Apple typically designs its devices such as the Apple TV with ease of installation in mind, but the challenge is to ensure that administrators have the right configurations based on the desired use case.
Organizations should carefully consider the type of account they will use during the device enrollment process and how they want to deploy and manage these Apple TV devices.
The Apple TV setup process
The process used to set up an Apple TV varies depending on the age of the device. For current generation devices – Apple TV 4K – the process begins by plugging a power cable and an HDMI cable into the device, then connecting the other end of the HDMI cable to a compatible TV, monitor, or display. Once the Apple TV box is powered on, the administrator accesses the Device Setup process.
The first step is to pair the TV remote with the device. Admin should simultaneously press and hold the volume on the remote control at the top and back buttons.
To note: Older versions of Apple TV use the menu and turn up the sound button for this process.
At this point, Apple TV will jump to a screen asking if the Apple administrator wants to set up the device automatically using an iPhone or do it manually. the Configure with iPhone The option will prompt the admin to pair the TV with the selected iPhone. As soon as the two devices are paired, the Apple TV will automatically match the settings and configurations of that iPhone.
As convenient as automatic setup might be, it’s usually not the best way to set up an Apple TV device in a business environment. The TV will inherit the settings used on your phone, which could include many problematic settings that IT would have to find and change manually. Most organizations are better off doing a manual setup, which involves connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network and specifying the Apple ID for the Apple TV to use.
Here are the three main options for providing an Apple ID:
- Configure the TV to use one or more personal Apple IDs.
- Connect Apple TV to a managed work account.
- Choose not to use an account at all. This option depends on the age of the device.
Using a personal account
Although the administrator can configure an Apple TV to use their personal Apple ID, this is usually a bad choice if the Apple TV device has multiple users. Anyone using the device could potentially see the Apple ID owner’s personal data, browsing history, apps, and more.
Apple TV, however, supports the use of multiple user profiles. Therefore, if only a small number of users need to use Apple TV, the administrator can set up a separate user profile for each user. This would mean that each user must sign in using their Apple ID rather than a shared personal ID. This requires consistent switching between profiles, but is a viable approach with good end-user practices.
Use an Apple TV work account
A second option is to use an Apple TV business account. Just as an administrator on a Windows network can create user accounts in the organization’s Active Directory domain, Apple allows organizations to create managed accounts for business purposes. These accounts are essentially Apple IDs associated with an organization’s domain.
The main benefit of using a business account is that it allows administrators to manage Apple TV and other Apple devices from one central location. Organizations can use Apple Configurator 2 or Apple Business Manager to configure devices based on organization-wide policies. For example, if the organization has multiple Apple TVs, the administrator can ensure that they all share the same configurations.
One of the potential drawbacks of using Managed Apple IDs is that Apple disables certain services when users sign in to a device using a Managed Apple ID. This is also true for iPads, iOS devices, and macOS devices. Apples public list Disabled services with a Managed Apple ID does not include restrictions on Apple TV, but there may be lesser-known feature restrictions. As such, organizations will need to ensure that using a Managed ID does not prevent them from accessing services that support business purposes.
Setup without Apple ID
Organizations can manually set up an Apple TV device without an Apple ID. The organization can then use the device in conference room mode, allowing users to connect their devices to the TV using Apple AirPlay. Newer Apple TV devices support AirPlay through the Conference Room Display options in Settings.
Share an Apple TV between multiple users
Apple makes it possible to centrally provision and manage Apple TV devices in a business environment. General best practices suggest that this type of centralized management should align with all other organization-wide device management policies. However, small workgroups sharing an Apple TV device may find it preferable for each user to have their own profile rather than sharing a single profile tied to a Managed Apple ID.