Speed up macOS and iOS software updates

Content Caching (built into macOS High Sierra) is an oft ignored feature that can speed up delivery of Apple software updates, iOS apps, well as personal iCloud data for homes, businesses, and institutions by delivering content from local computer storage over the LAN, rather than going out to the Internet each and every time. Content Caching dramatically speeds up app installs if you are doing multiple app installs. As your devices download apps, the Mac inserts itself as middleman and will save copies of each installed app. Subsequent installs of the same apps are much quicker, since the apps load from the Mac’s hard drive instead of the Internet. This is extremely useful for deploying a large number of devices and will save a lot of external bandwidth!

To enable it on macOS High Sierra (10.13.x), all you need is to go into System Preferences > Sharing and check the Content Caching check box.

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 11.43.50 There are three options for caching:

  1. Shared Content - this limits caching to apps, and software updates.
  2. iCloud Content - this caches personal iCloud (stored securely) only, such as iCloud Drive, and iCloud Photos.
  3. All content - use this to cache both Shared and iCloud content.

We recommend a machine that is permanently in the office with at least 50GB storage and wired into Ethernet to choose as the Content Caching server. It’ll take a small performance hit, but in return, the rest of the office will benefit from the speed increase in app downloads and updates.

Content Caching saves our bacon during our mass event deployments. 🐷📲

Disable Apple Photos Auto Launch

The Mac Photos App is great and certainly an improvement over it’s predecessor iPhoto. However, it’s almost always too eager to pop up whenever it detects an iOS device being plugged in. Certainly, when we’re setting up and managing hundreds of iPads for schools or at our events, having to manually close down Photos per iPad plugged in gets very dull indeed.

However, salvation is here in the form of the following command. Simply copy and paste the following into Terminal: (Please note this should all go on one line!)

defaults -currentHost write com.apple.ImageCapture disableHotPlug -bool YES

Boom! Photos be gone!

To restore the auto launch, simply replace YES with NO in the command above.

Events, Done Right! 📅✨

Over the years we have perfected the fine art of deploying and managing Apple devices for events and seminars of all shapes and sizes. Handling delegate registrations, keynote presentations, AirPlay connectivity, asset tracking devices, or all of the above, it’s all a breeze, when you know how to.

Whether you’re looking for a solution for a small training session with 20 people in a room with a simple A/V setup, or an event with hundreds of attendees and multiple sessions taking place simultaneously throughout an entire venue space, we’ve been there, done that, and know how to handle it like a boss!

When it comes to selecting a venue with the right infrastructure, proactive project planning for potential snags, deploying devices with the required configuration and managing the technical aspects in order to ensure that devices perform as expected (as well as having contingencies for when they don’t), our team of infrastructure engineers, strategists and project managers have the expertise to ensure that your event doesn’t suck, at least from a technical perspective.

We’re eager to share our expertise and demonstrable technical wizardry to help plan for and provide onsite support for using Apple Mac or iOS devices for your events. If you’d love to know more about our work or would like our help, we’d love to hear from you!

Teaching and Learning with iOS 9.3 for iPad 🤓👍

With Monday’s preview release of Apple’s iOS 9.3 update for iPad, educators worldwide are really excited by the tools has Apple has in store to make iPad the most pleasant and engaging experience there is for modern teaching and learning.

Shared iPad for Students is a feature we know a number of schools with small class-sets of iPads have been waiting for and we’re sure educators across the board will be happy to see built-in to iOS for education. Giving students the ability to instantly recall their personal content by logging into any iPad they have access to in class should negate the need for students to be assigned the same iPad every time in order to resume a learning activity or for evidencing learning outcomes.

The new Classroom app is also another great feature enhancement for iOS in education. Over the years educators have longed for the ability to easily monitor and guide students through their lessons, as well providing simple AirPlay controls for sharing a student’s work with the rest of the class via Apple TV. The only way to do this in the past involved subscribing into MDM services like JAMF’s Casper Suite, although this then also added further cost implications for the school consider.

Having Shared iPad for Students and the new Classroom app functionality available in iOS 9.3 should have a positive pedagogical impact on teaching and learning workflows for iPads, now that every classroom with a compatible iPad will be able to take advantage of these great new features and functionality, for free!

For technical administrators, Apple School Manager should completely streamline the creation of Managed Apple IDs, as well as the creation and delivery of classroom content via iTunes U. With Apple’s VPP, DEP, iTunes U, and MDM service configuration falling under the new single Apple School Manager portal, everything will now be run from a single online portal instead of having to create and login into multiple Apple services.

Apple has a deep commitment to providing educators with the most advanced tools available in order for them to create and deliver transformative lessons for modern day students. As technical support specialists and training providers, our LeftBrain team are excited by the opportunity for us to provide even more streamlined support and management to our amazing education clients. We can’t wait to put these tools to use, as well as helping to plan for any technical considerations that schools might need to have in mind before updating. We’re hoping to get stuck in to Apple’s technical resources for the final iOS 9.3 release as soon as they are available, exciting times.

If you could use our help in planning for updating your school iPads to iOS 9.3, or if you have questions, we would love to hear from you!

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