Making use of the "iPhone Configuration Utility"
If you’re like me, you have more than one Apple device. And on occasion, you either migrate to a new device, or need to reconfigure an old device. Doing this is time consuming, and error prone when doing it manually.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make this process simpler. The one I want to describe is making use of Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility. This utility allows you to create a configuration profile that can be used on OS X or iOS devices to apply desired settings. A complete description of this utility is beyond the scope of this article, but I do want to describe how I use it to make my life simpler.
When I configure a new device, I want it to have access to all of my email accounts, my commonly used WiFi networks, my S/MIME certificates, VPN, etc. iPhone Configuration Utility allows me to apply all of these settings at once on a new device.
Email — I added settings for each of my email accounts (email address, user name, login, server addresses, S/MIME certificate). It’s up to you whether you include the password, or require the user to manually enter that for better security. I configured my gmail accounts as Exchange ActiveSync accounts so that I can easily gain access to my contacts, calendars, etc.
Wi-Fi — you can save the SSID and login passwords for commonly networks
S/MIME — I included the public and private certificates for sending and receiving signed/encrypted email from each of my accounts. For further flexibility, I created a separate configuration profile with my expired certificates so I can read old email encrypted messages as well.
VPN — I use OS X Server to provide a VPN at home that I can connect to when traveling or using public hotspots.
My university has a separate profile that they provide that includes access to my work VPN and wifi network.
When I need to configure/reconfigure an iOS device, I simply plug it into my Mac, and then use the iPhone Configuration Utility to install the profile. A few seconds later, and all of my settings are updated and correct. You can also use the same profile to update your settings on your Mac as well.
I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of what can be done with this application, but it has already saved me a bunch of time.