How Apple iOS 6 gives IT Management More Control over iPhones and iPads

For company IT Managers that are responsible managing iOS devices, whether company-issued or BYOD, they will be happy to learn that Apple has added more IT management capabilities in iOS 6.

Companies can also expect mobile device management (MDM) vendors such as Fiberlink, MobileIron, AirWatch, and Good Technology to implement the same in their tools soon.

Here are the new Mobile Management Capabilities in iOS 6:

  •  iMessage Blocking:

iOS 6 supports a policy that disables iOS’s iMessage texting service that allows OS X and iOS users to send messages to each other without incurring SMS charges.  This policy will appeal to financial services and other companies that need to regulate or monitor the communications between, for example, employees and customers.

  • Blocking – Passbook, Game Center, iBookstore, and shared Photo Stream:

The Passbook app for the iPhone is a great tool for keeping airline, theater, and other tickets, as well as coupons, available in one location. But iOS 6 also lets companies disable Passbook on managed devices

iOS 6 also adds blocking for the Game Center social networking service for gamers, Apple’s iBookstore online bookstore, and the new ability to share the device’s photos and images with other iOS and OS X users via the Photo Stream service in iCloud, iOS 6, and OS X Mountain Lion.

  • Global Corporate Proxy:

iOS 6 has a policy that lets you force all Internet communications through a single Internet proxy server of your choosing; companies can filter all communication, both business and personal, such as for use by data loss prevention tools.

  • Single-App mode:                                                                                             

Available only on the iPad, the new Guided Access capability lets companies restrict users to a specific application and even disable some features of that application.  It also disables the Home button. (To access the rest of the iPad, users need to know the Guided Access PIN set for their device.)  This feature will appeal to both kiosk uses and to retail, surveying, and other venues where the iPad works as an appliance rather than as a portable computer.

  • Wallpapers/Branding:                                                                                                    

iOS 6 can ‘Force’ devices to use specific wallpapers on the home screen and/or lock screen, such as the company logo.  This could be great for companies that are very focused on Branding and reinforcing their identity to employees.

  • Time-limited profiles:

iOS has long supported certificate-based profiles that can restrict the device’s capabilities, as well as preconfigured standard settings, and those profiles could be locked against user change or removal.  Apple iOS 6 now lets IT set expirations for such profiles, so they automatically uninstall at a specified date and time, even if the device is not connected to the Internet. That allows a device to have temporary access to a server or other resource, without IT manually removing the permission later.

  • Improved certificate and profile management:                                                         

iOS 6 extends its support for certificates and profiles with a policy that can block installation of certificates and profiles from other servers. That way, “foreign” certificates and profiles can’t be added to managed devices.

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