Deploying apps with Zuludesk MDM

Assuming that everything is set up and ready to go with your solution. There are 4 steps!

In this example we use Zuludesk – but this may apply to other systems.

  1. My List of Apps
  2. Purchase Licences
  3. Sync the Licences into the MDM
  4. Deploy Apps to the iPad

With this method, if an app is compatible with iOS9+ Device assignment then there will be no need to have an Apple ID on the device.  This is a god send for managing masses of shared devices, or even making it easier to assign apps to any institutionally owned devices.

We use a utility created for the community to assist with the deployment.  Create a free account on

The reason we use this utility is because ;

  • A list of Apps can be created (by an admin or teacher that can later be added into the system)
  • The list links directly to the VPP easing the purchase of licences
  • The list will confirm if apps are compatible with ‘Device Assignment’
  • The list clearly states the App ID Number, (sometimes useful for the technical people)
  • Also a major benefit is that if you are supplied the list in this format, there is no mistake what App the school has asked for as there are sometimes many versions at different cost for some apps.
  • Lastly, you will get a cost estimate of all the apps you want to deploy.

Also at this time, In-App Purchases are not compatible with the VPP programme. So where possible buy apps that are fully functional.  An example would be an app called ‘Puppet Pals’ where a free version exists (this may suit the school) and to upgrade the app you need to make in-app purchase which is incompatible with VPP.  However the developer also provides a paid app which is fully functional bypassing the need for in-app purchase.

Also you will not be able to deploy App Bundles which are created for normal consumers to save money, educational users will usually get a 50% saving on each app (purchases of 20+).

Step 1 : My List of Apps

My list of Apps is FREE and easy to use.  It doesn’t need much explaining!

Go to

  • Creating an account is free
  • You can create as many lists as you need to.

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_2_Image_0002

If you want you can even embed the lists on your website – this could be useful for communicating apps with your parents / peers.

You can make lists of:

  • iPad Apps
  • Mac Apps
  • Ebooks

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_2_Image_0004 iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_2_Image_0006

Step 2 : Purchase Licences

Now that you have your List of Apps we can start making purchases of licences (this applies to Free apps also).    

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.37.23

Note the following symbols:

Apple-VPP-Logo Volume App Symbol.   This will link us directly to the purchase page in the VPP where we can obtain licences.

apple_dep_assignable Device Assignable – This means the app is compatible with iOS9+ / OSX 10.11+  (Apple ID -less deployment)


This is the most common screen for VPP purchases, however you will see a transition to Apple School Manager. See following screen shots.

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_3_Image_0004

There are two very different ‘Distribution Types’. It is important to select ‘Managed Distribution’ for the type of deployment we are doing in this example.

Continue to make the purchase – make sure you are signed in with your supplied VPP account.

You will need a credit card, alternatively you can get VPP credit from us.

Step 3 : Sync the Licences into the MDM

Now that you have made your purchases – check they all show up as Managed Licenses in your VPP account.

Now you can log into your Zuludesk Account.

From the dashboard – hit the synchronise button.  This runs daily, but to force the licences to appear run this command.



Step 4 : Deploy Apps

Deploying apps is really simple.  Presumably devices would have already been grouped into sets of some description.

  • Open the Apps pane from the side menu – the screen shows you the currently deployable apps.
  • Simply check the apps you wish to install and an option to ‘Edit Scope’ will appear.
  • Now make sure the scope has the following settings:
    Scope : This should be changed to include the groups of devices you want to deploy to
    Install Type : Most likely you will want this to be automatic so that apps automagically appear on the devices.
    VPP Assign Method : VPP licence to device means just that, otherwise you need to licence users and have Apple IDs configured on devices.


Known Issues

If you are deploying apps (or rather their licenses) for that are stock installed such as Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Garageband, iMovie – then you will have to select then you will not be able to easily assign a device licence. The result on the iPad is that the app opens then closes immediately and is unusable.

The work around options are to erase the device via Apple Configurator prior to MDM setup, or if users are assigned to the device then if they are able to input an Apple ID then this is a non issue.  There is a long winded way in Zuludesk to remedy the issue but currently its not very practical as there are a lot of clicks involved.

This work around is to visit each Device, go into the properties of each device,  select managed apps, and click the reinstall button for each app in question.


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