Deploying apps and books in volume to Apple devices
Apple School Manager, Apple Business Manager, and your mobile device management (MDM) solution work together so your organization can buy content in volume, assign it to devices or users, and then install and update it wirelessly, even if the App Store is disabled.
Type of app or book
Can be assigned to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac
Can be assigned to users
Free or paid apps purchased through Apple School Manager
(iOS 9 or later)
(iPadOS 13.1 or later)
(OS X 10.11 or later)
(iOS 7 or later)
(iPadOS 13.1 or later)
(OS X 10.9 or later)
Free or paid books purchased through Apple School Manager
Distribute apps to devices
For devices to participate in managed distribution, they must be enrolled in your MDM solution. After an app is assigned to a device, it’s pushed to that device through MDM, with no Apple ID required. Anyone using that device has access to that app. You can reassign an app to a different device when necessary. Any device from your Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager can leverage device-assigned apps.
Note: Devices that leverage User Enrollment, which is ideal for organizations where users bring their own devices (BYOD), use user-assigned apps.
In-app purchases aren’t compatible with apps assigned to a device.
The following apply to apps that are assigned to a device:
Apps may be automatically removed when a user unenrolls the device from MDM.
Apps aren’t automatically reinstalled after a restore from backup.
Apple Configurator 2 also allows device-based app assignment. See Install apps with Apple Configurator 2.
Note: If you previously assigned apps to users, MDM solutions can perform a silent migration from per-user assignments to per-device assignments. The device must be enrolled in an MDM solution. For more information, refer to your MDM vendor’s documentation.
Distribute proprietary in-house apps
Proprietary in-house apps are distributed to devices, not users. Devices must be enrolled in an MDM solution to install these apps, which are removed from the device when a user unenrolls from MDM.
For more information, see Distribute proprietary in-house apps.
Distribute apps and books to users that have a Managed Apple ID
Users with Managed Apple IDs can be automatically and silently enrolled to managed distribution. You can then assign apps and books to those users.
Note: An MDM solution is required.
Distribute apps and books to users that have a personal Apple ID
Users with personal Apple IDs must be invited and accept the invitation to participate in distribution of the app. Apps and books distributed to a user through your MDM solution aren’t shared with family members if the user has a Family Sharing account with iCloud.
Follow these steps to distribute apps to users with personal Apple IDs:
Invite the user or group: The user’s personal Apple ID is linked to your organization (without revealing the Apple IDs to you). This means you don’t need to create an Apple ID for these users. This is done with your MDM solution.
The user accepts the invitation: The user’s personal Apple ID is linked to your organization (without revealing the Apple IDs to you). Apps assigned to a user appear in that user’s App Store purchase history. You can prompt the user to accept the app, or you can silently install the app on supervised devices enrolled in your MDM solution. You can also assign more apps and books at any time.
Reassign apps: When a user no longer needs an app, you can reassign it to a different user.
Note: Books and Apple Books textbooks may not be available in certain countries or regions. To learn whether certain Apple Books content is available in your country or region, see Availability of Apple programs for education and business.