Apple Configurator allows you to “supervise” iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch. But what is a supervised iPad and why would use this feature?
It’s simplest to think of supervised iPads as school owned devices. Supervising an iPad gives you greater control over the device, allows you to better manage large numbers of iPads simultaneously, and prevents the user removing any settings or apps you apply.
Teachers or students may want to bring their personal iPad to use in school. You don’t want to supervise a personal device because the supervision process will factory reset the iPad erasing all data, apps, and settings. You can think of unsupervised iPads as the personal devices of teachers and students. You can still apply configuration profiles but the user can remove them as they wish — it is their iPad after all!
Using the “Supervise” tab in Apple Configurator, iPads can be grouped to make managing large number of iPads simpler.
School owned devices, particularly cart based iPads, should be supervised. Supervision allows you to apply settings and apps without the end user being able to remove them. It also gives us additional options which unsupervised devices do not allow such as:
Enabling or disabling AirDrop
Enabling or disabling iMessage
Enabling or disabling Siri Profanity Filter
Enabling or disabling iBooks Store
Enabling or disabling removing apps
Enabling or disabling installing configuration profiles
Enabling or disabling modifying account settings
Enabling or disabling the Find my Friends
Enabling or disabling connecting to non-Configurator computers
Enabling or disabling access to Game Centre
Applying a Global HTTP proxy
Configuration profiles applied to a supervised iPad via Apple Configurator can be prevented from being removed from an iPad. Profiles applied in other ways, such as by MDM, cannot.