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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?


  • 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).



  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 17 Mar 2013 12:02pm ()

    Caroline, I'm intrigued that you're using Meraki. I had never heard of it, but late last year one of our techs mentioned that they had an additional system that worked alongside Configurator, and would enable us to sync by wifi and do other updates etc. With Configurator, you have to plug in devices to update them. I liked the sound of this, so arranged for a tech to come and do this for us before school started back this year.

    It's been a nightmare, with multiple glitches over about 3 attempts so far (and using only Configurator this last time). It was at the first attempt that I found out that Meraki was the product that would make life easier for us. But there was some problem with using it during that first setup. It was abandoned, and my understanding initially (which may be seriously flawed) was that it could only be used with free apps, not paid ones. Well, that seemed ridiculous. My understanding now is that it is only useful for BYOD systems, not for school-owned devices. It may be that once an app license is issued through this system, it cannot be pulled back to use on a different school device. That seems a bit strange to me, so I'm interested to know what you have found.

    Are you using Meraki to deploy paid as well as free apps to school owned devices?

    Have you been able to pull back licenses to re-issue them to a different school owned device?

    What happens with app updates - do they still each download 30 or 50 times etc?

    Does it enable syncing of iBooks (for student-made eBooks) or iTunes playlists (and I'm not talking about illegally syncing music).


  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 17 Mar 2013 7:01pm ()

    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and some very useful documents that I have filed away. It's interesting that we're all finding this tricky, and it's good to be able to share the fish-hooks and the solutions.

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 17 Mar 2013 9:05pm ()

    That's really interesting, thank you Caroline.

    So, you're not using Configurator at all.

    By pulling back apps, I mean eg say you want to switch a particular app from one group of (say) 5 iPads to another group. You would want to release the license codes from the first group and transfer them to the other 5 iPads. Would you be able to do that? I know that if you actually give VPP codes to others to redeem, then they are gifted and gone to their device for good. But (if I'm right) you can keep the codes you've paid for for your own iPads by using Configurator.

    I've kept our two old iTunes accounts for use with our two old iPad 1s. And they're there just in case we need them. Like you, we want to do everything properly and legally with having the right number of app licenses etc.

    So, to sync iBooks, you work through iTunes on your 'Master' computer? I like the sound of that!

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 18 Mar 2013 4:49pm ()

    That's interesting about the dual iTunes accounts when using Configurator. I was under the impression that you had to use a single iTunes account? Thanks for sharing the journey!

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 19 Mar 2013 11:00pm ()

    Regarding free Apps that return to being paid ones, my understanding is that (with Configurator) if you download a free app in iTunes, you need to get it straight into Configurator while it is still free. It's no good having it in iTunes and not taking that next step. Maybe the issue is similar with Meraki.

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 16 Apr 2013 9:10pm ()

    Has anyone else tried to do UPDATES of apps under VPP yet? How are you coping with the multiple updates for each app? Especially for apps like Garageband and iMovie. Check David's posting about the initial download of apps on Apple Support, but my concern is more about updates when you later need to do them through iTunes.


  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2013 12:58pm ()

    I'm wondering if anyone has thought about the impact on how you set up your school's iOS devices, of Apple's decision to make some of their key apps free recently (with new iPads and iOS7 etc, and I think also for current users) - iMovie, Garageband, iPhoto, and Pages, Keynote, Numbers.

    • Do we no longer need to purchase these apps through the VPP?
    • What is the status of the licences of these key apps we have already bought through VPP
    • What happens when you purchase new devices with these apps freely available, or do an update and get them, but then try to sync with VPP etc through Apple Configurator

    I don't think I want to do any iOS updates on our school iPads till I have this all clear - but need to be thinking about it as we begin to prepare for the new year, and purchase new iPads to be set up with our system (currently iTunes or Apple Configurator).

    My brain's getting scrambled!


  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 27 Jan 2014 11:23pm ()

    I phoned apple support yesterday and was told that the only option for NZ at this stage is credit card (I had been enquiring about whether we could use an iTunes card too). I hadn't thought about a loaded card. We use a credit card.

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 27 Jan 2014 11:26pm ()

    My understanding is that the new credit options don't apply in NZ - that information seems to have been part of general release, and terms vary in different countries. :-(

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