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What the Enterprise Needs to Know about iOS 9 & OS X El Capitan

  • Gabrielle Ferree By

In Apple’s latest software update, enterprise support strongest in app management and traditional device management features

For the first time in iOS and OS X history, Apple announced at WWDC 2015 that it is launching a public beta of its newest platforms. Available in July, the public beta will provide users a sneak-peek of the updated software. At the “What’s New in Managing Apple Devices” session during WWDC, Todd Fernandez, Senior Manager of Device Management at Apple provided a breakdown of some of the most important feature updates in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan available in the public beta. Below, we’ve broken down the enterprise features into application management and distribution features, and traditional mobile device management features.

Redesigned application management and distribution

Echoed in last week’s VMware Business Mobility event, apps make enterprise mobility successful. Simply distributing, securing and configuring applications are key requirements when increasing employee adoption of critical applications that transform business processes. The Apple experience is often defined by robust applications, and with iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, these platforms will further improve this experience for both end users and IT.

[Related: AirWatch Supports Mac OS X El Capitan Enrollment and Management Today]

In one of the biggest announcements for both platforms, Apple is eliminating the need for an Apple ID to install apps. An Apple ID required users to be over 13 and users many times needed to use a credit card for setup which caused issues not only on corporate-owned devices, but also for students using devices in the classroom. The iOS 9 software and OS X El Capitan software and Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) gives EMM providers full control of app distribution, installation and updates. Users will simply login with their EMM credentials and get the apps they need to do work.

AirWatch Connect Local EventsIT will also be able to turn a pre-installed application into a managed app. Previously, a user would have to delete and re-download the app in order to take advantage of enterprise features like per-app VPN and single sign-on. The new update will allow IT to seamlessly transition previously installed apps into managed apps without work on the end user. Additionally, IT will be able to install apps while blocking access to the App Store.

Application trust and security will also be improved in the new updates. Applications installed via an EMM provider will be implicitly trusted. Previously, users were often prompted with a popup notification that asked if they trusted the application developer, which could be confusing to users installing enterprise apps. This new feature also provides more security to the enterprise.

iOS 9 also introduces a new restriction to block side-loading of any apps outside of the Apple App Store or the enterprise App Catalog.  If side loading is allowed, there is an additional warning to end users and an extra step required to enable the app.  By default, the app installation is blocked and the user must explicitly trust that app from a new settings menu in order to install it.

Apple is also introducing better EMM support for B2B apps. Previously, EMM providers were not able to collect meta data for B2B apps, but new API’s will support meta data information without additional configuration.

Making management more simple

In addition to application distribution and management improvements, Apple’s updates also made improvements to overall mobile device management features. These include additional DEP features, local account controls, a new Apple Configurator and more restriction profiles.

For devices using DEP and running on iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, IT will have OS version control management. Customers will have control of when devices upgrade to new OS versions. This is especially helpful for IT to ensure that there is enough time to test all mission-critical apps before approving an OS update across a device fleet. Additionally, Apple has expanded the bulk-enrollment program to 26 countries.

[Related: Need Instant Support for Your iOS 9 Devices? AirWatch Has Your Mobile Business Covered]

OS X El Capitan also includes a new local account control as a part of the DEP process. Especially significant for shared devices scenarios and in education, local account control will give IT the ability to create a hidden administrator account on a device while only allowing the user to operate on a standard account. Previously, a user enrolling in DEP was automatically granted an iOS blog CTAadministrative account. OS X El Capitan includes a local account setup option in DEP. When this is activated, the user creates a standard account without permissions to install any root-level software during DEP enrollment. IT can concurrently set up an administrator account that is automatically added to the device during enrollment. IT can also make this administrative account “hidden,” so the user doesn’t have access to it when viewing users and groups in settings.

For line of business and shared scenarios, the revamped Apple Configurator 2 is designed to work with DEP and EMM providers. Apple Configurator 2 will focus on automating bulk device enrollment without any user intervention, while leveraging key features of DEP, such as preventing the removal of the EMM profile. Apps will also be installed directly on the device using USB instead of downloading from the App Store to help with provisioning from locations with low network connectivity. Combined with the managed app conversion feature, Apple Configurator 2 app distribution will work seamlessly with EMM.

Apple also added several new restriction profiles to help enterprise mobility programs. IT manager can restrict sending enterprise data or attachments via AirDrop, which helps prevent data leakage to unmanaged devices. Using EMM, IT can also restrict screen recording, iCloud photo library, keyboard shortcuts, news and pairing with an Apple Watch. Especially helpful in education and shared device situations, IT will also be able to prevent changing the device name and wallpaper.

For telecom features in iOS 9, Apple will expand network usage rules and extend the ability to prevent cellular and roaming on an app-level basis on any managed app, including any app in the App Store.

With dozens of improvements for enabling a mobile workforce, iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan will likely prove to be a success in the enterprise. To learn more about how AirWatch support Apple, visit

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Gabrielle Ferree

Gabrielle Ferree

Gabrielle shares the latest product updates and news for the AirWatch Blog. She also leads AirWatch media relations and enjoys sharing stories that impact the enterprise mobility industry.

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