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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?


  • Justine Driver (View all users posts) 19 Jul 2014 4:09pm ()

    From my blog post found here: http://goo.gl/cuyFZL

    In the next phase of our learning with digital technologies we rolled out 2 iPADs per junior class (10 classes) and 1 iPAD for each of our six learning assistants who work 1-1 or in a small group with students. A total of 26 iPADs therefore needed sorting out. We are a "pc", "Google"and "Chromebook" school so working within the apple iOS was new for me.

    Firstly, I had to get my head in the right space to research what other school's were doing. It's great being able to send out a tweet to get the collective wisdom of my twitter PLN for some advice.  I put out this tweet...


    which linked me through to lots of interesting feedback and advice.  I then had a skpye session with the lovely Anna Gerrit to see how she had set them up at her school. Our LwDT facilitator Esther Casey also provided some great support with her contact in other schools and what/how other schools had set up their iPADs when they weren't "apple" schools.  My main priority was to ensure that I set up a system so that apps were legally purchased and deployed to each of the iPADS.  Plus I discovered the importance of having similar naming conventions for each iPAD and details in the Apple ID set up across the school.
    Here are the steps that I have done (for better and worse) and how I'd do it differently for when/if we get more iPADs:

    1. Create a Google account for each iPAD so they have email within our school system.  This was easy to do as I'm the administrator for our school.  This way all the iPADs have a similar naming convention and password. The email then became the apple ID.  I also set up the iPADs as a separate organisation within the administration panel.
    2. I set up a VPP (Volume Purchasing Programme) account through Apple Education so that I could bulk purchase apps for the team (purchases over 20+ reduces the cost of each app).  This process took over a week to set up from the time you submit your details.
    3. As we didn't have a MAC computer to use as a server to push out the apps through either Configurator or Profile Manager I decided that we would use Meraki as a MDM (Mobile Device Management) service.  Setting up the Meraki account was quick and easy.  The instructions to link the VPP account and Meraki was simple too with very clear instructions (including images!).  
    4. I then set up the apple IDs using the Google email address that was created - unfortunately I had to change the password convention on my Google mail addresses to align with the Apple ID conventions of having 8 characters, a capital letter and a numeral, so this took a bit of time (plus I used my email address as the rescue email which meant that I had to log in to apple ID not only 26 times to activate those accounts, but a further 26 times to activate my address as the rescue email address).  A long tedious process but simple enough.  See my next time advice - as I wouldn't do it this way next time.
    5. In Meraki you "invite" each Apple ID/email/iPAD to receive apps pushed to it through the iTunes store.  This is where I encountered a problem.  The Meraki invites were really easy - but the set up of the iTunes billing information was problematic! It took several hours on the phone to apple support for them to activate each iTunes account as you can only have one credit card linked for every three accounts and while I had deleted the billing information each time, there were issues with from the iTunes store.  This was really frustrating! I even shed a tear through the stress of trying to sort it all out, which is very unlike me! So hopefully this post can help others through this mistake - see my next time advice.
    6. Finally, once all the Meraki invites had been accepted through the iTune accounts I could allocate (in Meraki) which apps purchased in the VPP could be allocated to which iPAD.  I had purchased some different apps for the learning assistants iPADs.
    7. I then gave the iPADs out to the staff who could then turn on the iPADs, put in their new Apple ID and then go to the iTunes store to the 'purchased' apps section and download the apps onto the physical iPAD.
    Next time advice:
    1. When setting up the Google mail accounts use the same password conventions as Apple ID from the start - I had to go back in and change my gmail account passwords so that they aligned with the Apple IDs - time consuming but necessary. The password must contain a capital letter, numeral and be at least 8 characters.
    2. Create the Apple IDs through purchasing a "free app" then you don't have to enter in billing information - this was the BIGGEST head ache for me!  As unfortunately there was an Apple error that took 2 weeks for Apple to resolve in-order for the accounts associated with our email to accept the credit card - it was very frustrating and I was on the brink of deleting all accounts and creating the Apple IDs through the "free app" way - so please follow this recommendation, + it saves the $1 per activation on the credit card per account that could be used for purchasing an app instead!
  • Peter Eaton (View all users posts) 19 Jul 2014 7:43pm ()

    Justine - great guide.

    Another shortcut for next time Justine - you don't need to create more than 1 email acoount...

    A little know trick with any gmail (inculding GAFE) accounts is that any email address that STARTS with your username and a "plus" ends up at your email account.  Specifically, if you set up ONE email account:


    Any email adressed like:


    also goes to this account.  This means that you can create lots of AppleIDs:

      ipad+001@my.school.nz,  ipad+002@my.school.nz ...

    That all emails for will end up at the one gmail address - makes confirming new AppleIDs or resetting passwords much easier!

    As you pointed out, the easiest way to create the iTunes accounts is in iTunes on a computer: sign out of all accounts and then purchase a free app: it then lets you create an account wihtout a credit card,  One "gotcha" is that Apple views it as suspicous if lots of AppleIDs get created from the one IP address, so you can only do about 8 or so a day from one place (without getting yourself whitelisted by Apple first).

    If you set the ipads to "Automatically download purchases" and use the VPP Managed Distribution scheme, the apps will magically appear on all the iPads after being assigned in Meraki.

    Hope some of this helps you or someone else.


  • Justine Driver (View all users posts) 20 Jul 2014 9:38pm ()

    Thanks Peter Eaton for those extra tips - I didn't know that re the multiple emails by using the + and I will definitely looking into the ipads being set up with automatically download purchases.  I unfortunately had to learn the hard way about being blocked by Apple (but eventually it came right!).

  • Antonia Fong-Molenaar (View all users posts) 22 Jul 2014 9:49pm ()

    We have had TTS attempt to set up a VPP acount and Meraki.  We kicked off with free apps but our school does not have acredit card and don't want to get one.  Can we use gift cards with VPP? or do we need to stick with out old sytem of multiple itunes accounts?

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 22 Jul 2014 10:48pm ()

    My understanding is that we can't use gift cards for VPP in NZ - yet.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 22 Jul 2014 11:16pm ()

    I think we need to be clear about what we mean by gift cards. You can't use iTunes gift cards for VPP but you can use anything that acts like a credit card for VPP. I have used a Prezzi card for VPP but it is a bit of a nuisance to go through the rigamarole to buy new ones etc.

    Personally I have two credit cards- one with the smallest limit the bank would allow and use that for any on line purchases. I wonder if that would be something you school would entertain????

  • Philippa Cowper (View all users posts) 23 Jul 2014 7:58am ()

    Hi Antonia

    We don't have as school credit card either and as a result of an information flyer TTS sent me, we are in the process of setting up an account for the VPP with apple whereby we can purchase credit vouchers in advance for apps we want to purchase... It has been a bit of a mission but I think we are nearly there now and hopefully will mean we don't need the credit card or gift cards.

  • Justine Driver (View all users posts) 23 Jul 2014 6:42pm ()

    To set up the VPP I did use the school credit card to get some initial apps (that I pushed out to the iPads via Meraki).  I have since deleted the credit card information.  You can purchase credit in VPP.  So in the future we anticipate that we will put credit on our VPP (say allocate $400pa for apps) and then we only need to use our credit - that way, no credit card details from the school are needed to be held on their server.  

  • Kerry Wood (View all users posts) 04 Dec 2014 9:19am ()

    What is the most seamless way to put credit into your VPP account? We need to use a budget before the end of the year and don't want to loss it!! Please share your experiences, thanks Kerry

  • Andy Parker (View all users posts) 04 Dec 2014 9:47am ()

    Hi Kerry,

    Your Apple reseller should be able to sell you Volume Purchase Program Credit (VPP Credit) if you supply them with a Purchase Order.


  • JohannaBrown (View all users posts) 03 Mar 2015 7:10am ()

    We have just gone on to VPP this year. We are now at the stage of purchasing our paid apps. How do we do this without loading the school credit card onto our account? Does anyone know how or where to purchase VPP credit? It says on the website to ring an 0800 number - done that, get voice activated message sent back to website.

  • ZoeyP (View all users posts) 18 Mar 2015 6:43am ()

    I am in the process of setting up iPads for our school. Do we need to create individual iTunes accounts for each iPad, and then sign up for the VPP? How do we manage the apps? Any any help greatly appreciated





  • Sheryl Nagels (View all users posts) 18 Mar 2015 1:46pm ()

    Hi We got help. Julia from Cyclone computers helped us set up VPP and it is so much easier when you work with someone who knows what they are doing. At that stage we had just the one iPad per room. Now we have more and we have gone to Meraki - again we got help to set it up but we can manage it now it's working. Yes each iPad needs it's own Apple ID - my advice is to use a generic school one with the number of each iPad as part of it for tracking, do not use staff school email addresses, people come and go. But you don't have to invent the wheel yourself, if you can afford iPads you can afford some support. Ring me if you want to chat. 0212899681

  • ZoeyP (View all users posts) 18 Mar 2015 3:44pm ()

    Thank you Sheryl

  • Jamie De La Haye (View all users posts) 31 Oct 2015 10:25am ()

    HI Sheryl

    I was wondering if you have for more than 100 iPads and are therefore paying for Meraki?

    We about to go to it but fee seems expensive per device

    Any thoughts?

  • Jamie De La Haye (View all users posts) 19 Feb 2016 4:16pm ()

    Hi we are having trouble with our iPads

    This year we have used apple configurator MDM to wirelessly push apps to our iPads

    Apps are getting from A to B but today apps on the iPad when touched are not opening.

    Big issue with Seesaw and google apps. No rhyme or reason as some iPads work and some do not?

    Any ideas, anyone else having difficulty with configurator??

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