Classroom iPads are cool, but there are some headaches associated with managing them.

I use a tiny set of apps, but software moves fast. Since I started building my iPad horde, there have been two major iOS releases, and who knows how many dozen app updates.

For iOS revisions, I wait a few months and then bring the lot home for a big update party:

This has never been a big deal, other than having a lot of devices to monitor as they progress at different rates.

App updates though, can be a source of mild irritation. Their release dates are random and frequent. Keeping pace on a lot of devices is tough. It is complicated by a restriction, I disable installing, updating, or deleting apps on my student devices.

Though they can rearrange icons on the home screen, no kid has the power to wipe the whole thing clean and put a dozen Flappy Bird clones on there. However, as the administrator, I would have to disable this restriction (and type the pin code) before I could attempt to update the individual apps. Upon completion, I'd have to set the restriction again (and type the pin code). For one device, no big deal. As I now have 21 devices, the process is tedious.

I no longer have to manage that part manually. With iOS 7, the App Store can monitor updates in the background. As updates pile up, it will wait for the device to idle and apply all currently available updates for you with no intervention required.

This works with all those App Store restrictions enabled. Thus, a student device can receive maintenance without your intervention, and no one has to manually allow and disallow App Store access for it to happen. Unless the student catches the device applying an update (indicated by an icon animation), they'll never know it's happening.

If you are concerned about a major app update coming along that screws up your workflow, you may keep this disabled. My uses are so simple that I don't feel like this will be a problem. The extra couple hours it saves in maintenance are worth it.

AuthorJonathan Claydon