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The Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) allows you to purchase volume licenses for mobile applications from Apple for deployment. These licenses can then be used to deploy applications to iOS devices via FileWave MDM. Mobile applications will installed silently on supervised devices. Unsupervised devices will prompt the end-user to accept the application to be installed. More information on supervision and its benefits are available in the section Device Enrollment Program.


Buying iOS Mobile Apps in the iTunes VPP App Store 

Log into your Apple VPP account at https://vpp.itunes.apple.com or https://school.apple.com and purchase your mobile apps. Even if the apps are free you still need to purchase VPP licenses for them at a cost of $0. Do not over-purchase licenses. Only buy as many as you think you'll need. You can always buy more later if needed. For example, if there are 1000 students in your school do not purchase 200,000 licenses. More licenses will increase syncing time with Apple's VPP license servers. 

For education customers Apple typically provides a 50% discount starting at 20 licenses. As a result the cost of 10 licenses for a paid mobile app is identical to that for 20 licenses. If you will be purchasing between 10-19 licenses of a particular app, then just purchase 20. For example, let's compare the cost of different volumes of a $1 app.

10 copies    at a cost of    $1 per copy    =    $10
15 copies    at a cost of    $1 per copy    =    $15
19 copies    at a cost of    $1 per copy    =    $19
20 copies    at a cost of    $0.50 per copy    =    $10
30 copies    at a cost of    $0.50 per copy    =    $15

It may take anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes (usually a few minutes) for Apple to generate licenses for your app purchase, depending on the number of licenses. You will receive an email confirmation from Apple once the licenses are available for use. Often it is faster to simply refresh your purchase history in the VPP portal. The app purchase will display "Managed Licenses" for the status if the licenses have been successfully issued. If you have an Apple School Manager account then the screenshots may differ than those in the instructions below.


Always choose Managed Distribution for the distribution type when purchasing paid apps.


Downloading Your VPP Token

  • Legacy VPP Token - Log into your Apple VPP account at https://vpp.itunes.apple.com if you are not already logged in, click your account name in the upper right, choose Account Summary, and click the Download Token link on the right.
  • ASM Location-based VPP Token - Log into your ASM account at https://school.apple.com, go to Settings on the bottom left, pick Personal Settings > My Profile > Apps and Books in the center pane, and select a location-based VPP token from the right pane to download.


Adding Your VPP Token to FileWave

  1. Log into the FileWave Admin, open the preferences, go to the VPP & DEP tab, click Configure Tokens, and enter your FileWave superadmin credentials.
  2. In the Edit VPP service tokens window click the plus sign.
  3. At the VPP service token window enter a Token nameDepartmentOwnerOwner email, click the Import button, and browse to the VPP token file you previously downloaded from your VPP account. It is very important that you enter the Apple ID for this token into the Owner email address if you will be adding multiple VPP tokens. This lets you more easily determine which VPP account to log into to purchase additional volume licenses for apps that are running low.
  4. Click the Choose button to select the default fileset group App Store filesets should be added to and click the Save button.
  5. Click Close at the Edit VPP service tokens window.
  6. Back in the VPP & DEP preference tab click the Synchronize button to force the FileWave server to generate filesets for your VPP App Store apps and retrieve their licenses from Apple. The next time you purchase a new App Store app with VPP licenses return here and click the Synchronize button if you do not want to wait for FileWave server to automatically download the licenses, which can take up to 5 minutes.
  7. When notified that unused VPP licenses are detected and asked if you would like to create new filesets click the Yes button.
  8. Select "Assign to Device" for Preferred license distribution model for new associations and click the OK button at the bottom.
  9. Your VPP applications should now appear in the Filesets section prefixed with "iOS App -". 
  10. To verify the license counts that you have purchased go to the License Management section. Your VPP apps should be listed there with with the license counts in the Owned column.


Assigning VPP Apps for Deployment

Now that your VPP volume licensed app has been added to FileWave as a fileset and it can be associated with iOS clients. Note that associating a VPP app with an iOS device will reserve and consume a volume license, even if the app has not yet installed on the client device. The only exception to this is if the app is marked as a Kiosk app. iTunes App Store apps are not physically stored on the FileWave server but are installed from the iTunes App Store via push notifications. Because of this, installations of mobile apps are not always immediate on clients. If you are deploying a lot of or some very large iTunes App Store apps consider setting up a macOS system with the Caching service on your network to conserve internet bandwidth and speed up the deployment. This process caches all requests for iTunes App Store content and iOS updates locally as devices request these items. You can read more about the Caching server process here. A full listing of what Apple content the Caching process supports can be found here. Information on how to enable content caching on macOS High Sierra can be found here.

To deploy your iOS App fileset you must assign it to a device group or individual device with an association. Note that filesets assigned to standard group will be inherited by all its child groups if it has any. By default there is a minimum 3 minute delay between the time you associate a VPP application license to a device and when the application is made available to install at the client. This avoids issues during large scale deployments where clients are trying to install VPP applications but haven’t gotten their license assignment yet.

  1. Go to the Associations section of the FileWave Admin console, highlight one or more iOS App filesets in the upper-right Filesets pane, and drag and drop them onto the desired client group or client device in the upper-left Clients pane. You can block-select adjacent filesets with the Shift key and non-adjacent filesets with the Command key (Mac) or Control key (Windows).
  2. The associations will appear in gray in the Associations pane at the bottom. Double click the association and go to the Timing tab to set scheduling options for the fileset. Leaving the Timing tab empty implies that you want to the mobile app to install as soon as possible. This must be done for each entry individually if you have created multiple associations. To make the app available on-demand enable the Kiosk Association checkbox. If you have multiple associations, one for each different group of devices, it may make sense to stagger the installation time for different associations to prevent overwhelming your wireless network or internet connection, particularly if you do not have a macOS server with the Caching service enabled.
  3. Switch to the License Distribution tab, pick Assign License to Device if it's not already selected, and click OK.
  4. Click Update Model in the toolbar to save your changes to FileWave.


Monitoring Fileset Deployment and VPP License Usage

To track the assignment and deployment of a specific fileset, select it in the the Filesets section and click the Report button in the toolbar. iOS App filesets can have the following statuses.

  • Queued - Application assigned, and install command has been created, but app has not installed
  • Installed - Application previously installed on client device by end-user without VPP volume license
  • Managed - Application installed on iOS client by FileWave MDM

Return to the License Management section and you'll notice that the Installed column will report the same count for your application as the total number of clients the mobile app has been associated with, either directly or via a device group, even if the association is a Kiosk association. FileWave essentially reserves the license for distribution to the client mobile device to ensure that the application deploys successfully.


Applications that are within the the low license count threshold will appear with a yellow dot and "Warning License Watermark" for the Compliance Status column. Applications with more available licenses than the low license threshold will appear with a green dot. To set a low license threshold for your VPP app select it, click the Edit License button in the toolbar, enter a value, and click Save.


Keeping Mobile App Store Apps Updated

If a new version of an App Store app is released, the FileWave server will automatically send an InstallApplication command to the client to update the app.

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