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How to force OS updates for supervised iOS devices

Forcing OS updates on your supervised iOS devices in a defined window of time.

Aim

The aim is to establish an homogenous OS version landscape, and to support users who may not always think about installing OS updates themselves. With version 9.7 of Cortado Server and Cortado MDM, we have added Force automatic OS Update, a new supervised iOS device policy which gives you control over coordinated roll outs of available OS updates and so allows you to keep your iOS device fleet always up to date.

Note! This feature is very powerful, so it should always be used with caution. Please observe the displayed warnings.

Implementation

Under Control Panel→ Devices→ Details, from version 9.7 of Cortado Server and Cortado MDM, you will see a reminder whenever an update is available for a device (example for Cortado MDM):

Now, under Control Panel→ Policies, you can also force the available updates to be installed on the users’ devices.

  • Click on the Plus icon to add a new policy.
  • Then select iOS Policies→ Supervised Devices.
  • From iOS 10.3 or later, you will find a new policy there, called Force automatic OS updates (arrow in illus.). The policy is enabled by default, however, because of the initial setting of -1 for the start hour and end hour, it has no effect yet on the managed devices.

If you want to apply the policy, you have to set a time window for the update:

  • Start hour (UTC): Enter the time here that you want the update window to open. If, for example, you select the number 17, the update window will start at 17:00 (UTC).
  • End hour (UTC): Enter the time here that you want the update window to close. If, for example, you select the number 22, the update window will close at 22:00 (UTC). After that, the devices will no longer be prompted to install the update.
  • Delay days: Specify here the number of days the forcing of the update ought to be postponed. If you select 2, for example, then 2 days after a new update becomes available, it will be forced in the defined update window.
Note! Force automatic OS Updates forces an update when one is available for the corresponding device class. A confirmation from the end user is not requested. The update is downloaded and then installed.

In practice, it makes sense therefore, to run the OS updates when the device is least likely to be in use. We recommend the following configuration:

  • Prompt the update at 02:00 UTC (upper arrow in illus.) and close the update window at 04:00 (UTC) (middle arrow in illus.).
  • Allow 1 day to pass (lower arrow in illus.) after the update becomes available, before forcing the update.

Note! Avoid settings such as Start hour: 22, End hour: 4, to keep the update window open from 22:00 to 04:00. There is a possibility that devices may not cope with these settings, as the value of the start hour is higher than the value of the end hour.


  • Now select the new policy (upper arrow in illus.) click on Assign (lower arrow in illus.) to assign it to the desired users/groups/devices.

Warning! Especially if you are using legacy apps, you should absolutely ensure beforehand that the apps are suited to new iOS versions. You should also inform yourself of any known problems with the new iOS version. It may make sense to increase the Delay days value mentioned above. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with this feature before you roll it out on a broad scale. Configure and roll out this policy for a test group first, to determine whether the recommended settings are suited to your requirements.

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