How to add an Apple TV to Apple Business Manager

Apple Business Manager is a great tool for businesses that buy devices like Apple TVs, iPads, and iPhones because the cloud portal simplifies Apple device registrations.

Registered Apple devices are much easier to fully deploy and manage, as is controlling devices’ access to apps, files, and data. Organizations may choose more platforms to work alongside Apple Business Manager (ABM) for iPhone and Mac.

Use your Apple TV together with Apple Business Manager

ABM has enough management capabilities to serve as the only management platform for Apple TV, which offers fewer functions than an iPad or iPhone.

ABM is a great starting point for those looking to manage some of their Apple products using this platform. Provides automatic application deployment using the Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP), custom enterprise application deployment, touchless device configuration and content publishing based on locations or device groups.

The Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) is a major benefit of ABM. DEP works by having any Apple devices that an organization purchased from Apple or an authorized reseller associate with the purchasing organization’s customer number or Apple reseller number. The DEP process makes it easy to register the device once it is received by the end user and activated.

Once a purchased device is registered with DEP, ABM applies any pre-made profiles with specific apps, content, or permissions. The registration process also allows IT administrators to support Mobile Device Management (MDM).

ABM allows organizations to store credits on the license to enable end users to obtain pre-purchased applications. This eliminates the need for end users to enter company or personal credit cards, which were a requirement when obtaining apps from the Apple App Store. ABM also allows organizations with mobile apps developed specifically for iOS to provide and publish them on devices, bypassing the use of the App Store.

Another feature is ABM Managed Apple ID. Administrators can use ABM to provide Apple IDs to employees or accounts linked to Apple TVs. A Managed Apple ID can be valuable to large organizations that associate work email addresses with devices.

How to assign new Apple TVs to Apple Business Manager

This process is to enroll your Apple TV into your organization’s ABM account. To get started, the IT department has to provide the enterprise customer number or enterprise ID of the vendor that sells them Apple TVs.

To take advantage of the automatic enrollment of Apple TVs purchased with their Apple Business Manager account, the organization is required to register and notify the seller, providing the Apple devices with the Apple customer number or organization ID.

Once the organization receives and sets up the Apple TV and connects it to the Internet, IT must ensure that it is registered with ABM. If an organization uses MDM to manage Apple TV, administrators must assign it to the default MDM server platform connected to the ABM Gateway (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Apple Business Manager portal shows an Apple TV registered in SimpleMDM.

Now that the device is registered, administrators can set up all the apps that their Apple TV will have. If the device is linked to an MDM platform, IT can manage it using either the MDM console or ABM itself. With the MDM platform, administrators can control many components of the Apple TV device. Several configuration classes are available through the ABM portal to manage groups of devices or devices (Fig. 2).

The Apple Business Manager console displays the floor of the Apple TV store and associated services.
Figure 2. Apple TV app and service options within ABM.

From that list, administrators can choose which apps and configurations to deploy. Once the administrator clicks the Next button, ABM will display all possible configurations for that specific setup (Figure 3). Other configuration options include Wi-Fi, VPN, and password or screen locks.

Apple TV firewall settings within Apple Business Manager.
Figure 3. Advanced configurations administrators can set within Apple Business Manager on an Apple TV.

Despite these capabilities built into ABM, many organizations still maintain third-party MDM platforms to manage all of their Apple and other devices under one console. However, ABM supports enrolling Apple devices in non-native MDM platforms and helps organizations that use MDM to manage desktop and mobile devices, Apple devices, and everything in between.

ABM can provide essential functionality that can still meet the basic needs of businesses as they exist today. It will generally provide enough support for basic devices like Apple TVs, but often not enough to act as a standalone management software for a full range of desktops, smartphones, and more.

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