Collect and store iPad devices at year-end
Many organizations collect devices from users at the end of the school year or when students graduate. As with deploying devices, it’s good practice to develop a collection plan in advance if your organization won’t be sending devices home with students over the summer. Collect devices uniformly to make sure they’re ready for the next school year. To learn how to optimize the procedure, pilot the collection process for a small subset of users.
This year-end checklist is meant to help you think through all the unique situations and elements that are in play at your school. The following are the components of a device collection and storage procedure. The process may differ depending on whether or not users are returning for the following school year.
iPad and classroom equipment
Determine the final date students will use their devices.
Instruct teachers to examine each iPad in their classroom set to ensure that the following steps are completed, and provide a checklist to help them document their findings.
Backup: Before collecting the devices, teachers confirm that users have completed a recent iCloud backup. MDM can query for the latest iCloud backup date and indicate which devices haven’t been backed up recently.
Activation Lock: Teachers make sure that user-enabled Activation Lock is disabled on all devices that won’t be returned to the same user the following school year. Even though MDM can remotely clear Activation Lock, it may be easier to ensure that it’s disabled as part of the teacher’s collection process. For devices that are part of Apple School Manager, MDM can use the MDM Activation Lock feature to collect recovery keys. In this way, you can secure devices with MDM Activation Lock while the devices are in storage.
Erase devices: Users who won’t be returning should erase their devices and disable Activation Lock prior to device collection. Users who are expected to return and use the same device shouldn’t erase the device, because that necessitates restoring the user’s data from iCloud backup, which can be time-consuming.
Note: If users are returning to the same device and it isn’t erased, make sure your MDM has a valid passcode lock recovery key in case users forget the passcode over the summer.
Accessories: Teachers collect all accessories such as cover, case, keyboard, or Apple Pencil, along with the device, and verify that they are in working order.
Inspect: Teachers inspect each iPad for damaged corners and cracks, and make sure it’s not warped or bent. Ensure that the device turns on.
Screen: Teachers check the touchscreen and Home button for proper functionality, then clean each iPad with an appropriate cloth. For more information, see the Apple Support article How to clean your Apple products.
Audio: Teachers make sure the headphone jack isn’t obstructed and check that the volume control and audio work.
Battery: Teachers check that the charge level is between 40 and 70 percent before turning off each device and storing it.
Carts: If devices are stored in carts, teachers inventory and inspect each cart and all equipment for damage, and determine if all equipment, cords, and remotes have been inventoried. They check that all the charge ports on the cart are operational.
Labels: Teachers label the carts for return to the proper teacher or room. They determine the date when classroom equipment will be collected.
Location: Teachers determine a secure location to store equipment.
When storing devices long-term, two key factors affect the overall health of the battery: the environmental temperature and the percentage of charge on the battery when the device is powered down for storage. To learn how to store devices for optimal battery lifespan, see Maximizing battery life and lifespan. Have a teacher or someone they appoint perform these tasks:
Disconnect the cart from the power outlet.
Make sure each iPad is turned off.
Place all iPad devices in the cart. Don’t reconnect the cart to power.
Lock all carts and reset the lock to a new combination for summer storage.
Document the lock codes, and store all documentation.
Place the carts in a secure area, preferably without windows.
Determine what will be done with damaged or broken iPad devices. What funds will be used for repairs? Who will be responsible for getting the repairs completed? Who’s assigned to work with AppleCare?
App strategy and operating system updates
Make sure other team members are consulted when managing a future app strategy and any operating system updates. For example:
Work with your curriculum team to develop a master list of the current apps and determine whether all the apps are needed.
Discuss current software licenses and determine whether they should be renewed, or whether other instructional apps can be used in their place.
Determine instructional goals, and align the goals with instructional apps.
Survey teachers for app suggestions for the next school year. (Consider using a Numbers spreadsheet on iCloud to record the feedback.)
Determine the final list of apps to be installed on iPad devices for the upcoming school year.
For all devices, make sure the operating system and all apps have been updated to the latest version before collection, to avoid having to update devices upon redeployment. MDM can query each device for its operating system version and indicate which devices need to be updated and potentially update those devices over the air. Tethered caching may be a better solution to update a large number of devices in a single location. For more information, see Plan for and set up content caching in Apple Platform Deployment.
If your school has deployed the Schoolwork app to assign work and see student progress, work with teachers to complete the following steps so they have continued access to work they’d like to keep.
Students can save a copy of their work: Students create valuable work throughout the year that they share with teachers in Schoolwork. After a teacher deletes files in iCloud Drive, students will no longer have access. Students can make a copy of any files they want to keep, including work they’ve submitted. Or they can save a copy of an entire class folder within their Schoolwork folder in iCloud Drive. Students can duplicate files or folders they’d like to keep using the Share option in Files.
Teachers can save Handouts as a draft before classes are deleted: Teachers can preserve Schoolwork Handouts they want to use again next year by duplicating them and saving them as draft. They will be able to reuse Handouts from Drafts for a new class, even if previous classes are deleted.
Preserve classes in Apple School Manager: Be aware that if you delete a class in Apple School Manager, the class and any associated Handouts will also be deleted in Schoolwork for students and teachers. Work with teachers to ensure you don’t delete classes from Apple School Manager that they still need to access so they can preserve Handouts and use them again next year. Associated class folders and files in iCloud Drive remain unaffected for students and teachers, even if classes are deleted.
Mobile device management (MDM) maintenance
Decide who will be the DRI for MDM maintenance and deployment for the summer and upcoming school year.
Check MDM certificates and tokens for expiration.
Determine when you will roll out operating system updates. iPad devices can be updated remotely using MDM commands.
Update each iPad to the latest operating system version.
Install all available app updates.
Review and revise the configuration profiles.
Collect feedback from teachers on needed restrictions and on restrictions that should be removed.
Confirm inventory and make sure all enrolled devices are supervised.