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Posted 11.11.19

Jamf Parent App

We have been big advocates of the Mobile Device Management Solution, ZuluDesk for a long time. It’s our go to MDM for education and something that I use day in and out during my job in supporting and deploying Apple devices into Schools.

As a Jamf MSP partner I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that Jamf had acquired ZuluDesk at the start of the year. There was now a possibility of all of the pedigree of Jamf and the standout features of ZuluDesk in one product.

It’s been 6 months or so since this acquisition and with a recent update to Jamf Pro, the parent feature is now also available on the Jamf platform. It’s just as I hoped and I was super excited to find this out.

What is Jamf Parent?

Jamf Parent is a simple and streamlined app that enables parents to manage their child’s device out of school hours. This kind of management is particular handy when a school runs a 1:1 iPad scheme and the iPads go home with the child.

In these situations iPads are often already enrolled into the schools MDM solution so there’s very little extra the IT dept need to do.

Within the app you can restrict things such as iMessage and FaceTime or app categories like Social Media and Games, so that the child only has access to educational apps while they are doing homework, for example.

These are tasks that schools carry out during the school day but usually aren’t available to the parents when its time to go home which is what makes Jamf Parent great.

Configuring Jamf Parent

The configuration of Jamf Parent is really simple and a much welcome improvement on the configuration of the Parent App in its ZuluDesk for.

You simply create a smart group within Jamf Pro to include all of the iPads that you want to have the parent features available too and then turn on the parent feature in the settings of Jamf Pro.

Within the Jamf Parent pane in Jamf Pro you are able to turn on the parent features, select the smart group containing the device and select the times the parents can ‘control’ their child’s iPad (you don’t want them turning things on and off during the school day!)

With ZuluDesk Parent the next task as an Admin would be to collect parents details including an email address and link up that parent with their child using a CSV file. The improvement with Jamf Parent is that this link is done directly between the parent and child using a QR code.

On the child device simple open up the Jamf Self Service App (that has been configured by the school as part of the iPad deployment) and select the parent icon in the top right corner to show a QR code. This icon appears after that iPad is in scope to the smart group that has been assigned to Jamf Parent in Jamf Pro. The parent simply downloads the Jamf Parent app from the App Store on another device and scans the code.

The devices are then linked! You can link the device to more than 1 Parent App (for Mum and Dad) and you can link your parent app to multiple child should you need.

Is The App Easy To Use?

Really easy. Once you have linked a child’s iPad to the parent app you are presented with that child’s name. Simple click on the child’s name and you are ready to manage the device.

There are just two tabs, Device and Restrictions. The Device tab shows the the name of the iPad, the iOS version, Serial Number and battery and storage usage.

The Restrictions tab is where you can start to manage the device and there are just three sections to this tab. You first get presented with an ‘Allowed App Categories’ that include Music, shopping and Social Media. To restrict a category click the switch next to it turning it from green (on) to white (off).

The next section  allows you to restrict device functionality, which are things that are built into the iOS such as News, Game Centre and iMessage. Much like the categories section a simple switch to toggle the switch on and off is used.

Once the feature is turned off it will stay off until it is allowed again within the app.

The final section, and I think the most powerful, is the ‘App Lock’. Within the App Lock section you get to choice of a list of Apps that the child iPad has installed (yes all apps that might have downloaded from the App Store or sent via Jamf Pro by the School). Selecting the App makes it available for use, all other apps are hidden and cannot be opened. After the apps are selected the parent then selects the amount of time this lock is enabled. After this time all apps are available again.

This is great if you want to set your child on a homework task for just hour before they can can back to Fortnight.

In Summary

We have multiple school running ZuluDesk MDM for 1:1 deployments of over 1000 iPads and one of the reasons that these have been successful is down to the Parent App. It’s great to see this feature in Jamf Pro and will make many more 1:1 deployments a success.

There are still some features within ZuluDesk that I’d like to see make its way to the Jamf Pro version too but there’s also been many improvements so I’m happy to take the rough with the smooth for this first iteration of the app.

I’m excited to see what Jamf can bring to this app and hopefully the ZuluDesk teacher app getting a Jamf Pro debut too.

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