Add existing Apple Devices to your DEP account

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SimpleMDM|July 12, 2016
General IT Article background
General IT Article background

Note: The Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) is now commonly referred to as “Apple Automated Device Enrollment Program (ADE)” and exists as part of Apple Business Manager. While some information regarding DEP in this article is still relevant, we suggest that you read the aforementioned linked articles above to learn more.

Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP) allows businesses to enroll new iOS and macOS devices with an Apple iOS MDM automatically when they are turned on for the first time. This is a tremendous time-saver for organizations as they can ship devices directly to their final destination, without requiring IT staff set up beforehand.

DEP has traditionally been reserved for new device purchases. Despite this, there are methods for adding devices to a DEP account at a later time, after the purchase has occurred. This article outlines them,

All devices with iOS 11 and later are eligible for DEP enrollment

Starting with iOS 11, all devices, no matter how they have been purchased, may be added to a DEP program using Apple Configurator 2.5 or later.

Some devices before iOS 11 are eligible for DEP enrollment

Whether an existing device is eligible for DEP enrollment or not depends upon how it was originally purchased. In the eyes of Apple, devices can be purchased one of two ways:

  • As a consumer purchase

  • Through an Apple business account

As a hard rule, only devices purchased through an Apple business account can be added to a DEP account. If, for instance, you walk into an Apple Store and buy an iPad, Apple cannot add that iPad to your DEP account. If you purchased the iPad through an Apple business account, Apple can add your device to your DEP account.

Additionally, devices must have been purchased after March 1, 2011. Devices purchased before this date cannot be added to DEP.

What about devices not purchased directly from Apple?

The answer gets a little trickier. As mentioned above, devices not purchased through an Apple business account aren’t eligible. The good news is that many equipment vendors purchase devices through their Apple business account, meaning that those devices are potentially eligible. Examples may be:

  • Cellular carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile

  • 3rd party retailers, such as CDW, Ingram Micro, and Newegg

  • Used equipment resellers, in the event the original purchaser used an Apple business account

In general, if a device was purchased directly from an Apple Store or the Apple website without a business account, you’re out of luck. If it was purchased otherwise, you may still be able to add your device to DEP.

How to add existing devices To DEP

With the release of Apple Business Manager, it is now possible for customers to associate Apple customer and Apple reseller numbers to a DEP account. Previously, customers were required to contact Apple to have this action performed for them.

If you do not have this information available, we recommend getting in touch with your local Apple Store. They will need information about the supplier that you obtained your devices through.


I’m receiving “INVALID_INPUT” when I assign devices to an MDM server within Apple Business Manager. Why?

You may receive an INVALID_INPUT error from Apple Business Manager when attempting to assign devices to an MDM Server object. This error typically means that one or all of the device serial numbers provided do not exist in your Apple Business Manager account and so they cannot be assigned to the server.

There are a few reasons that a serial number may not exist in your account:

  1. The device was just purchased. It can take a few hours for the serial number to appear.

  2. Apple or your Apple reseller have yet to register the order with your Apple Business Manager account. You will need to contact them and request that they do so.

  3. The device was purchased through an ineligible channel. You may be able to add it to your Apple Business Manager account manually. See above.

If you continue to see the INVALID_INPUT error after verifying that your equipment order has been registered with your Apple Business Manager account, we suggest contacting Apple for further troubleshooting.

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SimpleMDM is a mobile device management solution that helps IT teams securely update, monitor, and license Apple devices in a matter of minutes — all while staying on top of Apple updates automatically.

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