I have a fleet of more than 10 iOS devices (iPhones 3GS, 4, 4S, iPad2...) to manage, setup, etc.

Often, users are very lost with configuration and usage (device configuration, e-mail, calendar sync, Apps installation and usage... I even have question like "How can I send my photo by e-mail?", or "How to transfer this PDF?" sic.).

I cannot allow me to jailbreak professional devices, so it's a prohibitive constraint.

I seek a solution to guide them simplest, that in trying to explain to them what to do by phone.

So far I have found nothing better than to send them screenshot through IMessage, and it is very laborious.
Moreover, even with detailed pictures, users make regular errors, which can further complicate the matter!

So, if there is a secure and legal way, without jailbreak, to get a remote access, or the possibility (even limited) of a remote setup of an iOS device, it would be an deliverance for me.

Although the ideal would be to take remote control (like VNC or TeamViewer), I'm interested in every little thing, with idea like the ability to send auto-configuration files by iMessage.
Or anything else to what you might think...

Even commercial applications, because all of this is very time consuming.

I almost regret the days of Windows Phone 6.*, which it was possible to send Security Policies and use other corporate tools very helpful in such cases...

Anyway, thank you in advance for any help you could provide!

4 Answers 4


It's now 2017 so this is much easier than in 2012.

Start with either:

Both are free to start, well documented, capable in the long term. As you get started in what you need, then look to see if perhaps a different single solution or combination of solutions makes sense for your budget, number of devices, and skillset(s).

For those interested in how it was in 2012 and the next several dozen months, it was a bit harder to manage iOS since the tools and iOS itself didn't have the hooks and maturity for this function. Then, the least expensive way to manage iOS mobile devices is to use the iPhone configuration utility. It is free, runs on Macs and Windows PC and you can email and host the configuration profiles on traditional web and file sharing solutions. I'm amazed it's still called the "iPhone" utility since it long ago became the iOS configuration profile utility.

The free support method would be FaceTime and iMessages and you can have your users take advantage of Apple's free tutorials, guides and retail worships and training. Past that, some businesses prefer to enroll in Joint Venture for training where your core team can get personalized business level training from Apple.

The next level of mobile device management would be Lion Server or one of the pay as you go MDM solutions like Robot Cloud where you can get started with MDM for $5 a month before deciding if your workplace needs the extra features of a full management suite like JAMF Software's Caspar Suite or Mobile Iron type solutions.

Whether you use profiles made by the Configuration Utility or a server based solution that hooks into Apple's Push Notification Service (APNS) so you can push remote wipe and remote updates to the devices in the field - all of these MDM solutions use the built in iOS management hooks and have various costs and expenses to acquire, learn and automate controlling change to 10 or 10,000 iOS devices.

Start small, and consider that your users will be highly motivated to learn on their own. You will want to make sure you have open feedback channels and learn from them. iOS deployments generally are less IT headache than many expect and much of the learning and support can be self-paced, on-demand and as needed. Getting iPads into the hands of the decision makers and support people months ahead of a wide scale deployment is critical to remaining nimble and avoiding making decisions before you know how the devices work in your work environment. Small pilot programs are also ideal to measure and adjust deployment when you are unsure how you will ultimately be managing these devices. Hang on, iOS deployment is a fun ride.

  • +1 for the iPhone configuration utility, thank you very much! This will be of a great help to me, but for now, it don't want to launch on my Windows desktop. I'll try to fix that later, and I try it on my MacBook Pro, but it look very promising! About the users, "your users will be highly motivated to learn on their own", ROFFL! If your users are like that, how lucky you are... Mine are just like "What? A smartphone? Give me back my old Nokia!"
    – Pascal Qyy
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 14:20
  • I love when my users let me know their frame of mind. Those that complain are just telling me how overworked they are. My job is awesome when I can focus more on the ones getting stuff done and when people self-select out of that group, at least I don't have to guess where they are. ROFL indeed. Some cases are not saveable and the whole group has to work to avoid the situation you describe. Best of luck keeping your head above water.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 16:10
  • @bmike the iPhone Configuration Utility URL in you answer is redirecting incorrectly as of now (perhaps due to apple site updates), you might want to update that. Thanks. Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 19:43
  • @Annjawn that app is no longer released by Apple. You'd need way back machine or another. Now, you would use the Apple Configurator or a modern MDM like jamf now.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 20:49
  • @bmike thanks for the info. I was trying to find a way to remote configure brand new iPhones for my parents. I know that MDM is a way but I don't know if jamf or Airwatch has a way for individual users i.e. Non-enterprise. Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 20:53

There are quite a few commercial programs for iOS Mobile Device Management (MDM) (see Vlad's answer for a list of MDM software)

The only one that I could find that believe meets all your feature requirements is Soti's MobiControl

Along with standard MDM, application and policy management, they provide a Remote Desktop management for mobile devices.

MobiControl equips support personnel with a powerful remote agent view and live two- way chat to optimize help desk interaction. This feature allows remote technicians to monitor and support the MobiControl agent user activity on any iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. Capture remote screen shots and live video recording of the application screens for review and demonstration purposes. For efficient help desk communication to and from end- users, a convenient two-way chat utility offers a real- time exchange of clear text messages in a familiar iOS user interface. Communicate clear instructions and information to end users in seconds without having to spend the time or money to pick up the phone!

  • Wow, it's really expensive and the features for iOS are very poor... BUT their SDK for remote control of iOS Apps is very interesting! thank you, it's a very good track.
    – Pascal Qyy
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 12:24

You need to use MDM (Mobile Device Management) to wirelessly configure your fleet of devices. Here's a comparison table for MDM providers.

  • Excellent, it's a very good start for me, thanks a lot! But if somebody have anything else, I'll also take it ^^
    – Pascal Qyy
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 12:08

I work for Bomgar. We provide a remote support solution which is known for being the most secure remote access option available, but we also have the widest multi-platform functionality out there. Our solution does allow you to configure iPhones and iPads remotely. It also lets you support folks from an iPhone or iPad as well.

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