The process to push a regular or VPP App Store application update to iOS devices depends on the version of MobiControl used.  Please note that updating applications that are deployed using device-based VPP licenses is only supported by iOS 10.3+ devices.  So these devices cannot be updated using the methods described here.  For more information on how to update applications on those devices, please see this thread.

 

MobiControl Versions 14.0.0, 14.0.1, or lower than 13.4.0.4167

 

The process to push a regular or VPP App Store application update to iOS devices requires the administrator to update the application in the App Catalog Rule.  That is:

  • Edit the application within the App Catalog Rule.
  • Search for a newer version of the application.
  • If running MobiControl v13.3.0.3629 or lower, reinstate all the "Advanced" and "Volume Purchase Program" settings.  (Please note that when updating the application in the App Catalog Rule, all the "Advanced" settings and "Volume Purchase Program" settings for that application are reset.  So, that is why you have to reinstate those settings at the time you update the application.)
  • Save the App Catalog rule.

 

This act of updating the application in the App Catalog Rule triggers the following for all devices that are targeted by that App Catalog Rule and whose application was installed by MobiControl (ie. the application status is Managed):

  • one-time device commands to update the application are generated
  • devices are asked to check-in

Since these one-time commands are not persistent, if a device does not check-in within 24 hours of this action being administered, the command for that device is purged and so the application update will not be pushed to that device.  Furthermore, since the process to update iOS applications depends on a change in the version of an application in an App Catalog Rule, without some help from Technical Support staff to simulate an application version change, the administrator would not be able to request MobiControl to update an application on on that iOS device again until a new version of the application would be published in the App Store.

 

To address these concerns and provide a more robust method to update applications on iOS devices, the process to push a regular or VPP App Store application update to iOS devices has been revamped as described below.

 

MobiControl Versions 14.0.2+ or 13.4.0.4167+

 

The process to push a regular or VPP App Store application update to iOS devices requires an administrator to use the button named “Push App Update” in the Advanced settings of an application in the App Catalog Rule as shown below:

 

 

Upon confirming this action, MobiControl performs the following actions for all devices that are targeted by that App Catalog Rule and whose application was installed by MobiControl (ie. the application status is Managed):

  • persistent device commands to update the application are generated
  • devices are asked to check-in

Since all device commands issued in this process are persistent, unlike the previous implementation, this new process does not require a device to check in within 24 hours of this administrative action.  More importantly, in the case that the application update is not successfully installed on a device, because the user of a device rejects the update for instance, the administrator can request MobiControl to push application updates to iOS devices again without having to wait for a new version of the application to be published in the App Store.

 

Please note that repeated invocation of the "Push App Update" is highly discouraged because each invocation requests all devices to update their applications even if their application is up-to-date and therefore doing so can result in very high data usage rates for your iOS devices.  To provide some protection against accidental repeated invocations, MobiControl will not request a device to update its application if the device command to do so is already queued for that device.

 

Finally, new device logs have been implemented to provide greater visibility and feedback into the various steps of this new process as shown below:

 

1. After the "Push App Update" action is invoked by the administrator, the following log is displayed for the App Catalog Rule from where it was invoked:

 "Update of application 'X' requested for 'Y' of 'Z' Apple devices targeted by App Catalog rule 'A'."

 

2. For a device that was targeted by that App Catalog Rule and whose application was installed by MobiControl (ie. the application status is Managed), the following device logs indicate a successful request to update the application:

"Update of application 'X' requested."

 "Successfully requested to install application 'X'."

 

3. For a device that was targeted by that App Catalog Rule and whose application was installed by MobiControl (ie. the application status is Managed) and deployed using a device-based VPP license, but whose iOS version is less than 10.3, the following device log is generated:

"Update of application 'X' will not be requested because the device OS version is less than 10.3."

 

4. For a device that was targeted by that App Catalog Rule and whose application was installed by MobiControl (ie. the application status is Managed), but for whom a device command to update the application is already queued, the following device log is generated:

"Update of application 'X' will not be requested because it has already been requested. It will be installed the next time the device checks in."