iPhone and iPad are often seen as gadgets.
The reality is also that many companies successfully integrate mobile devices in the company’s IT infrastructure to improve business processes.
Apple offers some tools which help companies to manage their mobile devices. Theses tools are mainly for configuration purposes and take into account that mobile devices for business use have to fulfill strong security requirements and should be configurable from a central point instead of doing this for each single device.
iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU) lets you easily create, maintain, encrypt, and install configuration profiles, track and install provisioning profiles and authorized applications, and capture device information including console logs.
Configuration profiles are XML files that contain device security policies, VPN configuration information, Wi-Fi settings, APN settings, Exchange account settings, mail settings, and certificates that permit iPhone and iPod touch to work with your enterprise systems.
Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility can also be used for configuring the iPhone of your daughter or son to set some useful age-dependent limitations like access to the App Store or other requirements like using a strong passcode for unlocking the device. This prevents some severe troubles if the device gets stolen or lost.
With the iPCU you can create so-called profiles which can be transferred directly to a device, saved to a cloud storage from which they can be installed, or simply sent to the destination device by E-Mail as an attachment. Tapping on the attachments then starts the installation procedure.
I want to show you how Apple’s iPhone (and iPad) Configuration Utility basically works.
You can download the free app iPCU for Mac or PC here:
The screenshots were taken from the German version as it was not possible to install an English version. Sorry about that.
After installing the application the home screen looks like this:
Among others it shows all technical details of your device as well as profiles configured in former sessions.
Feature overview …
With iPCU you can configure important settings of Apple’s mobile devices and deploy them later. Here is a brief feature overview. You will see all the configuration options when clicking on Provisions and select a profile.
- 01 General Settings
- 02 Passcode Setting
- 03 Restriction Settings
Allow installing apps
When this option is off, the App Store is disabled and its icon is removed from the Home screen. Users are unable to install or update their apps using the App Store or iTunes.
Allow use of camera
When this option is off, cameras are completely disabled and the Camera icon is removed from the Home screen. Users can’t take photographs or videos, or use FaceTime.
Allow screen capture
When this option is off, users can’t save a screenshot of the display.
Allow voice dialing
When this option is off, users can’t dial their phone using voice commands.
Allow In-App purchase
When this option is off, users can’t make in-app purchases.
Force user to enter store password for all purchases
Requires users to enter their Apple ID password before making any purchase. Normally, there’s a brief grace period after a purchase is made before users have to authenticate for subsequent purchases.
- 04 WiFi Settings
- 05 VPN Settings
- 06 E-Mail Settings
- 07 Exchange ActiveSync Settings
- 08 LDAP Settings
- 09 CalDav Settings
- 10 Subcribed Calendars Settings
- 11 CardDav Settings
- 12 WebClip Settings
- 13 Credentials Settings
- 14 SCEP Settings
- 15 MDM Settings
- 16 APN Settings
Creating a profile …
I took an easy example for explaining the basic actions of configuring, deploying, and using iPCU.
Let’s create a configuration profile for an icon on the homescreen which allows to directly edit an E-Mail and send it to a given recipient.
We can do so using the section WebClip Settings.
Transferring and using a profile …
To transfer the profile to an iOS device you can
- transfer it directly by connecting the device via the USB connector
- send the profile (an XML file) as an attachment to an E-Mail account accessible from the iOS device
By tapping on the attachment the installation process starts.
Follow the instructions shown during installation.
When exporting a profile iPCU allows to generate the profile with the following options regarding security:
- 1 without
- 2 sign profile
- 3 sign and encrypt profile for (just) this device
If the .mobileconfig file is signed it can be installed by any device, as long as the profile hasn’t been altered. So signing a profile is an essential security feature.
Once installed, the profile can be updated only by a profile that has the same identifier and is signed by the same copy of iPhone Configuration Utility, which provides the certificate.
If the profile is signed a ‘Verified‘ note appears if you go to Settings – General – Profiles and select the profile immediately after installation.
Useful Links …
He are some further links for those who are interested in using iOS devices in businesses:
Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.
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