Apple Business Manager (ABM) is an online portal for information technology (IT) administrators who deploy Mac OS, iOS and tvOS devices in an enterprise or educational setting. The portal is used in connection with a third-party mobile device management (MDM) software for managing and distributing these Apple devices and applications.
Devices must be running the following version of an operating system to work with Apple Business Manager:
- iPhone/iPad/iPod touch: iOS 7 or later
- Mac computers: macOS 10.9 or later
- Apple TV devices: tvOS 10.2 or later
Apple Device Manager replaces the Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP). Organizations that use these existing offerings must upgrade to Apple Business Manager by December 1, 2019.
Features of Apple Business Manager
Apple Business Manager works with MDM platforms to manage and configure Apple devices. Popular features include:
- ID management- Employees of an organization must have assigned managed Apple IDs to both sign in and manage the various functions of Apple Business Manager. Administrators can assign different roles to these managed IDs to perform the defined tasks. Roles include Administrator, People Manager, Device Manager and Content Manager. The different roles include different privileged levels of access. Roles are location based, so an account can have one role in a specific location, but another from a different location. To ensure account and data security, accounts can be locked after 10 incorrect password attempts or due to suspected fraudulent activity.
- Device deployment- Apple Business Manager enables deployment of devices that were purchased from Apple or an authorized Apple Authorized Reseller. Devices can be enrolled in an organization’s MDM solution and administrators can choose which specific steps the end users perform when using Setup Assistant on their devices.
- Content purchasing- Administrators can use Apple Business Manager to purchase apps and books in volume for their organization. These digital purchases can then be assigned to specific users, installed and updated over the air. This can be done even if the administrator has disabled the app store on user devices. Additionally, the administrator can revoke and reassign applications to a different user or device. This enables the organization to keep full ownership and control of purchased apps. Those who have previously purchased content through the VPP for Business can migrate them for use.
How to enroll with Apple Business Manager
To get started with the enrollment process, users can visit business.apple.com and choose the “enroll now” option. Users will need to know specific information about their business, including a data universal numbering system (D-U-N-S) number and an email address not associated with an Apple ID. Additional requirements may be browser compatibility and a verification contact.
If an organization is already enrolled in Apple Device Programs, it can be upgraded by using its Apple Deployment Programs Agents account. According to Apple documentation, once upgraded, the Apple Business Manager will have details about the old account such as MDM servers, devices, server tokens, device owners and individual accounts.