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12th April 2021

Apple Business Manager: How to Add and Remove Devices

Holly Skinner

New to Apple Business Manager? In this guide, we will explain how to easily add and remove devices from your Apple Business Manager Account.

Getting started with Apple Business Manager

Apple Business Manager is the ideal way to purchase and deploy devices from Apple to your workforce.

Before adding devices to your ABM account, you should:

  • Be aware that the devices must be purchased from either Apple or authorized resellers.
  • Know your related Apple Customer ID.
  • Send your Organisation ID to a participating Apple authorized reseller, then add their Reseller ID to your account, unless you bought all devices directly from Apple.

You can add devices by their order number or by serial number.

If you purchased the device directly from Apple, then you can find your order or serial number in your Apple account, as long as the order was placed after March 1st, 2011.

If you did not purchase all the devices directly from Apple, you may need to consult the Apple authorized reseller from whom you purchased the device to acquire the order or serial number.

Options for adding devices in Apple Business Manager

There are several ways to add devices in Apple Business Manager based on order number, device type, storage size, and serial number. For multiple devices, you have plenty of options for adding them in bulk, including uploading a CSV file with all the devices listed.

If you bulk-ordered the devices, then you can use the order number to assign them all at once, or just a specific number of them. This is the best tactic if you’re using one MDM server and the new devices are going direct to your team.

With Device Management you can also re-assign devices from one MDM to another if you want to spread them over several servers.

If you have devices from multiple sources, you can add them to your ABM account using either, or a combination of:

  • Apple Customer Number.
  • Serial Number (you can paste up to 1,024 serial numbers from a text file, with each serial number separated by a comma.)
  • Apple Authorised Reseller ID recognition.
  • AppleCare.
  • Apple Configurator 2 for adding devices manually (manually enrolled devices still work just like any other enrolled device e.g., with mandatory supervision and MDM)

How to add devices in Apple Business Manager

Apple Business Manager is an excellent way to order and deploy Apple devices, but the best method for managing your business’ new and existing Apple devices is by adding them into an MDM using Apple Business Manager enrolment.

This will provide greater control of all the Apple devices in your arsenal.

Before you add devices to your Apple Business Manager you must link your MDM server to the ABM account.

It is advisable to assign devices to different MDM servers based on the type of device e.g., iPads.

Your IT staff can now add devices to ABM without ever having to touch the hardware. This is hugely beneficial during COVID.

Having linked your MDM server to your Apple Business Manager, you can add devices to the account either by adding your reseller’s details to the ABM portal or by manually adding devices from the Apple Business Manager portal to MDM.

For option 1. Simply sign in to your Apple Business Manager, click Settings, then Device Management Settings.

Next, scroll to Customer Number and add your Apple Customer Numbers + ABM/DEP Reseller ID.

Finally, click apply.

For option 2. Sign in to your Apple Business Manager, then scroll to Devices.

You will see a list of available devices, so select those to be added and click Edit Device Management.

You should see a field entitled Assign to Server. Select the MDM server, which you linked to your ABM before this process.

Finally, click continue.

Iphone devices menu

How to remove devices in Apple Business Manager

Removing devices in Apple Business Manager is straightforward.

You may want to remove a device if you are adding it to a different ABM account, or if it is being replaced, or was lost or stolen.

Be aware that once the device is removed from your MDM service, it will also automatically be removed from your ABM portal.

Remember that devices enrolled in an ABM cannot be enrolled in another simultaneously. You must remove it from the initial account first before adding it to a new account.

Step 1) Log into your ABM portal and click Devices. You should see a list of available enrolled devices.

Step 2) Select the device you wish to remove.

Step 3) Click on Edit Device Management.

Step 4) Click Unassign.

This is how you remove one device, but perhaps you need to bulk remove multiple devices. This can be done by uploading a CSV file with all the listed devices for removal, just as you did when bulk-adding devices.

Before you start removing devices, it is crucial to be aware of the difference between ‘Releasing’ a device and ‘Unassigning’ a device. Normally, you will want to remove a device by unassigning it because you may potentially wish to add it to another ABM account. The ‘Release’ option is for when you will never use that device again, this would be in the event that it is lost, stolen or permanently damaged.

Releasing is non-reversible. The device can never be part of any organisation again.

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