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Registering Apple TVs with Apple Business/School Manager

15th June 2021 | posted by Stephen Warneford-Bygrave

I recently had the pleasure of working with a client to enrol their unmanaged Apple TV 4Ks into Apple Business Manager, for deployment and management with Jamf Pro. For those familiar with the process with iPhones and iPads, it’s relatively simple; just connect the iOS device to a Mac with Apple Configurator 2, prepare it with the “Add to Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager” option, and away you go. Should be simple enough with an Apple TV then, right?

Wrong!

While Apple TVs do have a USB port just above the HDMI connector, Apple TV 4K’s don’t.

Lo! No USB port!
Lo! No USB port!

Okay, so it’s not so bad.

Let’s be clear here, it’s not that tricky to enrol them, but it’s not easy to fix issues that you would imagine could be fixed with a USB cable and a DFU restore, for example.

Anyway, I digress. The Apple Configurator 2 User Guide details the process here. In my trials I found that preparing the Apple TV would never result in a successful registration with Apple Business Manager when applying a configuration profile to automatically connect the Apple TV to a wireless network after preparation. Therefore, my suggestion would be to use an unrestricted1 wired network connection instead.

Step-by-step guide

The process is as follows:

  1. Connect a Mac with Apple Configurator 2, and the Apple TV to an “unrestricted” wired network
  2. Reset the Apple TV
  3. Once reset, the initial “Hello” screen will be displayed. At this point, don’t pair a remote; instead, Open Apple Configurator 2 and select “Paired Devices” from the Apple Configurator 2 menu
  4. Find the Apple TV, and click “Pair…”
  5. Pair using the PIN displayed on the Apple TV
  6. Prepare the Apple TV, ensuring “Complete enrolment” isn’t selected, and ensure that the organisation is selected
  7. If asked to add a network mobileconfig file, don’t; the Apple TV and Mac are both connected to ethernet
  8. The Apple TV will restart
  9. Log into Apple Business/School Manager and select “Settings” > “Apple Configurator 2” > “Show Devices”
  10. From there, assign the Apple TV to the MDM of choice.

Summary

It seems pretty obvious in retrospect that the issue would be down to the network connection at the point of preparation, or just after. Still, I feel it’s worthwhile mentioning this just in case anyone else out there is running into issues with Apple TVs and AC2.

Side note: It’s interesting to see how Apple are genuinely making strides to remove the reliance on wires, what with the above enrolment procedure and the new method of enrolling T2 and M1 Macs with Apple Configurator in iOS!


  1. Unrestricted, in this case, means compliant with Apple’s documentation on the configuration of an enterprise network. ↩︎

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