Apple debuts Shared iPad for Business, Assessment Mode for Mac, custom school apps, and more

Along with the release of iOS 13.4, iPadOS 13.4, and macOS 10.15.4, Apple also released several exciting new features aimed to simplify the lives of its enterprise and K-12 customers. Among the new features are Shared iPad for Business, Assessment Mode for Mac, Shared iPad Temporary Session for K-12, and Proxy support for APNs.

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As the iPad and Mac continue to grow their market share in the enterprise along with continued use of Apple products in K-12, Apple has continued to develop easier ways for IT departments to work with its products.

Shared iPad for Business

Previously only available in Apple School Manager, Shared iPad for Business Shared iPad enables businesses to share devices between multiple employees, while still providing a personalized experience. Employees sign in with a Managed Apple ID to begin loading their data. The user then has their own Mail accounts, their own files, iCloud Photo Library, app data, and more. The data for the employee is stored in iCloud, so employees can sign in to any Shared iPad that belongs to the organization.

The data on the iPad cached so employees can choose from a list of recent users to quickly get back to their personalized setup. There is also a temporary session that allows for any user to sign in without an account, and their data is erased when they sign out.

Assessment Mode for Mac

Assessment Mode on the Mac will be a feature aimed at K-12. This new feature allows approved assessment developers to build apps that automatically lock a Mac into a single app and turn off certain features when launch. No management or additional configuration required to make use of this feature.

Shared iPad Temporary Session

Similar to how a temporary session works in Shared iPad for Business, School iPad for Schools can now leverage a temporary session without needing an Apple ID to log in. When a student is finished, they tap logout and their data is removed, so the iPad is ready for the next student.

Proxy Support for APNs

The Apple Push Notification service (APNs) allows communication from a mobile device management system to Apple devices. Organizations need to allow communication from their corporate network to APNs for Apple devices to work properly. APNs traffic will now use a proxy when it is specified in a PAC file. This feature will provide improved support for default-deny type corporate networks (widely used in regulated industries) where all internet bound traffic must traverse a proxy that is configured by a PAC file (Proxy Auto Configuration).

Custom Apps in Apple School Manager

Custom apps (designed specifically for internal use) can now be assigned and installed using Apple School Manager. This feature will be helpful for schools that have the expertise in-house to build custom assessment applications.

9to5Mac’s take

Overall, these are some exciting features from Apple in a mid-cycle software update. Shared iPad for Business will become very popular in healthcare, retail, and industrial applications. Jamf announced zero-day support for all of these new features as well, so enterprise and K-12 customers can begin to take advantage immediately. With many K-12 organizations now using distance learning tools, the ability to remotely control iOS and macOS updates is even more crucial than before. If these features are what we’re getting in March, I cannot wait to see what Apple has planned for enterprise and K-12 customers in the next releases of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.

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