How to deploy apps with Meraki and Device Assignment

If you prefer the PDF version of this guide : download

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

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

  1. My List of Apps
  2. Purchase Licences
  3. Check License have imported into Meraki
  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, which is used in the App Deployment step.
  • 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)

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 : Deploy Licences

Now that you have your licences. Log into your Meraki Account.

Go to the VPP Tab.

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_4_Image_0002

You should see all your licences as the example below.   

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_4_Image_0004

The licences automatically get imported in to Meraki every day – but you can force a sync if you need things to be quicker.

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_4_Image_0005

While there is nothing to configure on this page – It is important to check here that you have enough licenses before the next step. 

We recommend that you wait a little before moving straight to the next step, just to give time for the licences to transfer from your VPP account.

Step 4 : Deploy Apps

Go to the Apps Tab.

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_6_Image_0002 

There are 3 options – for normal apps for iPad Select ‘iOS app’

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_6_Image_0004

Click on ‘Add new’. – Selecting the iOS app option.

The following search box will appear:

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_6_Image_0006

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_6_Image_0008It is possible to search for the App that you want; but this is where errors can occur with the deployment. For example in search for ‘Puppet Pals’ we have many options to choose and a mistake may cause conflict between the licence and app selected, or the iPad may be prompting the user to sign in and make purchases for an App that has not been licensed.

To remedy this we refer to the list from Step 1.

Go back to

This time note (or copy and paste) the App ID# – this is the number in (BRACKETS)

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.47.54iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_7_Image_0004

Paste that into the search field and select ‘Lookup by ID   

There will be no mistake in the apps that we need to deploy.  Select ‘Add’ 

iPad Meraki App Deployment - 4 Steps_Page_7_Image_0006

You will need to edit some parameters to assign to the correct devices.

Scope > Install devices : You can assign the apps to devices based on their tags – e.g. Teacher, Students or Cart etc

Purchase Method : In this example this needs to be changed to ‘VPP device assignment’ the other options relate to user assignment.

Other options are optional and will not effect the deployment. 

Example Paid App:

 Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.52.36

Example Free App: (note that VPP device licence needs to be checked)

 Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 11.52.48

Known Issues

There is a known issue where apps may fail to deploy where an App was previously added and then changed to a different purchase method –

e.g. If an app is added and saved, but then revisited and the check box marked ‘Use VPP device license’.  To remedy this issue, you will need to delete the app, then re-add and making sure the device assignment is active before saving the changes.


If you have any feedback for instructors or engineers, on improving resources or the service you receive please visit:

Getting in touch

You can reach me at:

If you need a site visit or support please get in touch.

Check out for sharing apps with other teachers and students.

Follow me on Twitter @cjacksonuk