Did you know: Content Purchasing with Locations

Did you know

Jamf School Informational Series:

Content Purchasing with Locations



The purpose of this informational series is to highlight features of the Jamf School Management System that the Jamf School community may not yet know about. This article will go over different ways to set up VPP accounts to maximize flexibility when purchasing content while using Locations in both the Jamf School Management System and Apple School Manager (ASM).  

Locations with VPP in ASM

One key feature of locations in ASM is the ability to move content licenses between locations.


Although purchasing content is accomplished though Apps and Books inside ASM, the coordination of locations between ASM and Jamf School is critical for making sure content purchasing is as flexible and relevant as possible. 

There are two basic methodologies for purchasing content: centralized and decentralized. Although both methodologies often exist together in a single Jamf School instance, it is important to understand how each one relates to locations. 

Centralized purchasing: This refers to content that is purchased by a central, institution-wide department such as IT or Curriculum. Centralized purchasing can be used for smaller deployments, and it is most useful for the acquisition of content that needs to be distributed institution-wide. In centralized purchasing, content exists in a single location in ASM. 

Centralized Purchasing

In this example, all content is purchased centrally at the Administration level and is distributed from there to all relevant locations within the institution.

Decentralized purchasing: This refers to content that is purchased directly by individual locations within the institution. Decentralized purchasing is the best way to make sure that instructors have the most influence and flexibility on the content found on the device(s) used within their classrooms.  Additionally, this minimizes the need for central district-level staff to keep up with the needs of individual classrooms and instructors, thus reducing their overall stress and workload. 

Decentralized Purchasing

In this example, content is purchased at each location and is distributed to only the devices belonging to that location.

How To: Setting up Content Purchasing

Whether purchasing will be centralized or decentralized, the same basic procedure is followed:

  • Confirm that all VPP purchasers have migrated to Apps and Books in ASM. Do this by following the Apple Support article (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208257).
  • Set up at least one content manager in ASM and register that account within Jamf School. 
    • Centralized purchasing will require a single content manager associated with the top-level location within Jamf School. When purchases are assigned to the top-level location they will be available to all of the locations within Jamf School.
    • Decentralized purchasing will require one content manager per ASM location replicated in Jamf School. When purchases are assigned to an individual location they will be available only to that location within Jamf School.
    • To create a content manager account in ASM, enter the title of the role in the field labeled First Name and the location name in the field labeled Last Name. (We use the top-level location specifically for centralized purchasing.) Choose an Apple ID that will be easy to associate with the role and location that will use the account. 


Creating a Content Manager Account

A best practice is to use a naming convention that makes it easy to identify the role and location that will use the account. In this example, the role is Content Manager and the top-level location is Jamf School (which is the institution name used during the ASM setup process). The Apple ID is cm_zuludesk; chosen since it contains logical elements of both the role and the location. 

Ensure that a location-based token has been uploaded into Jamf School for each location that will be making purchases. To do this:

  • In ASM, go to Settings → Apps and Books and scroll to the My Server Tokens section on the right side of the screen. 


Location-Based Tokens
There are two types of tokens: location-based and account-based. Location-based tokens are best to use with Jamf School and are recommended by Apple.
  • Click the Download link for the desired token.
  • Open Jamf School and choose the desired location from the menu on the top right of the screen. In Jamf School, go to Organization → Settings → Content (VPP). Click the blue plus sign to add a VPP account. 


  • In Jamf School, go to Organization → Setting → Content (VPP). Click the blue plus sign to add a VPP  account.


  • In the Add VPP Account window that opens, follow the directions to upload the token file.  


Making a Purchase:

  1. Log in to the correct content manager account in ASM.
  2. Go to Apps and Books.
  3. Search for the desired content in the Search field in the middle column of the screen. Select the desired content from the search results.
  4. Open the Assign To menu and choose the location where the licenses should be assigned.


Assigning a License to a Location
If the account logged in to ASM is associated with only one location, that location will be the only choice in the Assign To menu. If the account is associated with multiple locations, each of those locations will be represented in the Assign To menu. Care should be taken to choose the correct location where licenses should be assigned.



Although centralized and decentralized purchasing are described here as two separate models, they are often used in conjunction with each other. For example, there might be a set of applications (i.e. Pages, Numbers, Keynote, etc…) needed by all students in an institution. In that case, using a centralized method for distributing those apps is optimal. However, this does not preclude the use of the decentralized model for grade- or location-specific applications. Apps acquired through centralized purchasing and those acquired through decentralized purchasing can all exist on the same devices at the same time, thus creating a complete set of applications on all devices in the institution.

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