Oct 26, 2014

iPad Restrictions for Students

When setting up a cart of iPads for use in an educational setting, there are numerous variables that need to be considered prior to enabling restrictions.  I’m sure there are numerous philosophies out there about which restrictions to configure, but one thing I think most people would agree on is that restrictions must be enabled regardless of the users.  

Some of the more prominent variables to consider are:
  • Age of users
  • Type of use - 1:1 (each student uses their own Apple ID) or 1:Many (a group of iPads all use the same Apple ID)
  • How apps are purchased - individual gift cards or through Volume Purchasing Program (VPP)
  • How apps are installed - students allowed to install themselves, an Apple ID manager installs on all shared Apple ID devices, or apps are pushed out through a software console
  • Who is responsible for installing apps - Students, teacher, console administrator

Nearly all of those variables deserve a great deal of attention and discussion prior to launching a cart of devices.  One of the most important is type of use.  In a 1:1 model the students are tied directly to their iPad and maintain their own Apple ID.  You can allow students to install their own apps or you can use the Apple Configurator or other third party software to push apps out to end users.  In a 1:Many or Shared use model a group of iPads all share the same Apple ID.  If you enable automatic downloads of apps, one person can be in charge of installing apps and all other devices can be restricted from installing. In order for this to work, however, you need to make sure the restricted devices are powered on when the unrestricted device installs the app. This works well in an elementary setting where the teacher installs an app on their device and it automatically installs on the student devices.  You can also allow students or teachers to install and maintain their apps on each individual device in this model as well.

Below is a list of recommended restrictions settings based on my experience.  It is not necessarily comprehensive, but rather the elements that are a high priority.  All other settings, as of iOS 8.1, can be left as default unless otherwise desired.  Again, there are many variables that factor into the configuration of iPads in an educational setting and you must consider all of them before deciding on how to restrict the devices.  In some regard it will be a learning experience as you find some situations are hampered by your settings and thus must be tweaked.  No matter what settings you decide upon, I think it is important to continually revisit these settings after students have used the devices.

iPad Restrictions Settings (recommended for student use)

  • Allow
    • Safari (Enable)
    • Camera (Enable)
    • FaceTime (Disable)
    • iTunes Store (Enable)
    • iBooks Store (Enable)
    • Podcasts (Disable)
    • Installing Apps (Enable - if you want students to install their own apps) (Disable - if you want teacher to install under Shared Apple ID or pushed from admin console under 1:1 model)
    • Deleting Apps (Enable)
    • In-App Purchases (Disable)
  • Allowed Content
    • Ratings for - United States
    • Music & Podcasts - Clean
    • Movies - based on age-level of end users
    • TV Shows - based on age-level of end users
    • Books - Restricted
    • Apps - based on age-level of end users
    • Websites - Restricted
    • Require Password - Immediately
  • Privacy
    • Location Services
      • Don’t Allow Changes
      • Location Services (Enable)
      • Share My Location (Disable)
      • System Services
        • Find My iPad (Enable)
        • Location-Based iAds (Disable)
        • Share My Location (Disable)
    • Share My Location
      • Don’t Allow Changes
    • Advertising
      • Don’t Allow Changes
  • Allow Changes
    • Accounts
      • Don’t Allow Changes
    • Background App Refresh
      • Allow Changes
    • Volume Limit
      • Allow Changes
  • Game Center
    • Multiplayer Games (Disable)
    • Adding Friends (Disable)