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I need to configure a bunch of iPads with the same settings. For instance, volume level, auto-lock, side-button, timezone and light level.

Currently I'm doing this manually on each iPad through the Settings app in the device. This is both tedious and error-prone...

I'm thinking it should be possible to create a master settings file or image file (or something) with the correct settings which could then be loaded on to each device.

Is that possible?

Background: We need deliver iPads preconfigured with our "kiosk" app for customers to place in their office/retail locations. For instance, disabling auto-lock is crucial here. Currently I have some 20-30 iPads that needs to be configured the same way.

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Can you give some more details on why you are doing this configuration, and on how many iPads, etc.? –  Wheat Williams Sep 6 '11 at 3:20
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@Wheat: Updated the question text with usage info. –  Martin Wickman Sep 6 '11 at 7:53

3 Answers 3

iPhone Configuration Utility

You can use Apple's free iPhone Configuration Utility on Mac or Windows to create custom .XML configuration profiles for the iPad and install them to iPads over USB. I do not know which specific parameters you will have access to configure.

There is also a third-party MDM (Mobile Device Manager) server platform for rolling out custom apps and the like. That would probably be way overkill for your needs.

Apple white paper, "Deploying iPhone and iPad in Business" . (PDF)

Update

March 7, 2012--Apple has released a new program called Configurator for mass deployment of iPads and iPhones in school, businesses, and institutions. It is free in the Mac App Store.

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From what I've seen, this utility only manages settings I'm not interested in (mail, wifi etc). –  Martin Wickman Sep 5 '11 at 20:20
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Well, it's a clue. If it's possible to create .XML format files for an iPad and load them through USB, maybe some of the programmers on this forum can figure out how to do more with .XML editing. –  Wheat Williams Sep 6 '11 at 1:38

Apple Configurator

Apple released another program in April 2012 with considerably expanded capabilities.

This should come much closer to meeting your needs.

Prepare devices

  • Configure up to 30 devices at a time
  • Update devices to the latest version of iOS Create and restore a backup of settings and app data from one device to other devices
  • Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to new devices
  • Use the built-in editor to create and install iOS configuration profiles
  • Enroll devices with your Mobile Device Management solution for remote management

Supervise devices

  • Organize supervised devices into custom groups
  • Automatically apply common configurations to supervised devices
  • Quickly reapply a configuration to a supervised device and remove the previous user’s data
  • Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to supervised devices*
  • Define and apply common or sequential names to all devices
  • Restrict supervised devices from syncing with other computers

Assign devices

  • Add users and groups manually or autopopulate via Open Directory or Active Directory
  • Check out a device to a user and restore the user’s settings and data on that device
  • Check in a device from a user and and back up the data for later use, possibly on a different device
  • Apply custom text, wallpaper, or the user’s picture to a device’s Lock screen
  • Import and export documents between your Mac and Apple Configurator
  • Sync documents between assigned devices and Apple Configurator
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You may want to have a look at Apple's iPad Enterprise Resources page. It has deployment guides, but I think the options you can set are more along the lines of security profiles and such. I'm not sure if general settings type options are in there. Worth a look however, as to my knowledge it's the only way of managing iOS settings other than manually on each one.

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