A Deep Dive Into Apple VPP and DEP
Given the worldwide prevalence of Apple devices, including in the workplace, it’s no surprise that people need streamlined ways to enroll Apple devices into networks, and once enrolled, to push apps and content onto every device. This is why Apple debuted both Apple DEP (Device Enrollment Program) and Apple VPP (Volume Purchase Program) early in the last decade.
Since that time, Apple has folded both Apple DEP and Apple VPP into Apple Business Manager (ABM)- but each of the two continues in some form in ABM.
For anyone looking to understand Apple’s past or how it came to create ABM, we’ll start by looking at Apple DEP and Apple VPP, before transitioning into Apple’s current solution. Then, we’ll finish by taking a look at how mobile device management (MDM) solutions integrate with ABM, and why having an MDM solution in place is essential to managing Apple devices.
Apple VPP- Volume Purchase Program
After its debut in 2008, Apple’s App Store became a hub for both personal-use and enterprise-targeted apps. In order to accommodate organizations that needed to purchase a large number of apps, Apple launched the Apple Volume Purchase Program in 2011.
Apple VPP enabled businesses to mass-purchase and mass-distribute apps and books on both iOS and macOS devices. Businesses could choose to use Apple VPP for pre-existing apps already on the App Store, or alternatively, they could create their own custom apps and distribute them through Apple VPP.
Businesses could choose one of two ways to distribute apps and content: directly pushing them to devices (known as “managed distribution”), or providing employees with redeemable codes that they could use to download the relevant apps themselves. Managed distribution required either the help of Apple’s Apple Configurator, or an MDM solution.
Apple DEP- Device Enrollment Program
As Apple devices became increasingly popular in enterprise, the need for IT admins to interact with each Apple device during set-up resulted in a significant time sink for many organizations. In response, Apple introduced the Apple Device Enrollment Program in 2014, making it much easier for businesses to quickly onboard devices.
Apple DEP worked in conjunction with an MDM solution to manage devices remotely, and simplify the initial set-up process. It provided a self-service set-up system that made enrolling devices easy for whoever first used them. without any need for IT admins to be directly involved.
To participate in Apple DEP, devices needed to be purchased from either Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller. If businesses had acquired devices in other ways, they could manually enroll them using Apple Configurator- but this required them to manually connect devices to a macOS computer, one at a time.
In 2018, Apple introduced a successor to the DEP and VPP programs- Apple Business Manager. In late 2019, Apple mandated that anyone using DEP and VPP migrate to ABM. But what makes ABM different from DEP and VPP?
Of course, the biggest differentiating factor is the fact that Apple ABM includes the functionalities of both DEP and VPP, while adding some additional tools. ABM standardizes the process of managing Apple devices across many different MDM solutions, by providing specific ways that MDMs can customize devices. This makes it easy to integrate your network of devices into ABM so long as they are managed under an MDM solution, regardless of which MDM solution it is.
ABM integrates closely with one of Apple’s newest initiatives, User   Enrollment, which is designed to make it safe to bring employee-owned devices into the workplace (also known as BYOD, or bring-your-own-device). Apple closely regulates what MDM providers can and cannot access on employee-owned devices, providing a useful way of ensuring that no invasions of privacy occur.
As with Apple DEP, admins can manually enroll devices in ABM using Apple Configurator (now called Apple Configurator 2). However, Apple Configurator 2 requires devices to be physically connected to a macOS device in order to be set up and configured, which is not efficient for most organizations.
The Importance of MDMs
As you can see, Apple Business Manager is designed with the assumption that you likely use an MDM solution for your devices. The biggest limitation of ABM is that it can only handle Apple devices, and most organizations likely have non-Apple devices to manage as well.
This is why an MDM solution, like SureMDM by 42Gears, is so useful. IT admins can enroll devices using ABM, Android Enterprise and other tools like Windows AutoPilot. They can push apps and content to any type of device, just as ABM helps MDMs do on Apple devices. SureMDM can even manage form factors that Apple has yet to expand into, like VR devices
Do we have to mention somewhere user’s workplace Managed Apple ID will run parallel to the user’s personal Apple ID?
Tried adding a sentence
Let’s remove this statement as we haven’t mentioned anything about APFS volume.