Thomas De Reyck's Blog

Claiming an Already-Registered iPhone With Apple Configurator Is Impossible

At work, we often ask our vendors to already register iPhones and Macs into our Apple Business Manager. This allows end-users to (theoretically) set up their own device, fresh from the box, and it will automatically join our MDM solution. Often some hand-holding is still required, but it’s not a bad idea. That is, until the vendor mistakenly assigns the device to the wrong company, and the user can’t set up their device at all.

Recently I encountered such an iPhone, and hoped to fix this quickly for the end user by trying to claim the device and assigning it to our Apple Business Manager (=ABM) using Apple Configurator on a Mac. This is a procedure you can use for assigning the devices to ABM yourself, if your vendor is unable (or unwilling) to do so. Documentation for that kan be found here.

However, nowhere does it state if it’s possible to reassign a device if it’s already assigned to another company’s ABM. I gave it a few tries, but always got some non-specific error messages. I also tried enrolling the via Apple Configurator on another iPhone. This also failed, but this time the error message was clear: It’s impossible to register a device to ABM if it’s already enrolled in another ABM. The device must be returned to the vendor, as only they can fix the issue.

When you think about it, this does of course make sense. It prevents a tech-savvy end-user from claiming the iPhone as their own and releasing it from remote management. Yes, they’d need access to an ABM, but that’s not too great a hurdle.

#iPhone #Apple Configurator #Apple Business Manager