iPads in Education - Cloning iPads to a New iTunes Library

We have recently had the situation occur where the computer that our iPads were synced to had some issues, and we needed to sync the iPads to a different computer.  The first iPad we tried to restore resulted in a muddled mess.  It took us a couple days to figure out the most efficient way of getting our cloned iPads updated.

That process made us back up and reconsider how everything works. Here's what to remember, and the process that worked for us.

First - some key points to recall at a time like this:
  • A device can only be synced to one iTunes Library
  • App purchases (downloads) are tied to an Apple ID (formerly known as iTunes Account)
  • App downloads are in the iTunes Library the device is synced with
Next - what had to happen:
  • The devices needed to be tied to the new iTunes Library
  • The iTunes Library had to be logged into the Apple ID we used for the cloned iPads
  • All apps had to be downloaded onto the new computer in this new iTunes Library

Now - the process that ended up working for us:
  1. Starting out - has to only be done once
    1. Open iTunes, log into the appropriate Apple ID
    2. Connect one of the iPads to the iTunes
    3. Right click on the iPad name where it showed up in the Devices list, select "Transfer Purchases from '[iPad name]'" (where iPad name is the name of your iPad)
    4. Wait while it downloaded all the apps onto the computer
  2. Preparing the Backup - has to be done on the iPad you are using as a template
    1. Connect the iPad
    2. Highlight the iPad in the Devices list
    3. Click on "Apps" in the menu bar for the iPad
    4. Check the Sync Apps checkbox (you may have to wait a bit for the apps to un-grey)
      1. If you want some additional apps that were not on the iPad before, but are in the list, check them now.
    5. Click Apply
    6. Wait while the apps all re-load on the iPad (yes, your folders are gone... )-:  )
    7. Re-organize the iPad screens as you want (I know, tedious - but you only have to do it on this first one)
      1.  Steps 5-7 are for organizing the apps on the iPad itself.  If you prefer to organize them inside iTunes use this order - #7, #5, #6
    8. Right-click on the iPad name in the device list for a drop-down list of choices
    9. Select "Backup" (IMPORTANT - Note the time of your backup so you know which backup to use if you have multiple!!)
  3. The mass of iPads - have to do on each of the remaining iPads
    1. Connect the iPad
    2. Click on the iPad name where it shows up in the Devices to highlight it
    3. Click on "Apps" in the menu bar for the iPad
    4. Check the Sync Apps checkbox (you may have to wait a bit for the apps to un-grey)
      1. If you want some additional apps that were not on the iPad before, but are in the list, check them now.
    5. Click Apply
    6. Wait while the apps all re-load on the iPad (yes, your folders are gone...but you don't need to reorganize on these!)
    7. Right-click on the iPad name in the devices list for a drop-down list of choices
    8. Select "Restore from Backup" - make sure to select the correct backup by date & time!

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