If you have purchased departmental iPads, consider the Apple Volume Purchase Program and Configurator before you configure them. The Apple Volume Purchase Program or VPP allows you to purchase applications under an institutional account rather than your own and often at a discount. Configurator is a software management app that you run on a Macintosh computer to reimage iPads with all the apps you have purchased.
On your personal iPad, you use your iTunes account to purchase apps. This does not work well within an institutional environment where there are multiple iPads, since your personal account would be tied to every iPad. With a personal account, to update any apps that you purchased, you would need to enter your personal iTunes password on every iPad, or use Configurator on a Mac with your login and password to update the apps. If you signed out of your account on the institutional iPads, the apps that you purchased and downloaded would no longer update, even if someone with another iTunes account logged into the iTunes store on the iPad. Apple does not support merging accounts. All purchased apps can only be downloaded or managed by the account that purchased them.
Enter the VPP for educational institutions. Enrollment in the VPP is free and even if you are thinking about purchasing multiple iPads, it is a good idea to join. There are two roles to consider when you enroll–that of a program manager who manages the entire program at a certain location–and that of a program facilitator who would purchase the apps. Institutions can have more than one program manager and more than one facilitator. Software is purchased with a generic ID for the institution known by each program manager and the facilitator. Vouchers purchased online or by phone by the institution are redeemed online to purchase apps. Many publishers and app developers offer discounts for apps purchased in higher quantities. Apple answers further questions about the program on the VPP frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.
Next it is important to consider how to manage the apps. When the iPad goes into the classroom or is used at another location, apps may be deleted or other apps that you do not want on it may be downloaded. The Configurator app, installed on a Macintosh, gives you an option to sync the apps that you do want and to delete the apps you don’t want. When iPads are connected to that computer, they are synced with the applications that have been purchased by the institution under the VPP. You can specify what apps to download to each iPad. If you are a member of the VPP, then you would use the institutional account to sync Configurator.
The Office of Educational Technology can help if you have questions either before or after your purchase.