There are a lot of methods for setting up and deploying iPads. Apple Configurator is mainly used to setup and configure iPads in a small classroom environment, for example K-6 where iPads are shared amongst students. This article, however, describes how to use Apple Configurator to prepare iPads for a larger deployment in a one to one situation.
When a large number of iPads have been purchased, they don’t always arrive with the same or latest version of iOS. This guide ensures that all of the iPads are on the latest iOS version, that they are activated and named individually.
Section 1 : Download and install Apple Configurator and latest ipsw
- Requirements: an iMac running Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8), an Apple ID and an Internet connection
- Download and install Apple Configurator from the Mac App Store
- Download and install the required iOS full package. To do this, I use the direct links from OSX Daily, however you can plug one iPad into Apple Configurator and it will download the latest. I usually google for “osx daily ipsw” and the latest iOS version which at the time of writing is iOS 6.3.1, then I right-click on the appropriate distribution and copy the link, paste it into a new browser window and add a s to make it https:// which I find is faster method of downloading as it bypasses any proxy servers. You will receive a SSL Error message however this is often safe to continue.
Section 2 : Set up Apple Configurator
- Launch Apple Configurator and you should be on the “Prepare” screen. Enter in a generic iPad name, for example “MKC iPad 1” and tick the box to rename sequentially.
- Ensure Supervision is OFF.
- In the iOS drop-down, select Manual, hit the + and select the download ipsw file from Section 1 step 3. If you have multiple iPad models (eg iPad 1, 2 etc you can select multiple ipsw files and Apple Configurator will apply the one that applies to that model iPad).
- Tick “Erase all content and settings”
- WARNING: When Apple Configurator is running in Prepare mode (next step), any iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) will be automatically erased and configured as set. Ensure to not plug in any device you don’t want erased!
- When you are happy that all the appropriate settings are made, click on the “Prepare” button at the bottom of the screen
- Plug in a USB hub if you want to prepare more than a few iPads, I like a rounded number like 10 to be done at a time.
- Plug in each iPad and they will all automatically be erased, updated and configured.