Apple Configurator: Transitioning to Apple Deployment Programs

You can deploy Mac and iOS devices in education and business environments using Apple Configurator or the Apple Deployment Programs. This article helps you decide which to use.

Apple Deployment Programs include the Device Enrollment Program, Volume Purchase Program and Apple ID for Students, which are designed to help institutions deploy and manage iOS and OS X devices, and content like apps and books. These programs are designed for both education and business users.

There are two common deployment scenarios for institutionally owned devices:

  • Shared – The device is shared between many users over the course of a day or week. Apple Configurator remains the recommended tool for deploying shared iOS devices.
  • One-to-One – The device is used by one user for an extended time. Apple Deployment Programs are recommended for One-to-One deployments in countries where they are offered. This article has advice for moving existing devices into these programs.

Moving existing devices into the Device Enrollment Program (DEP)

Devices in One-to-One deployments can be supervised and enrolled in Mobile Device Management (MDM) using the Device Enrollment Program. Because supervision and MDM enrollment occur during the Setup Assistant, existing devices must be erased before they are redeployed. iOS devices that are already enrolled in MDM can be erased remotely using an MDM command. Devices that have been supervised with Apple Configurator can be erased by removing supervision with Apple Configurator:

  1. Connect the devices to the Apple Configurator workstation.
  2. Select the devices or device groups in the Supervise pane.
  3. Control-click on the selected devices and select Unsupervise.

Note: Apple Configurator does not activate or manage a device that is configured for the Device Enrollment Program.

Restoring user data after moving into the Device Enrollment Program

When an iCloud backup is restored to the same device, all supervision and profiles come from the backup regardless of how it was configured in the Device Enrollment Program. For this reason, when restoring backups each user should transition to a new or different device to ensure Device Enrollment Program supervision and MDM enrollment are enforced.


  • If you configure a device to be supervised and enrolled in MDM using the Device Enrollment Program, then restore a backup made when the same device was unsupervised, the device will be unsupervised.
  • If you restore a backup made when the same device was supervised by Apple Configurator and enrolled in MDM, the device will remain supervised and enrolled, but the MDM profile will be removable, because Apple Configurator cannot lock MDM enrollment.
  • If you restore the backup to a different device that is configured for supervision and MDM enrollment via the Device Enrollment Program, the device will remain supervised and MDM enrollment will not be removable.

Converting Volume Purchase Program (VPP) Codes to Managed Distribution

With iOS 7, Apple introduced Managed Distribution of apps and books purchased through the Volume Purchase Program. Institutions can use a Mobile Device Management server to assign apps to users. When apps are no longer needed you can reassign them to a different user.

To switch from using Apple Configurator to manage apps with redemption codes to using Managed Distribution, you need to convert your existing redemption codes to Managed Distribution. Or, you can purchase additional licenses if you plan to keep using your existing redemption codes.

For instructions on converting redemption codes, see Volume Purchase Program: Migrating from redemption codes to managed distribution

For more information about using redemption codes, see Apple Configurator: Using Volume Purchase Program (VPP) Redemption Codes

Apple ID for Students

Users who participate in Managed Distribution use their own Apple IDs to claim apps and books that are assigned to them. Adults and students who are 13 or older can use their existing Apple IDs. Schools can use the Apple ID for Students program to create Apple IDs for students under the age of 13, with parent or guardian consent.

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