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Comprehensive Guide to Apple Supervised Mode for Organizations
  • Explained
  • 4 minutes read
  • Modified: 9th May 2024

    April 8, 2024

Comprehensive Guide to Apple Supervised Mode for Organizations

Trio Team

Apple’s device management solutions have been a boon to IT administrators and organizations globally. A key feature that has significantly contributed to this success is the Apple Supervised Mode. This mode provides increased control over iOS devices like iPads and iPhones, empowering IT administrators to effectively supervise, configure, and manage these devices.

To understand how Apple Supervised Mode can benefit your organization and how you can enable and manage this feature, let’s delve into its details.


Understanding Apple Supervised Mode

Apple Supervised Mode is a special mode designed for Apple devices owned by organizations. It grants administrators more control over the device’s settings, configurations, and features. Supervised Mode was first introduced in iOS 5 and has since been expanded to iPadOS, tvOS, and macOS Catalina.

It’s important to note that Supervised Mode is intended solely for devices owned by organizations, not personal devices. This mode allows IT administrators to access a broader range of management capabilities via Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools, a key aspect of which we will explore later in this article.


iOS Supervised Mode vs. Unsupervised Mode

Supervised Mode and Unsupervised Mode are the two primary modes of operation for iOS devices. The fundamental difference between these modes lies in the level of control they provide to administrators. Unsupervised devices offer basic management capabilities, such as pushing Wi-Fi settings or email account settings, and remotely wiping them if lost or stolen. In contrast, Supervised devices provide a more granular level of control. Besides the capabilities offered in Unsupervised Mode, Supervised Mode allows administrators to restrict device features, configure advanced settings, and limit the device to running only certain apps, among other things. When considering mac vs PC cost comparison, it’s essential to weigh these management capabilities against the overall cost of ownership.

Illustration displaying the features of iOS Supervised Mode vs. Unsupervised Mode


Apple Supervised Mode Features

Apple Supervised Mode offers a host of features that can be leveraged to manage and control devices more effectively. Some of the key features include:

Single App Mode: This feature allows administrators to lock the device into a specific application. Single App Mode can be particularly useful in situations where the device is intended for a single purpose, such as digital signage or point-of-sale systems.

App Whitelisting/Blacklisting: Supervision allows administrators to control which apps can be installed on the device. This includes the ability to whitelist or blacklist specific applications.

Web Content Filter: This feature enables administrators to control the websites a user can access from the device, providing an essential layer of protection against potentially harmful content.

Global Proxy Setup: With Supervised Mode, administrators can set up a global proxy on the device, directing all its network traffic through a specific path.

Device Name and Wallpaper Customization: This feature allows administrators to change the device’s name and wallpaper, which can be useful for branding or identification purposes.

Silent App Installation: Supervised Mode enables administrators to silently install and remove apps from the device without requiring user intervention.

Disable Features: Administrators can disable specific device features like AirDrop, iMessage, and iCloud sync, providing additional control over the device’s usage.

Remote Actions: Supervised Mode allows administrators to initiate remote actions on the device, such as locking the device, clearing the passcode, or wiping the device clean.


IT administrator enabling Apple Supervised Mode features on corporate iOS devices


Enabling Apple Supervised Mode

To turn on iPad Supervised Mode or basically the Supervised Mode on any iOS device, organizations have two options:

  • Automated Device Enrollment
  • Manual Supervision using Apple Configurator


Automated Device Enrollment

This method involves using Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager to enroll devices into Supervised Mode. This process is automatic and happens during the device’s initial setup.


Apple Configurator Supervised Mode

If devices aren’t in Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager, organizations can use the Apple Configurator for Mac to manually supervise their iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS devices. However, this method requires physically connecting the device to a Mac and would reset the device during the process.


Leveraging MDM for Device Supervision

While Supervised Mode provides a comprehensive range of controls for managing Apple devices, it becomes even more powerful when used in conjunction with a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. MDM solutions can simplify the process of managing multiple devices, applying policies, and tracking device usage.

One such MDM solution that perfectly complements Apple’s Supervised Mode is the Trio MDM solution. Trio MDM offers a range of features, including app management, device tracking, policy enforcement, and much more. By integrating Trio MDM with Apple Supervised Mode, IT administrators can gain an unprecedented level of control over their organization’s devices.

To witness firsthand the positive impact such a system can have on your operation, we invite you to try out Trio’s free demo and see how you can make a difference in IT automation at your organization.


Final Words on Apple Supervised Mode

In an era where organizations increasingly rely on mobile devices to carry out their operations, managing these devices effectively is crucial. Apple Supervised Mode, especially when used in tandem with an MDM solution, provides organizations with the tools they need to ensure their devices are used appropriately and securely. Whether you’re an IT administrator looking to better control your organization’s devices or a company looking to improve your device management practices, Apple Supervised Mode is an invaluable tool to consider.

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