Apple Configurator vs. MDM
Is Apple Configurator a cheap substitute fo true Mobile Device Management? Or is it something else entirely? We hope this comparison answers the question.
Some notes: when we write “MDM”, we are speaking about the combination of ActiveSync, MobileConfig Profiles, and Apple’s interface for MDM commands that is used by most vendors in our Comparison of MDM Providers.
Apple Configurator is listed twice, since it can be used in two different ways. Devices can be unsupervised — which means the are simply prepared for deployment — or supervised, something altogether different.
This is a wiki page. Since we expect all these technologies to mature, we hope you help us keep this page accurate and up-to-date.
|MDM||Configurator (unsupervised)||Configurator (supervised)|
|Installation||web page or (sometimes) app||USB||USB|
|Delivery of Updates||OTA Push||USB from original computer||USB from original computer|
|Multi-user devices?||No||No||Yes, with short backup-and-restore cycle|
|Set up mobileconfig restrictions, web clips, email, VPN, etc.?||Yes, with push updates and changes||Yes, only during initial config||Yes, only during initial config|
|Set Lock Screen Image||No||Yes, with optional device name||Yes, with device and/or user name and/or user photo|
|Install free apps||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Owner (Apple ID) of free apps||End User||Installer||Installer|
|Install Paid Apps with VPP Codes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Owner of Paid Apps||End-User||?||Device|
|Revokable and Reuse VPP Codes?||No||Yes (if device erased by ACfg)||Yes|
|Passwords entries needed for N app installs on a single device?||N (most implementations) or 1 (some implementations)||0||0|
|Can push documents?||Not through MDM (some have companion app)||Yes, as part of initial image||Yes, per-user docs backed up and saved|
|Query installed apps||Yes||No||No|
|Ideal for||BYOD and/or widely-dispersed users||Initial configuration and deployments, especially when paired with MDM||Classrooms, loaner units, trainings, kiosks|