iPads in Education - MDM with Meraki

The vast majority of my morning has been spent "playing" with iPads on Meraki.  This is only my fifth time I have blocked out some hours to work with it, and finally I am feeling like I've made some headway!

It's been quite an involved process, and if you are wondering if you should go this route for your MDM solution for iPads there are some pointers I think worth sharing that may help you decide.

Items to keep in mind when troubleshooting:
  • It is a multi-faceted process - you have to deal with Apple's DEP and Apple's VPP, in addition to the tools within Meraki; 
  • There are many ways to do similar functions - for instance, you can create & add profiles from within Meraki, or you can create them in iPhone Configuration Utility Tool and upload them, or you can create them in Configurator... you get the picture.
  • Meraki has a definite delay in the data that displays - sometimes you just have to sit and be patient, or even walk away
These all contribute to the fact that you have to plan on extra time in troubleshooting because there are so many more factors to check. An example of this - I spent an hour trying to figure out why a device would not add profiles, checking/rechecking the settings for the device in Meraki multiple times.  Finally I checked for the device in DEP - it somehow was not assigned to the Meraki server.

Items to keep in mind when managing apps with Meraki:

  • even if you are pushing out all free managed apps, you MUST log into the app store on each device with an Apple ID...so, go in knowing, adding apps requires an Apple ID
  • apps can be assigned to devices or users - and you can pull back the app either way (if you are assigning to a user, they have to accept an invitation to be a part of the "loaner" program)
And, overall, it's frustrating but must be said...this is still pretty BETA, meaning there are glitches and oddities that pop up all the time.  Your best bet when this happens?  Well so far, it is going onto the device and selecting to do a reset (Erase All Contents and Settings) in the settings.  

There will be a series of how-to videos forthcoming in iTunes U and my YouTube channel, similar to what I did with Configurator.  My plan is to do companion blog posts with them for those that prefer to read through the information.  

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