Organizations have earlier been able to add iPhones and iPads manually to their Apple Business Manager (ABM) / Apple School Manager (ASM) account. However, this has not been the case for Macs and many have been struggling to manage Macs not associated with their ABM/ASM account.
Luckily, things have gotten easier with Mac management, and you can now add Mac computers to Apple Business Manager manually with the Apple Configurator app.
What is Apple Business Manager?
Apple Business Manager (ABM) is Apple’s own web portal where IT administrators can see Apple devices and app licenses purchased by their organization and assign the devices for remote management. Apple School Manager (ASM) is a similar program for schools and other educational institutions.
ABM integrates Apple Automated Device Enrollment (ADE), formerly known as DEP, and Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) into a single platform.
Benefits of using Apple Automated Device Enrollment (ADE, formerly DEP)
Apple's Automated Device Enrollment provides a fast and streamlined way of enrolling company-owned Apple devices to an MDM system like Miradore. With ADE, administrators can easily deploy new devices, gain greater control over the devices, and prevent device users from disabling the remote management.
For device users, the Automated Device Enrollment program minimizes the manual actions that must be taken after unboxing a newly purchased device.
The difficulty of adding previously purchased or donated Macs to ABM
By design, ADE is compatible with Apple devices that have been purchased directly from Apple or through Apple-authorized resellers or carriers. Typically, the seller assigns new Apple devices to the buyer organization's ABM/ASM account automatically when the devices are purchased.
But organizations may also have devices purchased before joining ABM/ASM or received as a donation. These devices will not appear in ABM/ASM by default, and consequently, ADE is not directly applicable to them.
Organizations have, however, earlier been able to manually add iPhones and iPads, running iOS 11 or newer, to their ABM/ASM account using the Apple Configurator software on a Mac computer. But this has not been possible for Macs, and therefore, many organizations have been struggling to manage Macs not associated with their ABM/ASM.
Adding Macs to ABM with Apple Configurator app for iPhone
Last June, Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC21) that they will release Apple Configurator for iPhone in iOS 15. Following that announcement, Apple released Apple Configurator 1.0, Beta 1 (1A20) to AppleSeed for IT on August 11, 2021.
Now, after the release of macOS 12 Monterey, Apple has officially released Apple Configurator for iPhone. The iPhone version of the Apple Configurator app is a game-changer because it allows administrators to manually add newish Macs to the ABM/ASM and deploy them with ADE.
The iPhone version of the Apple Configurator app is a game-changer because it allows administrators to manually add newish Macs to the ABM/ASM and deploy them with ADE.
Apple Configurator for iPhone requires iOS 15, and the app supports Mac computers with Apple Silicon or T2 security chip and macOS Monterey. This means you cannot add all your existing Macs to Apple Business or School Manager. But at least you can do so for the more modern devices, which is great news!