Last week Apple released the 1.3 update to Apple Configurator, the iPad configuration and management tool. After playing with the software for a short while I’ve documented some of the changes. While the application is essentially the same as the previous version there are some nice updates to the user interface that make managing iPads that little bit easier.
It’s always nice to know what’s happening and why. Previously if an update or app failed to install it was difficult to know the cause. In Apple Configurator 1.3 this has been significantly improved with the application displaying where in the update process the system is along with more detailed error messages should the update process fail.
Following the theme of better informing the administrator, Apple Configurator now gives you an estimation of the timescale of the update process. While it doesn’t give an exact count down, the “About 1 minute” message is much preferable to the previous version’s inconsistent clock icon.
Install Apps on iPads With App Store Disabled
Previously if an iPad’s App Store was disabled it was impossible to install apps through Apple Configurator. In Apple Configurator 1.3 apps can be installed on any supervised device even if the App Store is disabled for the end user.
Device configuration now appears to be much quicker in Apple Configurator 1.3. Updating one of my devices to the latest version of iOS was likewise much faster. While this isn’t a scientific test the experiences of others appear to bear this out.
Two Steps Forward
For some odd reason you can now only install management profiles on devices individually when the iPad is in Prepare mode. This isn’t a significant issue but does increase the initial set up time especially if you are enrolling devices with an MDM solution.
There are a number of credible reports online of the 1.3 update crashing regularly. This isn’t something I’ve experienced in my initial use of Configurator 1.3, but it is something to consider before upgrading.