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Mar 04, 2016

Mobility News Briefing - March 4

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Upcoming iOS 9.3 MDM Updates...

The story? On Tuesday, iOS developer, Steven Troughton-Smith, tweeted the new mobile device management functionality that iOS 9.3 will provide, linking to Apple's Configuration Profile Reference guide. The iOS update is still in beta mode, so the actual release might include some changes and additional features when it is live. Notable MDM updates include:

  • The ability to lock a homescreen layout -- meaning administrators can choose which apps are featured on the homescreen and the user is unable to move their position or put them into folders.
  • The ability to whitelist or blacklist specific mobile apps -- allowing administrators to control a list of apps that are permitted on the device and a list of apps that are not permitted on the device.
  • The ability to control notification settings -- enabling administrators to set and lock notification settings for the user.

Increasing administrator control over user control is the purpose of all these updates, which has always been the focus with MDM. Apple becoming transparent with users, notifying them when iPhone is being tracked. Another upcoming change coincides with the ongoing Apple FBI iPhone backdoor case. Benjamin Mayo of 9to5 Mac, explains that "Apple is taking a big step in iOS 9.3 (currently on beta 5) towards transparency when an iOS device is being managed by an institution or enterprise through MDM". Upfront on the Lock screen users see a notification that "This iPhone is being managed by your organization", along with another notification on the About Settings page, saying "This iPhone is supervised", listing internet traffic, location and other settings that are being tracked by the MDM administrator. Does this mean more privacy for the user? Not necessarily because MDM administrators decide what information to track on the users device, that is out of the control of the user. But, they will be more aware of when their device is being tracked and what information if being stored on them as Apple makes these device management capabilities more transparent to the user. As a result, users will likely swap back and forth to their personal devices more often as they are reminded that their corporate-issued device is being "supervised".

Olivia Holmes

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