Best practice for App store

New Contributor

So we have just implemented Casper Suite and have the app store turned off for all users (teachers and students). We are doing this so that they cannot install apps without our knowledge. The question has come up as to how teachers can search for and possibly test apps before we would push them out or add them to the library. Any feedback on what you do would be appreciated.


New Contributor

In our institution we allow for the teachers to access the app store and install apps. The reason is exactly as you state, you want them to be able to test and browse apps. Without access to the app store/itunes store they are effectively blocked from doing what you would like to do. Now, locking out the store for students is something that most anyone who is using this in an educational environment can agree with. I got tired of having to "clean" iPads because the kids had access to the store and were installing all sorts of apps.
I suppose you could have teachers search apps on a desktop through the app store/itunes and submit requests for you to push an app to them, but it seems like that would just add more work or add to the frustrations of teachers.

So, in summary we found that it was necessary to have a little bit of trust in the teachers to test and explore the numerous apps in the store. Of course this means they could install some apps that we as IT or education admins wouldn't necessarily allow, but we are talking about a small amount of teachers vs. a massive amount of kids. Ultimately, you'll just have to go with what works best for your institution to allow flexibility with solid devices management.

Honored Contributor II
Honored Contributor II

The easiest route would be to allow the specific teaching staff to access the app store. Any other option would be getting overly complicated IMHO :)

Valued Contributor II

Well, I guess I'll be in the minority. We (IT) actually lobbied to make sure that all of our STUDENTS and faculty could install apps from the MAS without IT approval. I agree with your sentiments regarding faculty exploration but we apply that mentality to our student as well. We think of it this way, say you're a student that wants to organize your homework, but you don't like the app that we may have provided for it. Why should we in IT stop users from finding a legal and at least partially vetted and supported App via the App store, specifically to accomplish the goals that our faculty has set forth? Additionally, there are applications that only some of our students need for specific classes and the faculty can feel empowered to have them purchase or otherwise download apps to use when they are ready for that particular teaching module, thus removing the need for IT to manage another VPP license. It also helps ensure that users are all signed in using their own personal AppleIDs (they're all over 13 anyways).

After all, we can block anything that crops up and causes issues or abuse. Our students and faculty members tend to become more effective over time and share that info with us (IT) for future consideration. Our students and faculty also carry on those apps with them beyond their tenure at Brewster Academy in a manner that doesn't require management from IT. Thanks to JAMF we can continue to maintain our user trust, respect and educational openness in what is otherwise a very heavily managed environment BECAUSE we have the option to manage abusers.

Of course there will be occasional issues. Yet, I can sort them out quite easily when and if the need arises. In addition, the number of students that we have trying to 'circumvent' our restrictions or policies and/or download illegal/stolen software is quite minimal.

P.S. Most bad things I'm seeing now are userscript based.

New Contributor III

@Chris_Hafner I'm with you in the minority. I also pushed to allow our students to be able to install apps through the App Store. I'm curious, how are you handling it when a student installs an app from the app store and wants to delete it?

New Contributor

If you are using the volume purchase program, you can point your staff (or anyone) to the volume store website to find apps. They don't need a login to search.


The next step of testing and approval of apps would be assigned to those responsible for the teaching/learning program.

Valued Contributor II

@sapalmerBCS Right now, our help desk is uninstalling applications upon request. However, there are threads here showing how one can allow non-admins to uninstall MAS apps. However, it only seems to come up a few times a year.