12 Replies Latest reply: May 14, 2014 12:14 PM by rccharles
teryg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

My academic department  purchased a dozen iPad minis to lend to students. I would like to be able to track these, in case one is stolen from a student. However, the IDs on the iPads will continue to change -- when a student borrows an iPad, s/he sets it up to his or her own iTunes account. And when an iPad is not checked out, but is sitting in our equipment locker, it's not linked to any iTunes account. I would like the tracking software to remain on the iPads and active, even when they're not linked to a student account. Is there any way to put tracking software on all the iPads that will return information to my account, or to some kind of departmental account, when the iPads are linked to a different iTunes account?

iPad, iOS 7.0.4, mini
  • teryg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Does anyone know where else I might as this question? I'd like to get the iPads set up over the summer.



  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (6,655 points)

    Your request doesn't fit neatly into Apple's way of doing things.  You have a lot of options to pick from.


    if you have thick skin, one of the stackexchange forums would be good.


    The simplest would be the Activation Lock... if it does enough for your situation.

    Activation lock

    Find My iPad

    "With iOS 7, Find My iPhone includes a new feature called Activation Lock, which is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if you ever lose it. It starts working the moment you turn on Find My iPhone in iOS 7."




    If the Activation Lock isn't enough, you would need to get an mdm solution.



    MDM  -- Mobile Device Management  



    Airwatch, Meraki, MobileIron, Profile Manager on OS X Server, or Zenprise


    For a comparison see this page:






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

       Read the product overview.  Click on "get started now" to sign up.


       Video's on how to setup and use Meraki.

         https://meraki.cisco.com/blog/2012/08/how-to-get-the-most-from-meraki-systems-ma nager/





    Apple Configurator and Apple Profile Manager


    "Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution."  Limited to Macs.  Connects via USB cable.

      "Profile Manager lets you configure OS X and iOS devices so they’re set up to use your company or school resources and have the settings, apps, and books your organization requires. Profile Manager creates settings and preference bundles for devices and deploys them to devices via the Mobile Device Management (MDM) service."  Requires OS X server.




  • iToaster Level 3 Level 3 (735 points)

    You can but you'd have to work within iOS current limitations

    have a institution iTunes account used for find my iPhone

    Which you sign out of the App Store after configuration

    And let the users sign in with their own iTunes account


    Make sure they can't change iCloud or find my iPhone

    Otherwise you could find yourself locked out of the device


    You should also look at Apple Configurator and a MDM solution to manage the devices


    If the devices are institutionally owned have a look a VPP


    Have a look at having a institutional iTunes account or a combo institutional iTunes account and user iTunes account

    and how it may or may not work for you in your situation

    Do the students really need their own iTunes accounts on the devices or can you manage with a institutional iTunes account and VPP

  • teryg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The professors want the students to be able to use their own IDs, so the institutional account won't work. What I'm thinking now is to create an Apple ID that's used only for our department, and set up Find My iPad with that ID while the units are in my possession (I don't want them on my personal ID). When a student checks the unit out, the student would use his or her Apple ID to set up the unit while it's in his or her possession. When it comes back to me, I'd reset it with the departmental ID. While it's in the student's possession, the student could use Find My iPad with his or her own ID. To prevent lockouts, I'd just add a line to the student borrowing agreement, which currently says they're responsible for replacement if they break or lose the equipment, to add that they're responsible for replacement if they render the unit unusable by the department. They're generally good at resetting the units before returning them, because they don't want their own IDs used by the next student who borrows the iPad.


    Does anyone see any obvious holes in that plan?

  • iToaster Level 3 Level 3 (735 points)

    They can use their own iTunes account with either a institutional

    iTunes account or departmental iTunes account using find my iPhone


    My advice would be to try what your proposing and see if it's practical or not

    Multiply it by x number of iPads and see which method works best for you and

    is the simplest and least pita


    Signed agreements sound good but they generally end up being not worth the

    paper they are written on when the user has left and you've discovered months later

    Someone has forgotten to setup find my iPhone and the long departed user has

    And your stuck with a device you can't restore and your having to convince

    Apple you do actually own it

  • manamaga Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Be very careful how you approach this.  If users are creating their own Apple ID on the devices, each device is can only be used to activate 3 ID's.  I have just posted in this forum about our situation.  If 3 Id's have been activated on a device, and it's then given to a fourth person, they cannot create their ID on that device.


    Also.......one Apple ID can only be used on 10 devices, just in case you were going to use an institutional ID on all devices.


    We have over 1000 Apple devices and have invested nearly £500,000 and the support we have from Apple is NIL!  We have numerous activation locked iPads and iPads which can't be used because three ID's have been created on them.  Very frustrating.  Apple are happy to sell you the devices but you will struggle when it comes to support!  Certainly the case here in the UK anyway.

  • teryg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you very much for the information. We've only used the iPad minis for 2 semesters, so have not hit this problem yet, but we would have hit it in the next semester or two if you hadn't warned me. We have a much smaller number of devices -- just a dozen. It sounds like we should be able to get away with registering 10 to one institutional ID and the others to a second institutional ID, and not letting the students register them to their IDs at all from now on.


    This seems very wrong. If Apple is going to sell these as a solution for education, they need to recognize that educational environments are different from personal environments, and that the ability to register the devices to multiple IDs in succession is a requirement.


    IMHO, they should not be limiting this for personal devices either. I can easily see situations where an iPad would be sold or passed down to family members enough times to turn it into a paperweight. Perhaps a reason to start looking at Android tablets? (This coming from a longtime Apple user who has avoided Windows and Android equipment -- but who might have to rethink that approach.)

  • manamaga Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It sounds like your best way forward is to have two institutional ID's as you suggest.  But please bear things in mind if you ever expand the number of your devices.


    If you go down the two institutional ID route, you can log the devices into iCloud and iTunes and then 'Disable Account Modification' via an MDM solution, this will stop users from logging the devices out and using their own ID's.


    We are already looking at, and testing Google Docs and Google devices.  We'll only use Windows devices as a last resort


    Good luck, you'll need it!

  • teryg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just reread this more carefully. It sounds like the lockout only happens if students create new Apple IDs on the devices, not if they log in to existing Apple IDs. Am I right about that? I still think we'll go with the two institutional IDs. If we go over 20 iPads, I'll have to figure out a difference solution.

  • iToaster Level 3 Level 3 (735 points)

    You can also end up unable to restore devices if users sign up for find my iphone with their own itunes account


    have you looked at VPP


    and DEP


  • teryg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I like the idea of VPP, but I'm a department chair not an IT person. It doesn't look like I can sign up without some kind of code that I don't have. That would be an IT code, and IT doesn't manage our devices, so it looks like VPP won't be a solution for us.

  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (6,655 points)

    At a certain point in numbers, a MDM, mobile device management,  solution is advantageous.   With an MDM, you are on Apples institutional path.  Without an MDM, you are on Apples home user path.


    Since you have a small number of ipad,  request the student drop the ipad from their Apple account when they return it.


    "In iOS 7.1 or later, you can use a compatible MDM solution to enable Activation Lock when a user turns on Find My iPhone. Your MDM solution can store a bypass code when Activation Lock is enabled and later use this code to  clear Activation Lock automatically when you need to erase the device and deploy it to a new user. Refer to your MDM solution documentation for details."