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Is there a way to deploy an iOS app to a device without requiring human interaction.

By 'no human interaction', for instance, consider an automated scenario (in a CI environment) where the server can deploy an app to a device and there is no need to have a person to go to the device in order to open an URL and click 'install'.

Following image shows what I want to avoid.

App deployment

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, you can do unattended (or silent) installs from iOS 7 onwards on supervised devices. For iOS 6, the user will see the install/cancel prompt and unattended installs without user intervention is not possible.

From Apple Launches "Managed Distribution" for App Store Volume Purchase Program (VPP) for Business and Education (Submitted by Aaron Freimark on November 4, 2013 - 11:08pm):

Apple tonight updated its app Volume Purchase Program with several long-anticipated and important additions. The updates introduce a new "managed distribution" of apps to iOS 7 devices, allowing assignment and revocation' through Mobile Device Management.
...
Assigned apps are installed automatically on supervised devices. Unsupervised devices show a prompt to install.

From iOS 7: What it means for Enterprise, Education, and Government ( By Craig Johnston, Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 a 11:16 am )

With iOS 7 the following has been added:
Silent app installation. Now via the MDM API, an IT administrator can send an app to the device and have it installed silently in the background. There is no need to ask the user which delays compliance, the app just installs itself. This works both for apps in the iTunes App Store that the company may have purchased a volume license for and apps developed by the company itself for internal use, that are not stored in the iTunes App Store.

Contrast this with what iOS 6 provides (described in the same article), which is (italics mine):

In iOS 6, through the use of MDM APIs you could:
Install Apps via MDM. This feature tells the user that they must install an app. The user could ignore this message and the administrator will have to decide how to handle this. They could set the MDM system to automatically lock their device out until they install the app. They could keep calling the user asking them to install the app. Either way, the app cannot be installed for the user by the IT team.

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Can you add any experience you have with this if you've used a specific MDM to deploy? The announcements were kind of like CarPlay where we had to wait for both apple and the MDM providers to connect the dots. –  bmike Mar 13 at 12:48

Yes it is possible. You need to create a profile for said device(s). Profile Manager and Apple Configurator are your friends for such tasks.

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Could you list what version of server app and what version of iOS that you have seen this work on? –  bmike Mar 13 at 12:46

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