Business manager

How to Add Apple TV to Apple Business Manager

Apple Business Manager is a great tool for businesses purchasing devices such as Apple TVs, iPads, and iPhones because the cloud portal streamlines Apple device enrollment processes.

Enrolled Apple devices are much easier to fully deploy and manage, as is controlling device access to apps, files, and data. Organizations can upgrade to larger platforms to work alongside Apple Business Manager (ABM) for iPhone and Mac.

Use Apple TV with Apple Business Manager

ABM has enough management capabilities to serve as the sole management platform for Apple TV devices, which offer fewer features than an iPad or iPhone.

ABM is a great starting point for anyone looking to manage some of their Apple products with this platform. It offers automatic app deployment using the Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP), custom enterprise app publishing, zero-touch device configuration, and location-based content deployment or groups of devices.

One of ABM’s main benefits is the Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP). DEP works by having all Apple devices that an organization purchases from Apple or an authorized reseller associate them with the purchasing organization’s Apple customer number or reseller number. The DEP process makes it easy to enroll the device once the end user receives and activates it.

Once a purchased device registers with DEP, ABM applies all preconfigured profiles with specific apps, content, or permissions. The enrollment process also enables IT administrators to support mobile device management (MDM).

ABM allows organizations to store credits on the license to allow their end users to obtain pre-purchased applications. This eliminates the need for end users to enter work or personal credit cards, which was previously a requirement when acquiring apps from Apple’s App Store. ABM also allows organizations with custom-developed mobile apps for iOS to provision and publish them to devices, bypassing the use of the App Store.

Another feature is ABM’s Managed Apple ID. Administrators can use ABM to provide Apple IDs to employees or accounts associated with Apple TVs. Managed Apple ID can be useful for large organizations that associate work email addresses with devices.

How to assign new Apple TV devices to Apple Business Manager

This process is for registering an Apple TV under an organization’s ABM account. To get started, IT needs to provide the organization’s customer number or organization ID to the vendor that sells them the Apple TV devices.

To take advantage of automatic enrollment of Apple TVs purchased with their Apple Business Manager account, the organization must register and notify the vendor, providing them with the Apple devices with their Apple Customer Number or Organization ID.

Once the organization receives, 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 for Apple TV management, administrators should assign it to the default MDM server platform connected to the ABM Portal (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Apple Business Manager portal showing an Apple TV device enrolled in SimpleMDM.

Now that the device is enrolled, administrators can prepare all the apps their Apple TV will have. If the device is associated with an MDM platform, IT can manage it with the MDM or ABM console itself. With an MDM platform, administrators can control many components of Apple TV. Several configuration categories are available through the ABM Portal to manage a device or groups of devices (Figure 2).

The Apple Business Manager console showing the Apple TV store and related services.
Figure 2. The Apple TV app and service options in ABM.

From this list, administrators can choose which applications and configurations to deploy. Once an administrator clicks the next button, ABM displays all possible configurations for that specific setting (Figure 3). Other configuration options include Wi-Fi, VPN and password or screen lock.

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

Despite these built-in ABM capabilities, many organizations still maintain third-party MDM platforms to manage all Apple and non-Apple devices within a single console. However, ABM supports enrolling Apple devices on non-native MDM platforms and helps organizations using MDM manage desktop computers, mobile devices, Apple devices, and everything in between.

ABM can provide basic functionality that can still satisfy basic business needs as they exist today. It will usually provide enough support for basic devices like Apple TVs, but often it’s not enough to work as a standalone management program for an entire fleet of desktop computers, smartphones and more.