Log in

So where are schools at with Volume Purchasing?

Started by Jacqui Sharp 06 Nov 2012 4:44pm () Replies (119)


I have one school that has it set up on 90 iPads. It seems to be working ok except for finding certain apps. Have any other schools out there started it? I would be interested to hear how it is going, any problems or hints to help out other schools?


  • Amy McCauley (View all users posts) 06 Nov 2012 6:27pm ()

    I have just had the conversation today that we should set up our 100+ ipads using volume purchasing.  I’ve had a brief look at it - was it hard to get your head around and set them up? Any resources you (or anyone else) knows of that can help would be greatly appreciated! 

  • Jacqui Sharp (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 8:13am ()

    I didn't set it up but Christine from 'The Gardens' has. It was a little bit tricky but she said the help PDFs were quite good, but in saying that we still have had trouble finding the apps that they want to load. Could be something to do with developers who haven't ticked the Volume purchasing box.

  • Chris Wratt (View all users posts) 06 Nov 2012 8:25pm ()

    Hi Amy

    Good question we too have a small group of ipads here and have been waiting for the VPP to kick off here in NZ. Up till now like most I have been using one App store account and syncing to one master computer.

    Try Apple Configurator...from overseas reviews it seems to be the best way of rolling out apps with the VPP now available. Like you I'd be interested to see if its working here yet.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 06 Nov 2012 8:34pm ()

    We have started the process with a number of challenges along the way.

    • First laptop we were intending to use as a synching laptop didn't have enough bits to run Lion.
    • The Lion key we got from Youbee didn't have all the necessary files on it to do the install.
    • After the install it needed to do an update and on ordinary broadband it was going to take forever so I took the laptop to another school on UFB but it the update kept on timing out so took it back to the first school and waited and waited and waited.
    • I sent an email to Apple to authorize VPP and was told it was 7-10 working days. It has now been three weeks. Do we ask again? Not sure what to do now?
    • The actual configurating of Apple Configurator went quite smoothly but want to add apps and get on with it.
    • Time is wasting!
    • You can understand how people just say to hell with it- we'll keep on doing things the 'not right' way.
  • Elizabeth K (View all users posts) 06 Nov 2012 8:42pm ()

    We are purchasing a Mac Mini to run Configurator and I recently went to hear Mike Anderson talk about their set-up at Waimairi School.  Configurator seems user friendly and definitely the way to go.  Aside to this...I had the same problems trying to update our MacBook Pro laptops to Mac OS Lion...from the Youbee pen drive, it started to load then came up with ...some components missing, so I wonder did anyone else have this problem?

  • Jacqui Sharp (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 8:17am ()

    Is there any choice of doing it another right way? Some schools are thinking of giving their teachers an iTunes account with an iTunes card and they take over the responsibility of app choices and updates. Other schools are doing BYOD and giving parents a list of apps that students will need throughout the year.

  • Vic Hygate (View all users posts) 28 Jun 2016 10:33am ()

    I am currently trying to reconfigure all our school ipads so they have the same apps/restrictions etc. As we only have 8 ipads in the school (we're little!) I am using the old 'sync to one account' trick. Even doing this though I am finding the ipads do not all end up looking/acting the same. Anyone out there with a tip/trick to make this process easier?

    Thanks :)



  • Katrina Cable (View all users posts) 28 Jun 2016 11:15am ()

    Hi Vic

    I manage 120+ iPads and have yet to find a foolproof easy way to manage them.  I use Meraki for deploying apps and restrictions.  I gave up on Configurator a while back.  I find it easiest to set up an iPad exactly how I want it to look.  Join it to Meraki for the restrictions and VPP licencing.  Then I back it up to the computer I have iTunes on (my TELA Windows laptop).  The next iPad gets connected to iTunes via computer and "restored" to the backup of iPad 1.  When everything is loaded, I then open Meraki and join it, in order to pick up the restrictions.  I don't use a passcode as when I want to push out a new app, this causes issues (iPad has to be unlocked to receive the installs.  The teachers/students then have to accept the install and move the app to the appropriate folder, hence getting the first one pretty much sussed before backing it up.  

    I hope someone has a better solution!  


  • Katrina Cable (View all users posts) 28 Jun 2016 11:21am ()

    ..She says as she goes into a couple of Year 1 iPads and finds them completely messed up...

  • Amy Massey (View all users posts) 28 Jun 2016 12:56pm ()

    Hi Vic,

    We went to Casper this year after previously using Meraki (we were going to have over 100 iPads and it was looking like it was going to be too expensive to keep going with Meraki). There is a set up cost and annual fee with Casper but I LOVE it. It was a bit of a hassle setting up, we enrolled each iPad in Casper using Configurator but now it's done, it seems to be smooth sailing. We can organise apps into folders using Casper, we can stop students being able to delete apps, have access to the App Store (and more), we can add websites as buttons on the Home Screen. There is also an app called Casper Focus that can be put onto the teacher iPads that allows the teachers to lock iPads into an app or website from their iPad. I haven't tried it yet, but we have also set up Apple Deployment Program and linked it to Casper, which should mean that when we purchase iPads from our IT provider in the future, we shouldn't have to spend time setting up using Configurator.

    Happy to talk to people if they want more information (or potentially show you if you're in Auckland and happy to come to us).


  • Katrina Cable (View all users posts) 28 Jun 2016 1:35pm ()

    Hi Amy

    Do you have to use Configurator to enrol the iPads?  We are a Windows school and have no Mac's... Where abouts in Auckland are you?

    Katrina from Glendowie School (katrinac@glendowie.school.nz)

  • Gaylene (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 8:18am ()

    Is there a minimum number of ipads you can use this on? We have just (this week) got 4 ipads and would love to set up the same apps on all of them (and be charged for apps just once).

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 8:31am ()

    In my understanding the idea of VPP is that you purchase in lots of 20.

  • Stevie Woodman (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 8:29am ()

    We have 12 iPads in my class and I have 1 account and am able to download the same apps onto all iPads and have just paid once. 

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 8:35am ()

    If you read the terms of service that you tick when you install or update iTunes it says that doing that is actually against the terms. On your own, personal use, iTunes account you can have as many devices as you like synching to one account. But as a school you are to have one account per iPad.

    It's a bit like buying a DVD. You can play it in your own home but you are not allowed to play it in a school or a prison!

    That's why we are keen on the idea of volume purchasing.

  • Eric Martini (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 11:15am ()

    The issue of syncing devices to itunes accounts and app licenses have been discussed here on the VLN on another thread... in short there is no limit to the number of devices that you can link to an itunes account. The issue of App licenses is - for devices that have more than one user - you need to purchase an additional license for each user. ie you can pay the one app fee and install on all devices linked to that Apple ID. however if a device is a multi- user device eg 10 other people using that device, then you need to purchase an additional 10 licenses.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 1:15pm ()

    Without wanting to rehash what we've already covered I have copied the EULA agreement below so people can read for themselves what it actually says......


    (i) If you are an individual acting in your personal capacity, you may download and sync an App Store Product for personal, noncommercial use on any iOS Device you own or control.

    (ii) If you are a commercial enterprise or educational institution, you may download and sync an App Store Product for use by either

    (a) a single individual on one or more iOS Devices used by that individual that you own or control or

    (b) multiple individuals, on a single shared iOS Device you own or control. For example, a single employee may use an App Store Product on both the employee's iPhone and iPad, or multiple students may serially use an App Store Product on a single iPad located at a resource center or library. For the sake of clarity, each iOS Device used serially by multiple users requires a separate license.

    (iii) You shall be able to store App Store Products from up to five different Accounts at a time on a compatible iOS Device.

    (iv) You shall be able to manually sync App Store Products from at least one iTunes-authorized device to iOS Devices that have manual sync mode, provided that the App Store Product is associated with an Account on the primary iTunes-authorized device, where the primary iTunes-authorized device is the one that was first synced with the iOS Device or the one that you subsequently designate as primary using the iTunes application.

    The highlighted bit says a teacher can have a device that has multiple users, as many as they like. But each device gets an account, not each user. 

    You do not have to have multiple accounts for every kid in your class!!

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 1:39pm ()

    Hi all -

    Yes, this is an important thread.  VPP will become even more important as schools own and control more and more iOS devices.  Allanah is on the money with mentioning about app licenses being tied to devices, not to students.  In the NZ VPP Terms and Conditions (which are significantly different to the general iTunes Terms and Conditions), the important bit is right at the bottom in Section D (highlighting is mine):


    You agree that your authorization is limited to purchasing multiple Product licenses solely for use by individuals associated with your educational institution, such as contractors, employees and students, in accordance with the App Store Terms and Conditions. Solely as an accommodation to you, Apple agrees to permit you to use a single code to sync a Product to multiple devices, up to the number of codes you have purchased (instead of having to redeem a separate code for each license), provided that you meet the following terms:"

    You do of course need to make sure you can meet the terms that follow!  This is the big advantage of VPP for schools, not needing to deal with a different iTunes account for every device the school owns.  And VPP of course does give a fair deal to the developers who spend a lot of there time developing for the Education market which is typically not as lucrative as other markets (such as games!).  

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 1:43pm ()

    So can I take it that if the school owns the devices, they can sync as many devices as they own if they have bought that number of codes.

  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 1:47pm ()

    That is the implication as I read it.  Especially when you read the VPP Terms and Conditions in combination with the Apple iOS Education Deployment Guide.

  • Eric Martini (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 4:23pm ()

    interesting... that's changed since the advice received from Apple regarding licenses based on users not devices.

    Equally interesting is the addition of paragraph iii.

    (iii) You shall be able to store App Store Products from up to five different Accounts at a time on a compatible iOS Device.

    Under 'Manage Devices" in the "Account" link in Itunes

    "Computers and devices can be associated with a different Apple ID Once every 90 Days. Days remaining indicates the number of before you can associate that specific computer of device with a different Apple ID"

  • Christine Hansen (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 3:09pm ()

    Our experience so far at the Gardens School.

    We received our VPP enrolment within 10 days of applying. We then had to update our designated computer to Lion in order to run Apple Configurator. Yoobee stick didn’t work so ended up paying for the latest app. Once this was installed hit another issue that this was Mountain Lion and Apple Configurator was not compatible with this for downloading your license keys. After some searching we found other people with this issue. The App developer heard the calls of help and fixed it the next week. But that meant another week of waiting to get this up and running. Very frustrating.

    We now have started to configure the ipads. We have started with 25 new ipads we had and have managed to get them set up and working. We are now about to bring all our current ipads into the programme. Yes it will cost more but it is reality that school need to make provision for this type of purchase if they are going to have the devices paid for by them in their classes. VPP gives good discounts for the ones that offer bulk buying.  We have also got some BYO ipad classes that the parents are given apps to purchase and they run their own ipad from home.

    Setting up hints from our experience. First part Prepare is easy enough to follow.

    You can have no profiles or you can have multiple profiles.

    In Prepare we made a separate profile for mail, wi fi (network) Then we made a profile for Restrictions like age etc. This last profile has caused us issues with updating and adding apps. We are still working through this and what works best. We think if we knew what we know now we would have left restrictions as was and just put the lock on it on individual ipads – which you have to do anyway because if you don’t put in a number a darling child will and you won’t know it.

    Apps can be downloaded form your itunes account (Free ones) and if you have pre purchased apps through the Volume Purchasing Programme you can download your codes and load all of these in the APPS area of Prepare. This gets everything ready for when you push the Prepare icon at the bottom. This puts on all the things you need – just keep plugging them into USB hub.

    Then ipads than can be seen in Supervise. This gives you access to all devices to modify settings and apps etc. We are at the stage of working out best way to do this. Also not using Assign as we are grouping under Supervise in team groups.

    Still in the early stages but looking promising way to manage a large amount of ipads.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2012 3:15pm ()

    That sounds pretty much where we're heading. It's new territory for us all. Thanks for sharing where you are up to.

  • Gary Sullivan (View all users posts) 04 Dec 2012 1:58pm ()

    hi christine ive registered with the programme today and will be geting 17 ipads for a senior school multi users in PE across pe & health.

    im bit daunted by the process but want to get the apps i want and configure to 17 pads. I hope this can be done via wi fi as lont have a synch hub or anything like that.


    can it be done do you know?

  • redbeard45 (View all users posts) 09 Apr 2013 11:01am ()

    Christine just one point on your restrictions profile and maybe I have missed something here. In one school, there are different apps on iPads that are used at three different levels so I am preparing three different master iPad images for distribution. With restrictions, after copying the Apps out to the Master image, I just set these restrictions up before doing the back up I use to distribute them back out to a groups of iPads. Only takes a minute to set up and so far hasn't been a problem???

  • James Rea (View all users posts) 08 Nov 2012 9:36pm ()

    Thanks for all the information everone. We have begun planning and will be proceeding with VPP next year. When looking at the must have apps teachers say they need and the number of devices we plan to manage next year we are looking at up to $4000, even with the discounted pricing and numerous free apps. Not the amount of money that can be easily found, especially at this late stage of the year, but certainly in the budget for 2013. Would love to see this come under the AOG scheme and some of the core commonly used apps covered for all NZ schools. 

    Still blown away by the gun ho attitute of many of my peers about working within the law around iTunes. They say what they are doing is working for them and they don't plan to change.

    Thanks for the clarification and tips, greatly appreciated.  

  • Jacqui Sharp (View all users posts) 12 Nov 2012 1:25pm ()

    I had some teachers in a workshop today saying that they had heard that MOE are in discussions with bulk buying of apps for schools. Has anybody else heard this?

  • Greg Carroll (View all users posts) 12 Nov 2012 2:35pm ()

    Jacqui - Must admit I can't see it as while Apple take a whack of the revenue from apps, you are negotiating with a particular software developer for each app unless it is from the Apple stable.  If we asked in the VLN what the MoE supplied app list would be I can imagine the fun debates we would have on that one!

    Also the NZ market is so small that the dollar amounts of any savings (for the MoE) given the pricing of apps would be minimal too.

    Contact one of the e-Learning team at the MoE for a definitive answer maybe .... but don't hold your breath I would suggest.


  • Jacqui Sharp (View all users posts) 12 Nov 2012 5:49pm ()

    That is exactly what I thought, but these teachers seemed adamant!

  • Louise Tredinnick (View all users posts) 16 Mar 2013 10:02pm ()

    I recently signed up for VPP.  That part went fine but now the process of installing and trying to use Apple Configurator on my PC laptop is proving very challenging. Has anyone done this Process smoothly?

  • Daniel Alcock (View all users posts) 16 Mar 2013 10:49pm ()

    I didn't think you could run configurator on a PC. Thought it was Mac only. I too have just signed up to VPP, and about to jump into using configurator. Thought I saw you could take an itunesU course on how to use it properly. I will be configuring 30 ipd minis using a couple of 7port USB hubs. That's really as far as I have got, I haven't even sorted my apps I want or figured out how to purchase them yet. Exciting and daunting.

  • Innes Kennard (View all users posts) 16 Mar 2013 11:07pm ()

    Agree with Daniel - Configurator a Mac only app. Once you have done the whole future planning, VPP thing you need to develop a close relationship with your techie to organise the whole profile thing, ports and codes etc.  Before you go to Configurator you have an excellent oppotunity to sit down with staff and discuss key apps then on to VPP. If you have paid for a few through iTunes accounts regard it as R&D and a good investment.

  • Daniel Alcock (View all users posts) 16 Mar 2013 11:29pm ()

    Wish I had a techie! im a lifelong learner and I am currently learning how to set up iPads! I will try and get that discussion on key apps done although I am not sure others have an opinion yet. Really just keen to get the devices in the hands of the kids. Maybe I will set them up my way until the holidays and  then review what extras we want or don't want then! Cheers Innes, you are right about the R&D.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 16 Mar 2013 11:53pm ()

    I was doing a presentation a while ago at a new venue and they wanted me to use an Apple TV and as I had never used one before I was unsure of what to do- I squawked and four tech people came running to help. That was a once in a lifetime occurance. Usually just bloody minded determination and a black hole in to which time disappears seems to be the answer to working out how things work. 

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 17 Mar 2013 12:31am ()

    My thoughts on this Apple Configurator minefield:

    1. Don't rush into this - take your time. Wait, and watch others and learn from their mistakes.
    2. Read as much as you can about how Apple Configurator works. Setting up for the VPP is the easy part.
    3. Have a completely separate user account on your computer for working with AC. Keep it away from any other iTunes accounts. You don't want things getting mixed up.
    4. Within that user account, set up your web browser with bookmarks in the bookmark bar to the VPP Education store and any other sites you might need to go back to. Also add any sites that might talk you through the process.
    5. Set up each of the VPP Manager and Facilitator accounts you need as generic-sounding aliases to the key people who will be running this - eg yourschoolnamefac1@, yourschoolnamefac2@. These will each become brand new Apple IDs that you will set up during the VPP sign-up process, and use to purchase apps at the VPP Education Store.
    6. Create a brand new Apple ID to use with the iTunes store as well (with which you will redeem VPP license codes for paid apps, as well as downloading free apps).
    7. Any apps you want, need to be purchased in batches of 20 or more if you want to get them at half price. So, consider buying a few more than you need immediately. Buy at least 1-2 more than you need, regardless, in case something goes wrong (better to get a couple extra at half price, than 1 at full price later).
    8. Be very clear about what apps you want - your budget is limited.
    9. Consult your tech if you have one, and have them set up all the settings in AC with you, carefully stepping you through (make notes). Have them set up the first two or three at least, try one or two with them watching to see that you have it right. My impression is that this is new to many of the techs as well, so they probably won't have much experience themselves.
    10. Make sure you do this with a colleague alongside you and the tech, someone who will be at school when the tech has gone - don't try it on your own - it helps to have someone with whom to 'hold hands'.
    11. You may want to set up Groups within AC for different Learning Teams in your school - eg Junior, Senior etc.
    12. You will want to set up one iPad - AC will scatter the apps all over the iPad randomly. Useless for teachers and children (especially very young ones)!
    13. Unplug that iPad, and plug it back in. Look at it in iTunes, and drag the apps to the screens or folders you want them in. Apply and do a back up.
    14. Plug that iPad back into AC and do another back up.
    15. Sync that iPad with its own back up that you just did in AC.
    16. Use this back up with the next iPads you add, restoring from the back up image. You may want to make different backups for the first iPad from each Learning Team/Group. I'm not sure about this as we're just getting to this stage and I haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking it might help with managing lots of apps. There's no way to select all the apps you want on an iPad, you have to tick them one by one - a slow process.
    17. Don't try doing any app updates - you'll find yourself downloading multiple copies of each app - eg 30 updates of iMovie, 30 of Garageband etc - a nightmare.

    No, I don't really know what I'm talking about (I hope what I've explained above is correct) - we have just 2 iPads set up correctly. We tried another one and it kept coming up with an error about not being authorised - so we gave up. Will try again next week.

    Don't be afraid to phone Apple, especially if you have new iPads. They are aware of the stupidity of things like multiple updates (rather than one that can be synced).



Join this group to contribute to discussions.