iPads in the Classroom - Creating Cloned iPads via iTunes (iOS 4 iOS5)

If you are in the situation where you have multiple iOS devices that you want to be clones (identical in setup and content), there are several ways you can go about setting this up.  Here are the directions for cloning them using iTunes tethering.  The advantage of this is that there are no device limits and it works whether you are using iOS4 OR iOS 5.  The disadvantage is that you physically have to cable the devices to a computer.

iTunes Settings
You will want to change the following setting in iTunes on the computer that is going to be used to sync multiple iPads with the same image:
       Turn off automatic syncing by checking the box next to “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically”
       PC: Edit Menu - Preferences; select Devices icon
       Mac: iTunes Menu - Preferences; select Devices icon

       If you set Restrictions in the iPad settings, please note that you MUST NOT restrict the adding and deleting of apps.  If you do, the syncing from a backup will not work properly.

Creating the Backup
It is easiest to set up a single iPad and use its backup to setup the remaining iPads.  Note: all these iPads will have the same name using this method.  Each time you wish to change the content on the iPads, you will need to create a new backup to use for restoring all the iPads.  Suggestion: use the same iPad for this each time. 

  1. Connect the iPad you are using as a template for your backup
  2. Setup the iPad information in iTunes as you wish all of them to be set
    1. Add/delete apps, music, photos, podcasts, eBooks
      1. Set the app screens as you want them to appear
    2.  Change the background of the screen
    3. Make any setting changes that need to be made
  3. Sync the iPad by clicking Apply:
  4. Right-click on the iPad name and select Back Up
  5. Once the backup is created the iPad can be disconnected

Setting Up Additional Devices to the “Template”

If you have an iPad that has not been used before and is going to use the same setup as your template iPad, go through these steps (this allows you to skip some of the steps used in starting up with a new iPad out of the box; if you are setting up a stand-along iPad, watch for the ‘iPad Out of the Box’ post):
  1. Launch iTunes
  2. Attach the iPad(s) via USB connection
  3. Progress through the setup screens (Click ‘Continue’, ‘I agree…’ and ‘Continue’)
  4. Log in using your iTunes account information for the device (this is probably the generic iTunes account used with the devices).
  5. Choose restore to backup (pick the desired backup from the dropdown)

Restoring Devices to Backup

In actuality, you are going to restore the iPads to a backup, not sync them.  This will erase any settings/app changes made by the user(s) that last had the iPad and restore it to the setup you created.
  1. On the devices, go to Settings - General - Reset (towards the bottom) and select Erase All Content and Settings.You will get 2 warning screens ensuring that you want to erase the device.
  2. Launch iTunes
  3. Attach the iPad(s) via USB connection
  4. Right-click on the iPad name & select Restore from Backup
  5. Select the Backup to be used for the restore; click Restore
  6. Once it has finished syncing, it can be disconnected


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