Deep Dive into Apple Business Manager

A while ago, I upgraded my Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) to Apple Business Manager (ABM). You can find the steps I took via my post here.

In this post, I will go into the relevant sections of the portal and see if and how the process for managing supervised devices and purchased apps might have changed under Apple Business Manager. In most case, you may come across the tasks below within ABM:

  • Create and manage admin account
  • Manage roles assigned to the admin account
  • Manage supervised devices (DEP)
  • Purchase apps and books (VPP)
  • Update domain

As soon as you sign into the portal, you will be taken to Accounts under People section. As such, we will start with account management first. Here, you can take different actions on all the accounts at once or an individual account.


If bulk accounts are selected (always the first one on top), here’s a list of actions you can take. Be extremely careful as any action you take goes against all the accounts within your organization.


If you click on an individual account, you will see different actions you can take such as adding or removing role(s).


Further down of the page you will see the button to Deactivate Account as well.


In the People section, right beneath Accounts is Roles. You can only view but not modify the existing permissions assigned to each role.



Under the Devices section, you will see the familiar subsections such as MDM Servers from the previous DEP portal. Here, you can review/edit/delete your existing MDM server or add a new MDM server. If you have more than one MDM servers, you can also set a particular one as the default server for specific device type (i.e. iPad, iPhone, etc.)


Under Device Assignments, you can still assign a DEP device by serial number, order number, or upload CSV file. The Search Devices on top helps check to see if a device is in DEP and if it has been assigned to any MDM server.


One of the main reasons an organization may consider migrating from Apple DEP/VPP to Apple Business Manager is that you can now access both portals within the same site. Apple has also announced that the legacy VPP portal will no longer be accessible later this year.

For VPP related tasks, they are in the Content section followed by Apps and Books. By default, you will see a list of purchased apps currently assigned to your MDM server(s). Click on an app from the list that will give you the option to either purchase additional licenses and/or transfer existing licenses from one location to another.


Last but not least, you will be able to configure various options that affect your entire organization in the Settings section. For instance, you can download the token to sync the VPP app with your MDM solution such as VMware Workspace ONE.


Under Managed Apple IDs, this is where you set the domain so that you only need to enter the username without specifying the domain each time you create a new account to access Apple Business Manager.


You may also update your Apple Customer Number as well as DEP Reseller IDs in Device Purchases.


Apple Business Manager makes managing supervised devices and purchased apps so much more efficiently than ever. While as of this writing there is no plan when the Apple DEP and VPP portals will retire, just not having to switch between two different portals is enough to convince me to migrate to Apple Business Manager. I hope you would agree as well.

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