of Agent-based management versus mobile device management. While Apple has undoubtedly reduced the need for agent-based management over the years, it’s still essential to understand why it was needed.
The following chapters cover things like MDM profiles (what it can do, how you install, etc.), what an MDM can do (and can’t), device provisioning, endpoint encryption, device security, automation, directory services, differences between macOS, iOS, and tvOS management, and a look at the future.
Wrap-up on Apple Device Management book
The book is more of a textbook than a book you’d want to read cover to cover in a few settings. I read it digitally, but this is one of those books I’d prefer to have in physical form so I could easily make notes in the margins, put sticky notes on individual pages, etc. It’s going to be a resource for you as much as it is anything.
While a lot of this content can be scoured for across thousands of blog and forum posts, I’ve not seen a single place where it’s been combined into a single resource that is all vetted as best practices. If you are looking for the best guide for explaining how to manage Apple devices in the enterprise, check out Apple Device Management: A Unified Theory of Managing Macs, iPads, iPhones, and AppleTVs from Amazon. It’s available in Kindle and physical formats.
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