It is important to note that if a school wants the benefit of location services and time-based (schedule) services then these apps need to be downloaded and location services turned on for these benefits to be realized. The apps can either be pushed to the device from the dashboard (automatically or manually) or they can be downloaded from their respective app stores. The Apps also provide for push notifications and triggering of manual app installation (i.e. Android and non-VPP).
There are currently two apps, iOS and Android, which complement the dashboard functionality in the following ways:
- Access to the Safe Browser which opens the Home Page configured in the dashboard for a specific profile.
- The ability for the user to add bookmarks within the browser.
- Access to My Catalogue to view and download apps, books and media which has been sent via the web dashboard.
- The ability to Sync the device with the web dashboard to align any changes that may have been made.
- A view of the details in the About section which shows more technical information.
This browser is a commonly used feature when all other browsers have been disabled. If the user is browsing using this browser then all of the web history and web filtering information is recorded and is applied. These settings can be configured in the Profiles > Safe Content section. In addition to this, the administrator can set a default home page for each profile. This usually is the school's website or intranet site and is a safe, controlled environment for browsing the internet.
Please note: This is needed for non-supervised iOS devices where web-filtering cannot be activated in Safari. On Android, Mobile Guardian cannot hook into 3rd party browsers, so they need to be disabled. This will force browser activity through the MG safe browser.
The user can create bookmarks as they browse. This is similar to how bookmarks are created in the web browser.
My Catalogue is the newest feature of the app and web dashboard. In short, it allows the administrator to have full control of the content that gets pushed to the device as well as allow for the option of the user downloading a pre-defined list of books and apps.
The administrator can decide if they would like to auto-install the app (Apple VPP only) or allow the user to rather download the app (self-install). This feature can be accessed through the Applications View by clicking on the settings tab which now includes a Self-install Settings configuration.
It is set up similarly to the way Auto-install Settings are setup up, with the selecting of Tags, School owned or Home owned devices flags in order to allow the option for the user to download.
Apps have two states within My Catalogue. The first being uninstalled which will show the button for the user to “Install” the app. Once the app has been installed then there will be an indication of this (tick) which will let the user know that the app has been installed. It is important to note that, just as with auto-installed apps, if the profile does not allow for the app to be in use for a specific schedule or location then this will be hidden from the user and profile restriction remain. The App will also not be launched from the MG App, it will be able to be launched from the home screen as normal.
In the web dashboard Media section, the administrator can push media in the form of Web URL’s, Videos and Audio to the device based on tags. These will then be displayed in the My Catalogue section in my the same way apps are displayed. The only difference is that there is no self-install, these are merely links and/or files that the user can “Open” and consume. The media will be listed based on pre-defined configurations determined by the administrator and if the user wants to open then then they can select the “Open” button.
It is important to note that even if a web url may be listed as a media item, the profile restrictions still apply. An example would be if the profile restricts the use of YouTube and the media item is a YouTube video, this will still be blocked unless either YouTube is allowed, or the specific url is whitelisted within the profile.
Books works in much the same way with a few minor differences depending on the type of book that is listed. If VPP is used to push books to the device (similar to apps) then there will be a similar flow in the user installing the book and the confirmation that the book has been installed (tick). The user will then be able to view the book from with the iBook section. If the book is a PDF, for example then the user will be allowed to “Open” the book listing and view it from within the App.
Main points to note when using My Catalogue:
- Know which type of App/Book/Media you are wanting to allow to be downloaded or consumed as this will determine the user's actions within the app.
- Know how many licences you have available (VPP licences for example).
- Know which restrictions you have applied in the specific profiles as this will also allow and disallow certain Apps/Books/Media to be accessed.
The About page is a page detailing technical information about the device. It shows the current app build version, the support desk email address incase of any technical issues that may be experienced, the profile that is currently being applied to the device, the last successful sync date and time.
There is also a manual Sync button which can be used by the user if required. This will normally be used to update the device state if profile changes have been made in the school dashboard and you wish to reflect that change before the application syncs to the server according to the configured poll period. Device syncing is usually done automatically or via the web dashboard.