VPP Redemption Codes & Apple School Manager

Another interesting discussion today on the MacAdmin’s slack revealed a workflow gap created for some schools when Apple deprecated Volume Purchasing (VPP) Redemption Codes.

Essentially, a really horrible process could be used to buy a bunch of licenses for an app, in the form of codes, and give them to end users to redeem.

It was superseded some time ago by Managed Distribution, championed by MDMs, to initially assign licenses to devices, “activated” against their Apple ID. This was later improved again by assigning directing to a device (no Apple ID required).

This evolution saw the decline of ye old redemption codes to the point that Apple chose to sunset it (for EDU only??) and focus on managed distribution. This has left a gap in workflow for some schools.

Some schools were using codes as a lightweight touch to tackle the ever popular adoption of bring your own device (BYOD), gifting apps to students to use on their personal devices (assume wrapping up in school fees). No need to enrol a BYO device into MDM.

With that option now gone, solidified by Apple forcing migration for the legacy volume purchasing portal to Apple School Manager in December 2019, schools are trying to figure out how to replace this workflow. Mass purchase of iTunes cards is being floated.

One option, which does involve MDM, is the new user enrolment MDM channel. I won’t go into detail here, but effectively iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 devices can enrol into your MDM using a managed Apple ID (from ASM) and get a quarantined slice of your device storage to install organisation content (if your MDM supports it). The MDM can’t even see your device serial number… making its new set of limitations a much more comfortable pill to swallow than “letting you install an app gives you access to erase my entire personal device” level of control.

The other option (which will be the most attractive to the redemption code loving crowd) is Apple Configurator 2.

This article points out a nice solution for “If you want to use managed distribution, but don’t have an MDM solution”:

Given you only need initial access to the device and then can revoke later as needed, this might be a nice solution.

To Add:

To Revoke:

Let’s see if this approach gets any traction with the BYOD wrangling EDU community.


JNUC 2016

Hi All,

As you may have seen I recently altered my web site to be more in line with my real day to day life, not just the music side; I am now “Musician & MacAdmin”. You can see my latest MacAdmin posts on the front page as well as my Music related items and news.

I just got back from JAMF Nation User Conference (JNUC) 2016 in Minnesota and I loved it. It was a great atmosphere for learning  and collaborating with our MacAdmin minds. My employer Max Computing sent me for which I am grateful.

Over the coming days I will try to post a summary of different sessions/events I enjoyed, but here is a top level summary

  1. The opening session(s) featuring CEO Dean Hager – he is an inspiring man and charismatic to say the least. The work he is personally doing in the social justic realm as well as help the JMAF Foundation do is remarkable and not common in corporations
  2. The renaming of the company from JAMF Software to “JAMF” to support product rebranding of Casper Suite and Bushel to JAMF Pro and JAMF Now respectively
  3. JAMF Patch Management – seeing the direction they were going and how it stacked against solutions like Munki
  4. Shopify’s Managing Devices in an Open Culture: great look at how their IT staff took a bunch of tech heads used to being the master of their own machine and convinced them that Mac Management was a good thing for them and the company
  5. The Mac@IBM presentations: truly an inspiring moment to see how they have become an Mac deployment in enterprise flagship
  6. Making Self Service a killer app from Paul Cowan of Waikato University in New Zealand
  7. User configuration framework: a great new tool developed for configuring apps and services at user login AND utilising sign on password for an SSO (single sign on) experience.
  8. Using SWIFT and the JSS API: great session as an early introduction to coding in SWIFT as well as how to do some basic functions for importing machine placeholders into the JSS (JAMF Software Server aka Casper aka JAMF Pro) for automating device enrolment
  9. Profiles: An IT Admins Best Friend; from the boys at dataJAR in the U.K. Hilarious and insightful it gave a great backbone understanding on managed preferences and how they have evolved plus some best practice

Overall it it was a great conference and I hope to share more soon. In the meantime you can check out the discussion links for each session and see if the slides have been posted: