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Application Guide Part III: Add iOS/iPadOS Application

Overview

In general, Silverback allows you to distribute 3 different types (App Store, Enterprise and VPP) of applications for iPhones, iPads and also iPods. Each of these applications can be provided with a specific app configuration and you can set options for the distribution or installation of the applications. Enterprise applications require an additional plist file, which should normally be provided by the application vendor or developer. Alternatively, a sample file is included in this guide. For more information on application configuration, please refer to the Application Configuration Guide. Please note that due to the logical separation of iPhone, iPad and iPod devices in Silverback, you can configure your applications for each device type separately and the process is the same for all.

Add App Store Application

To add an App Store Application perform the following steps: 

  • Open your Silverback Management Console (e.g https://silverback.imagoverum.com/admin)
  • Login as an Administrator
  • Navigate to App Portal
  • Select iPhone, iPad or iPod
  • Click New Application
  • Select the Country in where you want to find the application
  • Navigate to Name and start typing the name of the application (a search is starting)
  • Select the desired application
  • All required application information fields will be imported automatically
  • Modify your App Config and App Management options (optional)
  • Click Save
  • Press Edit to review the App Information

Add Enterprise App

To add an Enterprise Application perform the following steps:

  • Open your Silverback Management Console (e.g https://silverback.imagoverum.com/admin)
  • Login as an Administrator
  • Navigate to App Portal
  • Select iPhone, iPad or iPod
  • Press New Application
  • Switch Type to Enterprise
  • Enter a Name
  • Enter a Description
  • Upload your *.ipa file
  • Upload your *.plist file
  • Upload your icon (optional)
  • Modify your App Config and App Management options (optional)
  • Click Save
  • Press Edit to review the App Information

Add VPP App

Applications purchased through the Volume Purchase Program are automatically added and displayed in the App Portal after syncing. All necessary information such as name, URL, version, icon, etc. is automatically imported through the Volume Purchase Program. By editing VPP Applications, you can modify the App Management, App Config and the VPP Operation Mode. Please refer to Configure Import Settings to define the default App Management options.

App Information

In general, the following application information are available:

Information  App Store Enterprise  Description
Country e.g. United States not available Defines which regional App Store should be used to search for a specific App Store application.
Name e.g. Microsoft Teams e.g. Imagoverum Travel The display name of the application being added.
Bundle ID e.g. com.microsoft.skype.teams not available Displays the unique bundle identifier of the application.
Version e.g. 45 e.g. 45 Displays the current version of the application. For enterprise applications, this information is visible after adding the application.
URL e.g. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-teams/id1113153706?uo=4 not available Displays the URL of the application in the App Store.
Description e.g. Whether you’re connecting with your community for an upcoming activity or working with teammates on a project, Microsoft Teams helps bring people together so that they can get things done e.g. Imagoverum Travel will provide you information about your upcoming travels and helps to you create your travel expense.   The description of the application to display. The description will be shown in the App Portal in Silverback and on the users App Portal on the device. 

The App Description returned may be longer than the Silverback Maximum (500 Characters). Please be sure to make any adjustments necessary to ensure that it is still human-readable.

URL Scheme *deprecated *deprecated Has been used prior iOS7.
App Config Edit Edit Shows the App Configuration prompt. Please refer to the App Configuration section for additional information.
IPA File not available Choose File Displays your uploaded *.ipa file.
PLIST File not available Choose File Display your mandatory uploaded corresponding *.plist file.
Icon Choose File Choose File The icon to display in the app portal. It must meet the following specifications:
  • Dimensions: 144x144
  • Format: PNG

If no icon is specified, a default, blank icon will be used.

App Management

The following App Management options can be configured: 

Setting Options Description
Visible in App Portal Enabled or Disabled Makes the App Visible to users in the Silverback App Portal.
This Application is free Enabled or Disabled This setting is only available for App Store Apps and belongs to a legacy feature for volume licensing of applications. If this setting is disabled, this means that the app needs to be purchased and you can add Redemption Codes inside the Tag configuration for this application. Open the Managed VPP option and upload an Excel spreadsheet (.xls) that contains VPP codes for the app or book or use the release option for your redemption codes. In general, volume licensing is nowadays covered by the Volume Purchase Program via the Apple Business or School Manager
Automatically push to managed devices Enabled or Disabled Prompts for the app installation on the device when enrolled into Silverback, or when upgrades are made.
Remove App when MDM Profile is removed Enabled or Disabled Removes the App from the device when MDM Profile is removed from Silverback. (Same as deleting from Silverback Console)
Prevent Backup of App Data Enabled or Disabled Prevents iTunes from backing up any information from this client to a computer when tethered.
Allow Uninstallation Enabled or Disabled Prevents a manual uninstallation of the application and hides the uninstall button on the devices' App Portal.
Take management if the app is already installed Enabled or Disabled If your organization uses an application that you want to manage, but the user has already installed it before enrolling the device, you can convert it to a managed application. For a supervised device, this process is completely silent and if the application is set to push automatically, it will happen as soon as Silverback detects the application. For non-supervised devices, the user will be asked if they want the server to take over management. They can confirm or decline. To take over management manually, open the Device Info page and where possible the action button will be Manage.
VPP Operation Mode
  • User preferred
  • Device preferred
  • Device Only
  • User Only
Configures the VPP operation mode separately for this application.

App Configuration

With clicking the Edit button ext to App Config, a new window will open which gives the ability to perform configurations for your application. Here you can enable the Collect Feedback function or Allow Apps to Enter the Single App Mode or create a unique XML Configuration. 

Collect Feedback

By enabling the Collect Feedback option, Silverback will request Managed Application Feedback from devices. This information will be visible in the Device Information window for a particular device

Single App Mode

For devices running iOS 7 and above, it is possible to configure some advanced options for applications. It is possible for administrators to define a list of applications that are allowed to enter Single App Mode on the device.  By checking the Allow App to Enter Single App Mode checkbox, Silverback will allow this application to enter Single App Mode autonomously. This feature needs to be programmed into the selected application. For supervised devices, please review Single App Mode for iOS and iPadOS devices.

App Configuration XML

By populating the App Configuration XML text area, you can define your application configuration that Silverback will push to the application silently. The data should be defined in XML Key-Value pairs. You can also select whether this information should be sent with the Install command, or sent afterwards by changing the Push on install checkbox. Applications will be able to access this data from the keychain if they require it. System variables are accepted, so information can be dynamic per user. In Tags you have the ability to overwrite the general XML Config with a Tag based one. Pleaser refer to the Application Configuration Guide for additional information.

Custom PLIST Creation

For importing an Enterprise Application, a property list is a file named Info.plist is required that is included with every iOS and iPadOS application project. It is a property list whose key-value pairs specify essential runtime-configuration information for the application. In general the application developer should provide the *.plist file to you, but you can use the following text template below to create your individual PLIST file for your Enterprise app. You need to change the following XML tags for your Enterprise app:

  • <key>url</key>: Replace this value with the external Silverback server URL. Make sure you keep the ‘/epic’ at the end of the value
  • <key>bundle-identifier</key>: You will get the Bundle ID from your developer or by inspecting the info.plist file within the IPA your developer provides.
  • <key>bundle-version</key>: You will get the version number from your developer.
  • <key>title</key>: This is a descriptive text for the name of the app that appears on the iOS device once the app is deployed.

Save this file as a pure text file and upload it into the applicable App Portal entry.

Download the Example.plist file. 

If your app gets frequently updated on the iOS or iPadOS device you need to review the exact version number, apply it to the PLIST file, and upload it again in the App Portal. Once the app is deployed on the device you can easily cross check by checking the app list in the Silverback console. The correct version number – that should be in the PLIST file – is the ‘short version’ or ‘version’ number in the device details.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
    <key>items</key>
    <array>
        <dict>
            <key>assets</key>
            <array>
                <dict>
                    <key>kind</key>
                    <string>software-package</string>
                    <key>url</key>
                    <string>https://mdm.imagoverum.com/epic</string>
                </dict>
            </array>
            <key>metadata</key>
            <dict>
                <key>bundle-identifier</key>
                <string>com.fastviewer.ifastviewer</string>
                <key>bundle-version</key>
                <string>3.3.6</string>
                <key>kind</key>
                <string>software</string>
                <key>title</key>
                <string>iFastViewer</string>
            </dict>
        </dict>
    </array>
</dict>
</plist>

Next Steps

  • Deploy your application via Tags
  • Once you have deployed your applications using one or more different tags, review the version distribution
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