Last updated May 2, 2022
The Apple Device Enrollment Program, often referred to as “DEP” allows organizations to preconfigure the initial setup process on newly purchased devices, and starting with iOS 11, with already purchased devices as well. Organizations can, for instance, place devices in supervised mode, enroll them in an MDM program, and skip Apple Pay or “Restore from Backup” setup panes. For more information on what DEP is, read our article Explained: The Apple Device Enrollment Program.
DEP is almost always used in tandem with an MDM. This article explains how to link SimpleMDM to your Apple DEP account and how to add and initialize new iOS devices.
If you haven’t already, you may apply for a free Apple DEP account on Apple’s website. Please note that this process can take a matter of days to complete and generally requires that your organization has a D-U-N-S number. In short, you will need to follow this link to visit Dun & Bradstreet on the web. More helpful information on obtaining a D-U-N-S number for the purposes of the Device Enrollment Program is available from Apple Support.
SimpleMDM needs to link to your DEP account so that it can configure devices to use the SimpleMDM service. To link Apple DEP to SimpleMDM, a certificate must be exchanged between the accounts to establish a secure, trusted relationship.
Once this certificate is uploaded, your DEP account is successfully linked.
Linking Apple DEP to SimpleMDM establishes a channel of communication between the two services. The next step is to make SimpleMDM aware of the devices in your DEP account.
This will cause SimpleMDM to communicate with your Apple DEP account and become aware of any new devices you’ve added. Once this step completes, you should see the devices count in the SimpleMDM DEP interface increment to the correct count. These devices haven’t been added to SimpleMDM yet, but now SimpleMDM is aware of them in the DEP Portal.
Now that your devices are associated and SimpleMDM is aware of their DEP records, it’s time to start them up.
Helpful tip: If you’ve previously turned these devices on and completed the series of setup panes, they will need to be reset. This is because the devices only check in with the DEP service when they have not yet been set up. To re-initialize a device, on the device, go to Settings, General, Reset, and select “Erase all content and settings”. Your device will wipe itself and then restart, entering the DEP setup process.
At this point, the device has been fully initialized and enrolled in SimpleMDM. Congrats!
DEP enrolls devices in SimpleMDM when they are initially set up. It does not have the ability to enroll devices that have already been initialized. To add these devices you will need to reset the device to an initial factory state. On the device, go to Settings, General, Reset, and select “Erase all content and settings”.
If your device started in the initialization process but did not seem to represent your DEP configurations, it could be that SimpleMDM is not aware of the device yet. Be sure to complete the steps in the Associate Devices section whenever you’ve purchased new devices.
Starting with iOS 11, any existing iOS device can be added to a DEP account. We provide a walkthrough of this process. This includes used devices and devices purchased through any retail channel. For devices before iOS 11, only some devices can be added. Please read our in-depth article which details when this is possible: Add Existing Apple Devices to Your DEP Account