How to enroll in Apple Automated Device Enrollment (ADE)

Headshot of Andrea Pepper, SimpleMDM writer and MacAdmin
Andrea Pepper|July 12, 2023
General IT Article background
General IT Article background

The Apple Device Enrollment Program (ADE, formerly DEP) allows organizations to preconfigure the initial setup process on newly purchased and newly erased existing devices. ADE gives organizations the power to place devices in supervised mode, enroll them in an MDM program, and even skip the Apple Pay or Restore from Backup setup panes.

Apple Automated Device Enrollment is a feature of both Apple Business Manager (ABM) and Apple School Manager (ASM) and is typically used in tandem with an MDM. The Device Enrollment component of ABM/ASM allows administrators to automate the enrollment and setup processes of devices, simplifies device deployment, and integrates with MDM solutions, supplying a streamlined way to manage items across entire organizations.

This article explains how to link SimpleMDM to your Apple Business Manager account and how to add and initialize new Apple devices.

Create an Apple Business Manager account

You may apply for an Apple Business Manager account on Apple’s website if you haven't already. Please note that this process can take several business days to complete and requires that your organization has a D-U-N-S number.

To find your D-U-N-S number, visit Dun & Bradstreet online. More helpful information on obtaining a D-U-N-S number for the purposes of the Device Enrollment Program is available from Apple Support. And Apple can walk you through some additional tidbits on how to enroll your organization so you can take full advantage of ADE.

SimpleMDM must link to your Apple Business Manager account to configure devices automatically. To link Apple Business Manager to SimpleMDM, a certificate must be exchanged between the accounts to establish a secure, trusted relationship.

You can accomplish this in a few simple steps:

  1. Sign in to SimpleMDM and click the Devices link on the left-hand side of the screen.

  2. Click the blue Enroll Devices button on the top right side of the screen.

  3. On the Enrollments page, click into the Enrollments tab. Then click the Add Enrollment button on the top right side of the screen.

  4. On the drop-down menu, click Automated Enrollment (DEP).

  5. Follow the on-screen steps to guide you through the certificate exchange process.

Once you have uploaded your Apple server token, SimpleMDM will link to your Apple Business Manager account.

Once this certificate is uploaded, your Apple Business Manager account is successfully linked.


Associate devices

Linking Apple Business Manager to SimpleMDM establishes a communication channel between the two services. The next step is to make SimpleMDM aware of the devices in your Apple Business Manager account.

  1. Assign your devices to the SimpleMDM server within the Apple Business Manager portal. This action grants SimpleMDM the ability to see these devices.


  2. Within SimpleMDM, return to the ADE interface by clicking Devices and then the Enrollments sub-menu option. Select the Apple ADE tab. Click the Sync with Apple button.


This will cause SimpleMDM to communicate with your Apple Business Manager account and become aware of any new devices you have added. Once this step is complete, the devices count in the SimpleMDM ADE interface updates to the correct count. These devices have not been added to SimpleMDM yet, but now SimpleMDM is aware of them in the ADE portal.

Initialize devices

Now that your devices are associated and SimpleMDM is aware of their ADE records, it is time to start them up.

Helpful tip: If you have previously turned these devices on and completed the setup panes, they must be reset. This is because the devices only check in with the ADE service when they have not been set up.

To re-initialize an iOS device, go to Settings > General > Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings. For a macOS device (T2 hardware or newer), go to System Settings > General > Transfer or Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Your device will wipe itself and restart, entering the ADE setup process.

  1. Turn on your device for the first time. The device may ask a few initial setup questions.

  2. Select a wireless network with internet access if the device asks for Wi-Fi information. Internet access is required to complete the ADE process.

  3. Once the device has internet access, the setup process will conform to your created ADE settings.

  4. When the setup process has been completed, the device will appear under Devices in the SimpleMDM interface.

At this point, the device has been fully initialized and enrolled in SimpleMDM.

Congrats! 🎉

MDM & ADE enrollment FAQs

My devices aren’t showing up in SimpleMDM after linking my Apple Business Manager account. What should I do?

ADE enrolls devices in SimpleMDM when they are initially set up. It cannot enroll devices that have already completed the initial setup process. You must reset the device to factory settings to add these devices. Go to Settings > General > Reset on the device and select Erase All Content and Settings.

My device didn’t enter ADE when I turned it on for the first time. What should I do?

If your device started in the initialization process but did not represent your ADE configurations, it could be that SimpleMDM is not aware of the device yet. Complete the steps in the Associate devices section above whenever you purchase new devices.

Can I add my existing devices to Apple Business Manager?

Starting with iOS 11, any existing iOS device can be added to an ABM account. This includes used devices and devices purchased through any retail channel. For devices before iOS 11, only some devices can be added. The minimum requirements for adding existing macOS devices are an Apple Silicon or T2 chip, macOS 12.0.1 or later, and an iPhone on iOS 15+ to run Apple Configurator 2.

Ready to simplify your device management? Harness the power of Apple ADE with SimpleMDM. Take control of your device deployment process today with our 30-day free trial. Click the button below and experience the ease of ADE automation with SimpleMDM now! 

Headshot of Andrea Pepper, SimpleMDM writer and MacAdmin
Andrea Pepper

Andrea Pepper is an Apple SME MacAdmin with a problematic lack of impulse control around a software update prompt. When not poking at machines, Pepper enjoys being a silly goose in sunny Colorado with her two gigantic fluffer pups.

Related articles