Thursday, June 7, 2012

Get "whitelisted" for large iPad deployments

So here's an issue that almost completely threw off our ability to deploy our district's iPads to all high school teachers. We were blacklisted! Twice!! Basically, there were two issues that were causing issues creating Apple IDs for our teachers. 

First off, when you create a new Apple ID, you have to verify the account through an email. No big deal, right. Well it was for us. Apparently, after working flawlessly all year long, the email system decided that emails from Apple should be considered spam. So instead of popping straight into the teacher's inbox, it was being sent to quarantine. That fix was easy. We just had to give the email address to our network administrators to add to the email whitelist. Voila! Works great.

The second issue was bigger and a bit frightening. Our teachers were going to create large numbers of Apple IDs. The training format we were using was sound....until now. During our "getting started" training, we were helping teachers create their own Apple IDs. Again, no big deal. Until about two weeks ago when we were helping a group of elementary teachers. The first ten teachers had no problem getting the Apple IDs created (except at that time, they couldn't get the verification email). But everyone after that point kept getting the message "see iTunes support to complete setup". That's something we've never seen before. After a bit of thinking, we thought we knew the issue.

If you have been on the internet recently, then you'll probably recognize the really annoying "enter the text you see below" feature that most sites use when you create an account. It's usually the hardest part of creating accounts. This feature is designed to make sure that humans are creating the account and not some automated computer program designed for fraudulent purposes. Well, it seems that Apple was stopping us from creating multiple Apple IDs from our district's IP address. It thought we were being bad. So we had to do something to get this fixed because we had 500 iPads on the way for 500 teachers.

There's nothing worse than trying to call iTunes for support. I know. It was not something I was looking forward to. If you've never called before, make sure you use the restroom first and put the Route 44 drink out of reach. Now here's another great benefit from reading this far down. Here is Apple's secret phone number for education support. There are real people there!!!

1 (800) 800-2775

After minimal run-around, I was able to explain the predicament and was forwarded up the food chain. Eventually, I was routed to an engineer who helped me start out the whitelisting process. First they wanted to make sure that we were legit. Then they wanted some specifics about the quantity of iPads, Apple IDs, and timeframe. Once approved, Apple usually allows a 30 day window to let you create a large number of Apple IDs from either one email domain or public IP address. After just a few emails, we were approved!

Hopefully, we are good to go with our mass deployment starting next week. If you are planning a similar deployment, then plan ahead! We ended up getting lucky because we had some smaller trainings scheduled first. As the saying goes, I'd rather be lucky than good!

1 comment:

  1. We've had a similar problem to this when we got a large number of students to all sign up for Twitter accounts in the past. Understand why the policy is in place, but it was a pain not knowing about it in advance.

    Would be really helpful if Apple/the reseller could warn schools about these potential pitfalls before we roll out in large numbers.