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Update Volume-Purchased Apps Using Single App Mode in iOS 12 Feature Walk-through

If you follow this blog regularly, you are already aware that iOS 11.2 enabled seamless updates for Enterprise Apps locked with the App Lock payload, for example, Single App Mode (SAM),  without first removing the payload. I was recently testing with both iOS 12.0.1 and iOS 12.1. During my testing, I noticed that this functionality is now working for volume-purchased apps! Many admins with iOS devices running in a kiosk or single-use scenario (such as Meeting Room Control, Point-of-Sale, Digital Signage, and so on) are encouraged to start testing this for their own use.


How Can I Quickly Test This?

To witness the volume-purchase app updates in all their glory, perform the following flow in a testing organization group or environment:

  1. Verify Volume Purchase Program or Apple Business Manager is configured in the Organization Group where you’ll enroll your device.
  2. Ensure you have purchased managed distribution licenses for an app which is regularly updated. In my testing, I used the Facebook app because it is updated on a fairly consistent basis.
  3. Deploy the app to the device with Device-based licensing and disable Auto-Update for the application within the Workspace ONE UEM console.
  4. Send the device a profile containing an app lock (Single App Mode) payload for the application’s identifier. Then, verify the device is locked into that application. For example, make sure you cannot exit the app, the buttons are locked, and so on.
  5. Within the Workspace ONE UEM console, monitor for the Purchased application to show Update Available. When the update is available, select the Purchased app and click the Update App button to initiate updates.
  6. Observe the device closing the app and performing the update while the device remains locked from user interaction.

Important Reminders

As you go through this process, keep the following top-of-mind:

  1. Be Cognizant of Update Times! — For single-app-mode apps that provide digital signage or kiosk functionality, factor in the time it takes to update the app. Consider variables such as: business hours, connectivity speeds, app size, and if the install commands process in batches.
  2. Leverage macOS Caching Services — Where possible (and especially when updating large numbers of devices), leverage macOS Caching Services to ensure the iOS devices download the update from a locally cached copy rather than all devices reaching out to the App Store.

Additional Resources

The following links provide more detail on App Deployments:


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