Steps to update purchased / volume purchased program (VPP) app with VMware AirWatch

In an enterprise environment, chances are you have hundreds if not thousands of corporate-issued devices. Hopefully, you are managing all the apps deployed to these devices with a mobile application management (MAM) solution, and you are taking advantage of Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) to streamline both purchase and deployment of these same apps. Depending on your MAM setup, you may also be able to automate the on-going maintenance with checking and deploying updates for these apps as they are released. If you are running a skeleton crew with your IT department and have yet to take advantage of this automation, this post is for you.

For VMware AirWatch apps (i.e. Agent, Browser, Boxer, etc.), I highly recommend subscribing to Product Announcements at myAirWatch to keep abreast of any latest development.

vppapp1

Subscribing to Known Issues on the same site will also be very helpful.

appupdate2.jpg

Alternatively, adjust notification when an update becomes available either within the console or email or both.

  1. Click on your account on the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on Manage Account Settings
  3. Click on Notifications tab
  4. Select the applicable option

AWVPPUpdate1AWVPPUpdate2.jpg

 

Below is a sample email notification when an update is available for a particular app. If you have multiple environments like me  (i.e. QA or production), this email doesn’t identify which environment this is sent from. A feature request has been submitted in regard.

AWVPPUpdate3.jpg

For third-party vendors, you will need to visit either Apple iTunes App Store or Google Play Store for any new version releases.

There are two ways to keep your apps updated: update them manually or set up auto-update. Both have their pros and cons, and it’s not uncommon to utilize both methods based on the need at your organization.

If the apps were set up with auto-update, the issue below would have caused a disaster among VMware AirWatch users regardless of the iOS version running on the devices. Fortunately, VMware AirWatch has already released a patch to address this.

iOS 11.3 devices causing VPP applications to be removed

“With devices running iOS 11.3, VPP apps that are being installed using an Install Application command from MDM are returning an incorrect bundle ID back to AirWatch. AirWatch stores this incorrect bundle ID and upon sync or any scenario where we would check a device’s app list sample triggers a removal command for apps with incorrect bundle IDs. This will affect devices running any iOS version (not only iOS 11.3)This issue only surfaces on new installs of VPP apps of iOS 11.3 devices. iOS 11.3 devices that have existing apps installed should not see this error. ”

Generally, user involvement is not required for VPP purchased iOS app. For public iOS app, however, the user may be prompted to enter Apple ID. That’s why I strongly prefer deploying the app with VPP.

We will start with the steps to update the app manually.

Update on an individual device

You may take this approach to test the app thoroughly prior to updating the same app on multiple devices.

  1. Go to Devices -> List View
  2. Click on the device to have app updated
  3. Click on Apps tab
  4. Select the radio button next to the app
  5. Click Install on topAWVPPUpdate4.jpg
  6. Click OK when promptedAWVPPUpdate5.jpg
  7. Confirm app is installed (shown with the green checkmark next to app)

Here are the screenshots showing the before and after.

BeforeAWVPPUpdate6.jpg

AfterAWVPPUpdate7

Update on multiple devices

  1. Go to APPS & BOOKS – > Applications -> List View -> Purchased
  2. Click on the box next to the app. Then click on Manage Devices
  3. Either check off the box next to Status on top to select all devices or check off the box next to individual devices
  4. Click Install on top. Then, select Install On Selected
  5. Click OK when prompted

AWVPPUpdate8.jpgAWVPPUpdate9.jpgAWVPPUpdate10.jpg

Enable Auto Updates

If you are interested in taking advantage of auto update, here are the steps you need to take.

By enabling this feature, administrators will not have to check when the latest update is available. Also, the app will be updated automatically on the user’s device.

  1. Go to APPS & BOOKS – > Applications -> List View -> Purchased
  2. Click on the box next to the app. Then click on Enable Auto Updates
  3. Click OK when prompted

AWVPPUpdate11.jpgAWVPPUpdate12.jpgAWVPPUpdate13

If you have configured notification earlier, you will receive an email similar to the below when an app is updated.

AWVPPUpdate14.jpg

As always, stay mobile!

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