Traditionally, the process to add devices to Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager required the devices to be purchased through a formal business or education account with Apple or an Apple-certified reseller. Once the purchase was made, the buyer could enter the order number into the Apple Business Manager to automatically add those devices to their ABM account. Starting with iOS 11+, Apple allows any iOS device to be provisionally added to Apple Business Manager by plugging the device into a Mac and using Apple Configurator. This enables companies that purchased devices through other channels, such as a traditional retail environment (Best Buy, Amazon, other third-party resellers, etc.) to add their devices to Apple Business Manager and take advantage of Automated Enrollment.
Using the Apple Configurator app for iPhone, Apple supports the same capability for Macs with a T2 or M1 chip running macOS 12.0.1 or later. In this article, we will demonstrate how to use the Apple Configurator app on an iPhone to add a macOS device to Apple Business Manager manually.
Note: While this article specifically mentions Apple Business Manager, the same instructions are valid for Apple School Manager.
A Mac with an Apple Silicon or T2 chip and macOS 12.0.1 or later. This is the device to which you’ll add Apple Business Manager.
Make sure that you have connected an MDM server from Apple Business Manager to SimpleMDM. If you have not already done this, see our Knowledge Base for instructions.
An iPhone running iOS 15+ with the Apple Configurator 2 app installed.
Adding a Mac to Apple Business Manager with Apple Configurator
Open the Apple Configurator app on your iPhone and accept the terms. Then, sign in to the app with a Managed Apple ID from your Apple Business Manager account if you have not already. You may be prompted to sign in with two-factor authentication.
Have the Mac you want to add in front of you and plugged into a power source.
If the Mac has already gone through the Setup Assistant process previously, you need to erase it before moving on to the next step. See Apple’s documentation for instructions on how to erase a Mac.
If the Mac is brand new and has not been set up before, move on to the next step.
Start the Setup Assistant steps, and make sure your Mac is connected to the internet during the process. You first need to select the language. If you continue past the Country or Region setup pane, you will need to restart your Mac.
Hold your iPhone with Apple Configurator open close to the Mac. You should see a screen that says “Assign this Mac to your Organization”.
From this screen, you have two options:
Use the iPhone camera (with the Apple Configurator app open) to scan the image on the screen.
Select “Pair Manually” on the iPhone and click “Pair Manually” on your Mac. You will be shown a 6-digit code and be prompted to enter it.
You should see a notice on the screen saying the pairing was successful.
Note: If you have not already signed in with your Managed Apple ID from Apple Business Manager in Apple Configurator on iOS, it will prompt you to do so. Make sure to complete this step if you are prompted.
You should now see a screen saying “This Mac has been assigned to [your organization name].” This means the device has been successfully added to your Apple Business Manager account. However, at this point, the device has not yet been enrolled in MDM. On the Mac’s screen, you will see the options to Restart or Shutdown. Don’t take any action just yet.
Enroll the Mac in SimpleMDM using Automated Device Enrollment
Log in to your Apple Business Manager account.
Go to the Devices section in Apple Business Manager and search for the serial number of the device.
Click the device. You will see that it is assigned to the “Devices Added by Apple Configurator 2” MDM Server. Click “Edit MDM Server.”
Select “Assign to the following MDM,” select the name of the MDM server that is connected to your SimpleMDM account, then click “Continue” and confirm the assignment.
Log in to your SimpleMDM account, go to the Automated Enrollment page that corresponds with the MDM server in Apple Business Manager, and click “Sync with Apple” on this page. Then, refresh the page and confirm the device’s serial number is showing in the “DEP Devices” list.
On your Mac, click “Restart” and wait for macOS to reboot.
Note: If you restarted your Mac and started the Setup Assistant process before successfully assigning and syncing the device with a server connected to SimpleMDM, you may need to finish Setup Assistant and then erase your Mac again.
After restarting, follow the prompts to select your country or region, configure accessibility settings, connect to Wi-Fi, and continue through any other the setup panes.
During the setup screens, you should see a “Remote Management” screen appear that shows your organization name. This means that the device has successfully checked in with the server and will proceed with the Automated Enrollment process. Click “Continue” and complete the remaining setup steps.
Once you have finished Setup Assistant, your device should now be enrolled in MDM. You can confirm the enrollment by opening System Preferences > Profiles and verifying that the MDM profile exists.
SimpleMDM supports many options to help customize and automate the Setup Assistant experience, including the ability to automatically skip setup panes, set a custom welcome screen for your users, enforce SAML authentication or LDAP authentication to automate the macOS user account setup process using credentials from your identity provider, and more. See our Knowledge Base documentation for more information on these topics.
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.