How Apple is changing MDM in iOS 15

Declarative management, rolling out today with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, is the most significant change to Apple MDM in its 11-year history. Here’s what IT departments need to know.

iOS 15 graphic
IDG/Apple

One of the biggest enterprise additions to iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 is a significant change to Apple’s MDM (mobile device management) protocol. Earlier MDM changes primarily focused on adding new management, security, or deployment features, extending what MDM could enforce. Declarative management, introduced at the company’s developer conference in June, is the first change that modifies the protocol itself.

While declarative management will make its debut with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Apple said it will also be supported in macOS Monterey, though not right away.

Apple MDM today

Before we get to what declarative management is, let’s take a a brief recap of Apple’s MDM protocol as it has previously been implemented.

Apple MDM encompasses a handful of different components: configuration and provisioning profiles, the MDM service, and various MDM commands.

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