Buy apps and books in Apple School Manager
Intro to buying apps and books
The App Store and Apple Books both feature thousands of apps and books for your organization. Apple School Manager and your mobile device management (MDM) solution work together so your organization can buy content in volume, assign them to devices or users, and then install and update them wirelessly, even if the App Store is disabled. For more information, see the table below.
Type of app or book
Can be assigned to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac
Can be assigned to users with a Managed Apple ID or personal Apple ID
Free or paid apps purchased through Apple School Manager
Free or paid books purchased through Apple School Manager
How to buy apps and books
When you buy apps from the App Store, you can access special pricing for 20 or more copies if you’re an eligible education organization—either an organization for grades K–12 (or their districts), or one for higher education if the organization is accredited and grants degrees. For books, special pricing is not available.
You can also revoke and reassign apps to different devices and users, so your organization retains full ownership and control of purchased apps.
Note: Books purchased through Apple School Manager or volume purchasing can be distributed through managed book distribution, but they can’t be revoked and reassigned.
Add Content Managers to Apple School Manager
It’s easy for you to add Content Managers to Apple School Manager. When you do, they can manage licenses at all locations where they are a Content Manager, even if they didn’t purchase the content. Content Managers with access to multiple locations can then move licenses between locations.
Because administrators have access to all locations, it’s recommended that they be the ones to renew tokens for all the locations at once. Another reason to use the administrators is that they’re also probably the ones managing the MDM solutions.
For more information, see Add Content Managers to locations in the Apple School Manager User Guide.
Plan for app and book distribution
App and book distribution works best when content is assigned before devices are configured or given to users. After the user receives the device and completes the Setup Assistant, your MDM solution can send the user an invitation by email or push notification. When the user accepts the invitation, the user has access to all of the MDM-assigned content—which MDM can install on the user’s device remotely.
To simplify your deployment, it is highly recommended that you assign apps to devices instead of users. With device-based app assignment, there’s no invitation process or requirement to use a Managed Apple ID or Apple ID on the device. Books can’t be assigned to devices.
Note: In-app purchases aren’t compatible with apps assigned to a device.
To alleviate bandwidth saturation during the initial mass deployment, consider distributing only the apps necessary for the first day of class, then make additional apps available to users for download over time. If the device is supervised, apps are installed silently by your MDM solution.
Apps that are assigned to a device through your MDM solution:
May be automatically removed when a user unenrolls the device from MDM
This also applies to user-assigned apps.
Aren’t automatically reinstalled after restoring through a backup from the Finder (in macOS 10.15 or later), in iTunes (in macOS 10.14 or earlier), or iCloud restore from backup
Purchase required apps and books for initial deployment
As soon as possible, buy any apps or books required for your initial deployment. Both paid and free content can be acquired using Apple School Manager. To learn about purchasing content, see Select and purchase content in the Apple School Manager User Guide and see the video Purchasing content.
Note: Books and Apple Books textbooks aren’t available through Apple School Manager or the Volume Purchase Program in these countries or regions: Bahrain, Brazil, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates.
Transfer licenses between locations
Within your organization, you can move licenses from one location to another. You can also transfer licenses in order to consolidate purchases from multiple accounts or to decentralize and distribute licenses to match your organization’s structure. (For example, a location in Apple School Manager might represent a building, a department, or a group.)
Note: Transfers won’t disrupt license assignments in MDM. Only unassigned licenses can be transferred to another location.
For more information, see Transfer licenses to another location in the Apple School Manager User Guide.
Third-party MDM solutions assign content to devices or users by communicating with Apple School Manager. For your MDM solution to link and communicate with Apple School Manager a token is required. See your MDM vendor’s documentation for specific information about installing the token in your MDM solution.
For more information, see Manage MDM server tokens in the Apple School Manager User Guide.