Explained: The Apple Device Enrollment Program (Apple DEP)

Last updated May 2, 2022

What is Apple DEP?

Apple developed the Device Enrollment Program to help businesses and educational institutions easily deploy iOS and macOS devices. Even when utilizing mobile device management, the workflow to configure newly purchased iOS and macOS devices was complicated. DEP reduces the number of required steps for a newly purchased device to be ready for use.

Note: The Apple Device Enrollment Program is now commonly referred to as “Automated Enrollment” and exists as part of Apple Business Manager. While the information in this article is still relevant, we suggest that you also read the following article to understand how Apple DEP now fits in the larger context of Apple Business Manager.

Should I Use DEP?

Having even one of these requirements makes DEP worth utilizing:

  • Enroll devices with a mobile device manager
  • Place devices in Supervised mode (learn more about device supervision)
  • Restrict devices from un-enrolling from SimpleMDM
  • Hide particular screens during the initial device setup process
  • Provision macOS devices without imaging

IT benefits greatly from the number of reduced ‘touches’ that need to be performed on each device.

DEP is a great option for non-technical employees, as well. As soon as they unbox their device and turn it on, it’s ready to go after a few screens. There’s no waiting for IT to configure the device, and there’s less confusion during the setup process. An employee is able to use their device immediately.

How Does DEP Work?

A DEP account must be created with Apple. This account is generally created during the hardware purchase process but can be created separately as well. Once the account is created, devices are associated with the account by serial number.

When you pair SimpleMDM with a DEP account, SimpleMDM allows you to specify how your devices will be configured. These configurations, when saved, will be pushed to your DEP account on Apple servers.

Then, when a registered DEP device is turned on for the first time, it contacts the Apple DEP servers and checks for a configuration. It sees the SimpleMDM configuration that you created and applies it to the device.

What Devices are Eligible for DEP?

If devices are purchased through a designated business channel, such as the Apple Business Team or third party business resellers (like CDW or Verizon), the devices can be added to your DEP account at the time of purchase by your account manager.

Starting with iOS 11, previously purchased iOS devices (macOS are not eligible currently) can also be added to DEP using Apple Configurator 2.5 software. Devices will enter a 30-day trial period where the device is part of the DEP account, but can be removed at any time. Once the 30 days has expired, the device will permanently belong to the DEP account. See our walkthrough for more information.

If you have existing devices running an earlier version of iOS, Apple may be able to add them to your DEP account after the time of purchase. To prove ownership, the devices need to have been purchased through a business channel. Our article Add Existing Apple Devices to Your DEP Account goes into further depth.

What can I do with DEP?

Configuring DEP within SimpleMDM allows for a number of options, such as:

  • Force the device to enroll with SimpleMDM
  • Select which SimpleMDM group devices should initially join
  • Disable user’s ability to un-enroll from SimpleMDM manually
  • Place device in supervised mode
  • Restrict device from pairing with macOS computers
  • Disable sending diagnostics information to Apple
  • Display personalized contact information for support
  • Automatically create an administrator account (macOS only)

Additionally, there are a number of setup steps that can be disabled or modified.

Specifically, you can opt to skip screens such as:

  • Passcode setup
  • Location services
  • Restoring from backup
  • Signing in to Apple ID and iCloud
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Touch ID setup
  • Apple Pay setup
  • Zoom setup
  • Registration screen (macOS only)

Or you can modify screens in order to:

  • Remove “Move from Android” from restore options
  • Disable FileVault setup assistant (macOS only)

How Do I Get Started With Apple DEP in SimpleMDM?

  1. Purchase Apple iOS and macOS devices. Enroll with Apple DEP.
  2. Upload DEP account token to SimpleMDM.
  3. Select configuration options within SimpleMDM
  4. That’s it. Your devices will receive their configuration as soon as you power them up for the first time.

We hope that this guide has been helpful. Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you may have. We’ll be sure to answer them.

Comments (10)

Hi Aurelio – Our understanding is that Migration Assistant is not available in the Setup Assistant screens during Automated Enrollment (formerly Apple DEP).

Can we also supervise the BYOD devices over the air. We really need this solution. Can it be possible anyhow? Please suggest

Hi Punit- Supervision is intended for corporate-owned devices because it grants the MDM administrator a high level of control over the device. As a result, Apple has made it difficult for a company to supervise a BYOD device, since BYOD devices by definition are personally-owned hardware. We suggest looking into User Enrollment as an over-the-air enrollment strategy for BYOD devices. If you are needing additional control, your best bet for over-the-air supervised enrollment is using Apple’s Automated Enrollment (DEP) on company-owned hardware.

What steps to be taken care of reassigning an apple device from one DEP Customer ID to other DEP customer ID.

Our Dod military just purchased several new iphones and they have not been added into our Apple Business Manager. The reseller id for us is “Verizon Wireless (19DA1870)”. Need to contact them to get all of our newly purchased devices into our ABM.

Hi Von- Yes, you will need to contact your Verizon business manager. They will be able to add the iPhone serial numbers to your Apple Business Manager account.

Two Question:
1. We bought in our company several iPads to local Apple reseller, but those weren´t added to DEP, is there a way to add them once they are in use ?
2. we have different reseller in each country and city, for each one we are going to need a separate DEP ?

Thank you in advanced

Hi Joel-

Typically, devices purchased through retail (non-business) channels cannot be added to Apple DEP (Apple Business Manager) by the reseller. We suggest contacting the reseller regardless to see if they have the ability to do this for you.

If that is not possible, the only other option is to add the devices using provisional enrollment. This requires wiping the iPad, which doesn’t sound like it is currently an option to you.

To answer your second question, you should not need a separate ABM/DEP account per reseller, to the best of our knowledge. We are not sure about this when it comes to different countries. We suggest contacting Apple for specific details about their program.

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