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Like this article? We recommend Using the iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU)

Using the iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU)

Once you install and open the iPCU, you’ll see the following main tabs in the Library, also shown in Figure 1:

  • Devices: Lists the iOS devices that have been connected to your computer.
  • Applications: Lists your applications that can be installed on iOS devices that are connected to your computer.
  • Provisioning Profiles: Lists profiles that enable devices to be used for iPhone OS development, as authorized by Apple Developer Connection, or for running enterprise applications not distributed using the iTunes Store.
  • Configuration Profiles: Lists the configuration profiles you’ve created. You can create new profiles, edit existing ones, send them to users, or install them on a device connected via USB.

Figure 1 Main screen of the iPhone Configuration Utility.

Before creating a configuration profile, you should understand that each profile can contain one or multiple setting types. Apple calls these collections of settings payloads. You can create one profile with one or more, or all the payloads. However, you might consider creating multiple profiles, each with one or more payloads. This can be useful, for example, when including digital certificates, so you can update VPN and other settings while retaining the existing certificates.

On some payloads you can include a username and password for that particular service. If you don’t specify, the profile can be used for multiple users, and they are prompted for their login credentials on the device. If you do preconfigure the login credentials for users, you should distribute the profile in signed and encrypted format to secure it.

To get started creating a profile, select Configuration Profiles, and click the New button. Then begin by entering the General settings (see Figure 2). The Identifier should be unique and follow the format: com.companyname.identifier, such as com.abc_corp.wifi. This is what is used to identify the profiles when installing them onto devices. If another profile exists with the same Identifier, it will be replaced with the new one, excluding any Exchange settings.

Figure 2 Example of the General settings of a Configuration Profile.

Once you're finished, you can distribute it to users by email or upload to a website. To email the configuration file using Outlook, click the Share button on the toolbar. To manually distribute the file, click Export. You can also connect devices to the computer via USB and install the profiles directly using the iPCU.

When sharing or exporting a profile, you’ll be prompted for a security option. If you sign it, users can’t install it if it's altered. Plus, it can only be updated by another profile with the same identifier, and created by the same copy of iPCU. Signing and encrypting it secures the settings (including any passwords) and ties it to a specific device.

After you’ve shared or exported a profile, you'll see the .mobileconfig file. This is what you give the users. When they open or download it, the installation process will start.

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