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Apple improves MDM on iOS, iPad OS

Changes to Apple's mobile device management protocol could lead to better MDM products for iPhones and iPads. The protocol update is in iOS 15 and iPad OS 15.

Apple has changed its mobile device management protocol in iOS 15 and iPad OS 15, so IT staff can onboard and update iPhones and iPads faster.

Apple inserted into its MDM protocol a feature called declarative management that lets its devices retrieve configuration, policy or app updates deployed by IT on the corporate server. The automated process will save time for support staff.

Apple introduced the update at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June and rolled it out with iOS 15 last week. MDM providers will tap into the technology over time.

"This is going to help [companies] get those devices out to people faster and make sure they're secure, operational and manageable," said Forrester analyst Andrew Hewitt.

But Hewitt said he would be watching to see whether iPhones and iPads slow down during the update process, hurting performance.

Charles Edge, CTO at Minnesota investment firm Bootstrappers.mn, said the protocol change will be particularly beneficial for his company, which primarily uses Apple products.

"Being able to declare a desired state on the device and have it match that state is super cool," Edge said.

He added that he does not expect to implement declarative management at his company for at least another year. Still, "I'm looking forward to when I can use it," he said.

Declarative management marks the most significant change Apple has made to its MDM protocol since introducing it in iOS 4. Apple said the use of the protocol is mostly the same, so MDM vendors won't have to make dramatic changes to products to adopt declarative management.

Apple holds a 15.5% share of the global smartphone market, according to recent data from Gartner.

Maxim Tamarov is a news writer covering mobile and end-user computing. He previously wrote for The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., and the Sun Transcript in Winthrop, Mass. He graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @MaximTamarov.

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