Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: May 8, 2013 10:14 AM by rccharles
MikeB4424 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi all, I'm currently trying to develop a corporate solution that basically uses an iPad as a glorified e-reader. One of the reasons that my organization chose the iPad was due to sensitivity of the data we are storing. The iPads have been physically modified to this end, including having the microphones, wireless, bluetooth and camera removed/disabled. We've locked down most settings using iPhone Configuration Utility profile and enabled most of the built-in restrictions through the iPad settings.


We've installed Adobe Reader and use a third party application to load pdf documents directly to the Adobe app. The issue we are now trying to solve, involves preventing users from transferring these pdfs to any other pc's or devices.


I've discovered that I can connect the iPad to a different, unauthorized PC and, although they cannot sync to iTunes, it is seen and if I go to the "Apps", I can go to Adobe and save folders to this new PC. This poses a problem for us and I'm trying to find a solution.




Thanks, Mike

iPad 2, iOS 6.1.3
  • Simon Slavin Level 4 (1,400 points)

    I do not know definitely, but it should be worth exploring this option.


    Uninstall Adobe Reader.  Instead of that, put the PDFs into the computer's iTunes as 'books'.  You can do this with files in PDF format, you don't need to change the format.  These books should be synced with the iPads in the next sync session.


    Then try to see if you can do the things you don't want users to do.

  • MikeB4424 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the thought Simon. However, from our experience, iBooks needs to be loaded using iTunes. The third party software we are using cannot transfer to iBooks. We need this particular software due to its' ability to transfer mass files to mass tablets at the same time.

  • Simon Slavin Level 4 (1,400 points)

    Okay.  I think your best bet, if you're using particular software, is to contact whoever makes that software and ask them your question.

  • MikeB4424 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your time Simon but the issue isn't with the software. It lies with locking down the iPad to a point where documents cannot be copied off of it from any station other than it's primary PC that it sync's to.

  • Simon Slavin Level 4 (1,400 points)

    It may be that you misunderstand how data is held on an iPad.  Data files for an app on an iPad are not organised as files in the user's home folder which all Apps have access to.  Each app stores its own files in its own way, and only that app can get at those files: I cannot use one iPad app to read a file which belonged to another iPad app, each app can see only its own files.


    It is up to the programmer for each app to decide how to hold its files (in this case PDFs) and whether to make it possible to copy those files onto a computer.  The person who wrote the software you're using decided how that app makes its files available.  The person who wrote iTunes gets to decide how iTunes makes its files available.


    You will find that it's impossible to copy an iTunes book off of an iPad onto a computer.  There's no user interface feature which shows you the books and lets you copy them.  Nowhere you can 'drag' the file onto your hard disk, no 'Save As' button to press.  Try it yourself, I bet you can't find a way to do it.  So PDFs stored as iTunes books are locked down and cannot be copied off of the iPad, just how you want.


    However you are using another piece of software and the programmers of that software have chosen to make it possible to copy those PDFs onto a computer.  So I think you might talk to the programmers of whatever software you're using and find out whether they have a setting, or can change the way their App works, so that data files (PDFs) used by that app can't be copied off of the device.

  • MikeB4424 Level 1 (0 points)

    The third party software is not an app, it is a program on the PC that only transfers the files to the indicated app/folder on the iPad i.e. com.adobe.Adobe-Reader.


    The draw to this software is that I can push multiple files to multiple iPads at the same time and it needs no cloud structure as the PC is stand-alone with no network connectivity. The software is called Bulk Device USB Transfer from MacroPlant. The drawback is that it cannot push to iBooks.  The app that I'm using on the iPad is Adobe Reader.


    I apologize if this was a bit confusing, I'm not much of an Apple guy but I'm tryin'!!

  • Simon Slavin Level 4 (1,400 points)

    I suggest you contact MacroPlant and discuss your problem with them.  They have a sensible web site and seem to care about support.


    Don't worry about picking things up slowly.  It's easy to get an iPad and think it's just another computer and that it can be treated like a Windows computer.  You're having to learn a whole new kind of gadget.


    It's worth noting here that Adobe/Acrobat Reader is needed only for Windows computers.  Both Macs and iDevices come with Apple's own software which can read PDFs.  Apple users would normally not consider installing Adobe's own software.  So this is a non-standard avenue you have chosen to go down.

  • rccharles Level 5 (7,581 points)

    Are you using Supervised mode?  This puts a lot of restrictions on.  One is to only sync with the installing itunes.


    There are three ownership models. I'd think you would want instituion. :


    •     Personal
    •     Institution
    •     Layered. combines personal & institution.





    There appear to be open source PDF readers for the iPad.

    Change it how you want.


    Have you looked at Divide?



    Divide seems to be an all in one application.  You do everything inside divide.  It has all the corporate security you will need.




    IT Resources -- ios & OS X -- This is a fantastic web page.  I like the education site over the business site.

    View documentation, video tutorials, and web pages to help IT professionals develop and deploy education solutions.


        business site is:

  • MikeB4424 Level 1 (0 points)

    I like the look of the institution setup, but currently don't have my hands on a Mac so Apple Configurator is not an option. I'll press my boss but no guarantees.


    The divide tool appears to be cloud based and as mentioned, all wireless capability has been removed.

  • rccharles Level 5 (7,581 points)

    Well, does your boss want to secure the device?


    you might be able to hack profile and turn on supervisor mode.  Look and see if you can turn on supervisor mode from GUI.


    Get lots of hd storage on your mac. People are complaining of runnng out of hd space with a macbook air.


    Mac Mini.|GOUS&cid=AOS-US-KWG


    You might get Meraki to create what profiles you need then manually copy them.

    Meraki -- A free MDM   [ expect lots of email and phone calls about upgrades ]


    You have seen this.  a quick search didn't reveal ios 6:

  • MikeB4424 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the replies and the links rccharles. I'm working on getting a mac in my shop now, but after some reading, still don't see a guarantee that, even in supervisor mode, it will prevent this.


    Alternatively, is there a way to look at the apple logs to determine if the device has been connected to a different PC?

  • rccharles Level 5 (7,581 points)

    still don't see a guarantee that, even in supervisor mode, it will prevent this.


    What happens when connecting to iTunes?


    From reading several posts here, this may have been a recent change. I do not know for sure. In supervised mode, you must connect to the supervising mac.  Otherwise, you will get an error.


    You could visit an apple store and try things out.


    Alternatively, is there a way to look at the apple logs to determine if the device has been connected to a different PC


    I did find apps in the app store to read the logs on the iPad


    I do not know if you will get the information you need with either of these apps.  I did read about reading crash app logs in iTunes. Perhaps more of the logs are available.

  • MikeB4424 Level 1 (0 points)

    I think I'm going to have to try this at the apple store like you suggested.


    I've contacted Consuela folks as well and will update when I get a reply.


    Thanks again RC

  • rccharles Level 5 (7,581 points)

    From reading several posts here, this may have been a recent change. I do not know for sure. In supervised mode, you must connect to the supervising mac.  Otherwise, you will get an error.


    Now I remember...

    The recent change was to require VPP apps to be distributed in supervisor mode.  This is so you can reclaim the usage of the app in cause you want to delete it on an iPad. This change caused grinding of some teeth in school settings because moving to supervisor mode prevented students from connecting to any iTunes to copy off long videos.




    Wall Street Journal

    Pentagon to Enlist Samsun and Apple 5/2/2013 page B1.  Security evaluation by Pentagon of ipad and Samsun device.

    Prior WSJ article wrote of Pentagon effort to write secure apps for ipad.



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