Use Profile Manager

You use Profile Manager to configure and distribute settings to iOS 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 is available with earlier versions of iOS and OS X, some features are only available for:

  • iOS devices with iOS 9.0 or later

  • Mac computers with OS X El Capitan or later

Manage settings and policies

Profile Manager creates and distributes configuration profiles. You install them on a device to configure the settings. To learn more about configuration profiles, see About profiles and payloads. 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 OS X. 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 Profile Manager’s 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 Profile Manager’s 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 Profile Manager’s 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 Mac computers with OS X Mountain Lion v10.8 or later, and on iOS devices with iOS 6 or later.

  • Wireless configuration of Apple devices: This lets you streamline the configuration of organization-owned devices. Enroll devices in MDM during activation and skip basic setup steps to get users up and running quickly.

  • App and book distribution: Distribute apps and books purchased through the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) and enterprise apps and books.

To find out more about setting up Profile Manager, see About Profile Manager in Server Help.

For more information about deploying large numbers of iOS devices, see iOS Deployment Reference.

For more information about deploying large numbers of OS X devices, see OS X Deployment Reference.