Intro to Profile Manager
You use Profile Manager to configure and distribute settings to iOS devices, tvOS devices, and Mac computers in your organization, school, or business. You can use Profile Manager to quickly configure large numbers of devices with the settings, apps, and books your organization requires.
Note: Although Profile Manager will work with earlier versions of iOS, tvOS, and macOS, some features are available only for the latest versions of each OS.
Manage settings and policies
Profile Manager creates and distributes a configuration profile. You install them on a device to configure the settings. To learn more about configuration profiles, see Payload settings reference. When the profile is installed on a user’s device, the settings it defines are applied. If the settings are applied to a user, those settings apply to any device associated with that user. If the settings are applied to a device, those settings are enforced regardless of who uses the device.
Each user, user group, device, and device group can have configuration profiles to provide a base level of settings. Then you can assign additional configuration profiles to customize the settings to meet your needs.
In addition to general configuration settings, Profile Manager lets you enforce organization policies. For example, you can specify password policies, define the types of networks devices can connect to, and enforce restrictions such as preventing the use of cameras on iOS devices and disabling specific system preferences in macOS. If you’re managing the devices remotely, you can install updated policies without user action or notification.
Distribute configuration profiles
After you define the settings for users and their devices, you can distribute the configuration profiles in the following ways:
Distributed upon activation: Settings can be automatically configured after the device has been activated over the Internet.
Remote device management: You can enable the Profile Manager mobile device management service, which lets you remotely install, remove, and update configuration profiles on enrolled devices.
User self-service: Users can download and install the settings from the Profile Manager built-in user portal. The user portal ensures that users receive the configuration profiles you assign to them or their group.
Manual distribution: You can download configuration profiles (.mobileconfig files) from the Profile Manager administration portal and then send them to your users via a mail message or post them to a website you create. When users receive or download the files, they can install them on their device.
Remotely lock or wipe a lost device
You can remotely lock devices that you manage using Profile Manager. For a Mac, locking shuts down the Mac and installs an EFI passcode so it can’t be started up without providing the passcode. On iOS devices, locking invokes the Lock screen and enforces the passcode, if any, installed on the device.
Wiping a Mac removes all user data. Wiping an iOS device restores it to factory defaults.
For iOS devices, you can also reset a user’s passcode when the user has forgotten it. This temporarily removes the device passcode (for 60 minutes). To unlock the device, the user is immediately required to enter a new passcode that meets the criteria specified by the configuration profiles installed on the device.
Components of Profile Manager
Profile Manager consists of three main parts that work together to let you specify when and how devices are enrolled and configured, and apps and books are distributed.
Mobile device management (MDM) service: A mobile device management service lets you remotely manage enrolled devices. After a device is enrolled, you can update a configuration over the network and perform other tasks without user interaction. MDM is supported on:
iOS devices with iOS 5 or later
Apple TV 3rd generation with Apple TV software 5.1
Apple TV 4th generation or later
Mac computers with OS X 10.8 or later
Wireless configuration of Apple devices: This lets you streamline the configuration of organization-owned devices. To get users up and running quickly, enroll devices in MDM during activation and skip basic setup steps.
App and book distribution: Distribute apps and books purchased through Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager and enterprise apps and books.
To find out more about setting up Profile Manager, see About Profile Manager in the Server User Guide.
For more information about mobile device management settings, see Mobile device management settings.
For more information about deploying large numbers of iOS and tvOS devices, see the iOS Deployment Reference.
For more information about deploying large numbers of macOS and tvOS devices, see the macOS Deployment Reference.