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Using Apple's Device Enrollment Program (DEP) with Systems Manager

The Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) allows administrators to pre-provision iOS and macOS devices to automatically self-enroll into Systems Manager before even touching them, and provides an additional level of management control through bulk device supervision. This greatly simplifies adding and deploying iOS and macOS devices with Systems Manager. This article will cover how to use the Apple DEP with System Manager.

 

For additional information on DEP, including how to qualify for the program, please review Apple's DEP overview.

The following video also outlines an example DEP configuration and deployment through Systems Manager:

 

Linking Systems Manager to Apple DEP

In order to use the Apple DEP with Systems Manager, a Systems Manager deployment must be linked to an organization within DEP. These steps assume an Apple ID for the organization has already been created, as outlined in the Device Enrollment Program Guide.

  1. In Dashboard, create an EMM network for Systems Manager.
  2. Navigate to Organization > Configure > MDM, then scroll down to the Apple Device Enrollment Program section.
  3. Download the Meraki_Apple_DEP_cert.pem file provided.
    • If someone has downloaded the .pem file previously, and the server token has expired, click clear token in order to download the .pem file again.
  4. In another browser window, go to https://deploy.apple.com and sign in with the Apple ID tied to the desired organization.
  5. Navigate to Device Enrollment Program > Manage Servers.
  6. Click Add MDM Server.
  7. Enter a Name for the MDM server in DEP, then click Next.
  8. Click Choose File... and upload the public key downloaded in step 2, then click Next.
  9. Download the server token provided, then click Done.
  10. Back in Dashboard, click on the Choose File button in step 3.
  11. Select/upload the server token downloaded in step 8.
  12. Choose the default Systems Manager network where devices tied to this MDM server in DEP will be enrolled.
  13. Click Save Changes.

If you encounter an error uploading the server token to Dashboard, make sure that the file name ends in 'smime.p7m' without any trailing characters like '(1)' that may appear from downloading multiple copies of the file.

Renewing a DEP Token

Apple DEP tokens last for one year by design. To continue enrolling via DEP:

  1. Log in to deploy.apple.com.
  2. Select the MDM server for your organization.
  3. Click on Generate New Token.
  4. Upload the token to Dashboard under Organization > MDM.

Importing Devices

Devices in your Apple DEP server are automatically synced into Systems Manager. You can add devices into your DEP MDM server by Apple Order Number of Serial Number. 

  1. In Apple DEP, navigate to Device Enrollment Program > Assign by Order Number or Assign by Serial Number.
  2. Provide the Order Number or Serial Number(s).
  3. Select the MDM server configured earlier.
  4. Click Assign Now.

System Manager will automatically populate the MDM > DEP tab with any devices that have been correctly assigned and associated.

Note: To be eligible, devices must have been purchased directly from Apple within the last three years, or through participating resellers and carriers. This requirement will be changing with iOS 11, which will allow users to add iOS devices from any purchaser into DEP. For more information regarding this and supported countries, please refer to Apple's Device Enrollment Program page.

Applying Settings to Devices

DEP settings are applied during setup assistant, either upon setting up the device for the first time, or after a factory reset for devices already in use. 

DEP Enrollment Status

There are 3 states for the 'DEP enrollment' status column. If you've just synced your devices from the DEP server into Systems Manager, they will be labeled 'Empty'.

  • Empty: The default state when devices are first synced from DEP into Systems Manager. This means that the device has no DEP settings assigned to them.
  • Assigned: This means new DEP settings have been assigned to the device, but not yet applied. Upon initial setup, or after a factory reset, the applied settings will take effect.
  • Pushed: This means the device has its DEP settings applied. You can see information on what settings were pushed, and when, on the other columns of the table.

Assigning Settings

After devices have been assigned to Systems Manager via DEP, they will automatically be enrolled in the default Systems Manager network upon setup. Additional configurations such as supervising the device or skipping setup steps will further customize and streamline your deployment.

  1. Navigate to MDM > DEP within the Systems Manager network.
  2. Click the checkbox next to any devices that require settings be applied.
  3. Click Assign settings.
  4. If you have existing setting presets, select them from the dropdown. Otherwise, complete the fields/selections that appear:
    • Name: A friendly name for the group of settings applied.
    • Allow pairing: Devices can be paired with a computer. Note that if unchecked, devices will not be able to connect to applications like Xcode or iTunes on a computer, which will limit the ability to troubleshoot or restore the device, especially in cases where it will be locked into single app mode.
    • Supervise: Supervise devices upon enrollment.
    • Mandatory: Users are required to complete enrollment during setup, and cannot skip the step.
    • Removable: The management profile can be removed. Unless the device is supervised, the management profile will be removable. See here for more info.
    • Shared iPad: Used for shared device deployments with Apple School Manager. Do not select this unless you have ASM provisioned with managed Apple IDs.
    • Support phone number: A number provided to users during setup if help is required.
    • Department: Display the organization department the iPad is assigned to. This is displayed during setup.
    • Skip: Allows you to specify pages during the setup process to skip, e.g. hiding the prompt to set or sign into an Apple ID. These can be completed later if needed.

       
  5. Click Assign # device(s). You should see the 'DEP enrollment' status update to 'Assigned'. 
  6. In most cases, the device(s) should be factory reset at this point. This is required to ensure the device is activated and configured with DEP settings.
    1. On a Mac, restart in Recovery Mode and reinstall the operating system. On an iOS device, navigate to Settings > General > Reset, then tap Erase All Content and Settings.
    2. Confirm by tapping Erase.
    3. In some cases, this may be required for brand-new device as well, if Apple doesn't correctly push the DEP settings during the initial activation process. 

Please choose Set Up as New Device, or skip the "Restore from Backup" option entirely when assigning the DEP settings. Apple does not recommend restoring from iCloud or iTunes backups if the supervision state of the device is changing. iCloud can be signed into after device setup to sync settings.

 setup as new iOS device

 

To apply configuration profiles and settings to devices, the appropriate tags will need to be applied. These can be configured in advance so that once a device enrolls, the tags configured below are automatically applied. Profiles and apps tied to those tags will then be automatically installed upon enrollment for a seamless experience.

  1. Navigate to MDM > DEP.
  2. Click the checkbox next to any devices the tag must be applied to.
  3. Click Tag.
  4. Within the Add box, type the tag that should be applied to the device(s). If it is an existing tag, select it from the list. Otherwise, click Add option create a new tag. Tags must not contain spaces.
    de0687d7-a254-41bb-8a87-1a54fca96c50
     
  5. Click Add to apply the tag(s).

Removing Settings from Devices

In the event a device needs to be reset and managed under different conditions, the settings applied via DEP can be removed.

  1. Navigate to MDM > DEP.
  2. Click the checkbox next to the device(s) in question.
  3. Click Remove settings

To overwrite existing settings, follow the previous steps for applying settings. Note that the newly assigned settings will not apply until the device has been factory reset.

 

If tags were applied to a device prior to enrollment, they can also be removed to prevent profiles and apps from associating.

  1. Navigate to MDM > DEP.
  2. Click the checkbox next to the device(s) in question.
  3. Click Tag.
  4. In the Remove box, select any tags that should be removed from the device.
  5. Click Remove.

Show/Hide Settings

To hide unused DEP settings presets from being displayed when applying settings, hit the 'Show/Hide settings' option and uncheck the settings you wish to hide. 

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.27.53 AM.png

Recovering DEP Devices

If a DEP-enrolled device is removed from Systems Manager, it will not automatically reappear without taking additional steps to sync Dashboard with Apple DEP.
For specific instructions on DEP device recovery, please refer to our documentation for more info.

Clearing Apple DEP Token

There are some instances where a DEP token needs to be removed to resolve an issue, or to use a different MDM server on the Apple side. To do this, navigate to the Organization > MDM page. Under Apple Device Enrollment Program, click the Clear Server Token button. This will remove the existing token and allow a new one to be uploaded.

Note: Once the DEP token has been cleared, the client drop-down menu under MDM > DEP with existing DEP settings will be cleared.

 

It is important to note that any devices that need to be associated with the organization in Dashboard must also be assigned to the new MDM server within Apple's DEP portal. So if the MDM server is changing, the devices should also be reassigned. Avoid doing this if possible when there are a large number of devices already assigned with settings, as clearing the DEP token will purge these assigned settings in the cloud (but not on devices themselves). It is also recommended that a list of assigned devices be exported to a spreadsheet, within the Apple site, to aid in the reassignment process.

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Last modified
15:22, 1 Aug 2017

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