Deploying iOS apps without an Apple ID in iOS 9 – device based app deployment

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Ever since Apple announced the ability to deploy apps without an Apple ID back in June 2015 I have been excited to test it out. Unfortunately I had to wait for El Capitan and our MDM (JAMF’s Casper Suite) to update in order for this to work. But as of last week I have been able to deploy apps to our iPad with no Apple ID in play. It really is the future of app deployment for places like our school, the International School of Stavanger, and so many other similar organizations. We used to spend hours/days/weeks on helping students create Apple IDs or creating Apple IDs for our mobile iPad carts but we will no longer have to do this. I understand that in the USA you can create Apple IDs in bulk as part of the DEP but this is not an option in Norway. (we have the DEP and VPP just not that feature)

Here are the prerequisites:

  1. Each device must be running iOS 9. My testing was done with iOS 9.1 on the iPad Air 2.
  2. Your MDM may need to be upgraded to support this new device-based app deployment. We are running JAMF’s Casper Suite version 9.81.

Here are the steps I took to make this happen:

  1. Erase then setup the iPad. In this case I used a new out of the box iPad Air 2.
  2. Enroll the device in your MDM. (Casper Suite in our case) We use the DEP here in Norway so I use pre-stage enrollment but I don’t think there are any issues in using an iPad with a regular enrollment. You should be fine to just go through the setup wizard then enroll the device.
  3. Choose the app you want to deploy via device-based deployment and purchase it via the VPP store. Be sure and choose the Managed Distribution version of the license, not Redeemable Codes.
  4. Configure the app in JSS. I chose the following settings in JSS under Mobile Devices>Apps>iMovie (the app I used for testing)
  5. You also need to adjust the settings under the app’s VPP tab.

  6. Set the scope to include the devices you want to deploy to. Remember to set the target to specific mobile devices, not users.
  7. Finally, and perhaps most important, you need to enable the “Populate Purchased VPP Content” setting under Management Settings>Global Management>VPP>”name of your VPP account/school”>Details.


In my testing the app simply started to download. The app does not, of course, appear in anyone’s download history etc. It is truly owned by our organization and is fully revocable.

I am guessing these steps are possible via Apple Configurator 2 but I have not tested that process yet.

Are you using another MDM (I’d specifically like to know how Merki works as I cannot see any options for this in Meraki) and if so, how did things work out for you? Anyone using Apple Configurator 2 to do this? Hit the comments and let me know!


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