Apple has announced that iOS 8 will be released on Wednesday, September 17 as a free update. iOS 8 is supported on all versions of iPad except the original iPad.
iOS 8 has many great features that will be very beneficial for your students and teachers. Here is a very small sampling:
- Set the device name remotely using your MDM server.
- Prevent users from adding their own restrictions or erasing their devices.
- Wirelessly connect iPad to Apple TV without first connecting to the organization’s network. Note: This requires particular models of Apple TV and models of iPad. More info on that soon!
Plan ahead! A few things to note:
- There is no supported way to block an end user from upgrading an eligible iOS device to iOS 8. If you have concerns about your user’s updating, a best practice would be to tell your users ahead of time about the update and then ask them to hold off for a few days until others have had a chance to thoroughly test it with your apps and network.
- Once a device is upgraded to iOS 8, there is no way to downgrade it to iOS 7. Once it is at iOS 8, it is there to stay.
- Once iOS 8 is available to download to the devices, Apple Configurator will insist on upgrading devices it is newly supervising to iOS 8. You won’t have the option to take a device and supervise it while keeping it at iOS 7. If you want all of your devices to be running iOS 7 and you manage them with Configurator you have a short window to get them all prepared. Get that work done before Sept 17.
- Caching Server is your friend. Caching Server is part of the OS X Server App for OS X Mavericks. iOS Updates are cached by Caching Server, so the first person to download iOS 8 on your network will cause Caching Server to cache the update. All subsequent downloads to devices on your network will come from your Caching Server rather than from the Internet. Note that you can run OS X Server on any Mac that can run OS X Mavericks and for a single license, it costs $19.99. That means if you have a spare desktop computer or a Mac mini in your environment that is capable of running OS X Mavericks, you can very quickly set up a Caching Server. More information can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH15443
- Expect a lot of app updates to go along with iOS 8. There are lots of new features in iOS 8 for Developers and many will jump on to the iOS 8 bandwagon right away to take advantage of the new features. Once a user updates to a newer version of an app, there is no way to get an older version. Also note that Caching Server is another crucial tool to help take the load off of your Internet connection during this time as well because app updates are also cached by Caching Server.
- iOS 8 includes a new feature called iCloud Drive. During the upgrade process, it will ask the user if they want to convert their current iCloud document storage to iCloud Drive. Accessing iCloud Drive from a Mac requires OS X Yosemite, which won’t release until later this fall. You can choose to upgrade you iCloud document storage to iCloud Drive at a later time if desired.