This post was written by two of Windows Intune Mobile feature PM’s – Sharon Nakibly and Yuval Goldstein. In their words: We’re Sharon and Yuval – two program managers from the Windows Intune team. We’d like to tell you about the mobile application distribution capabilities in the Windows Intune June 2012 release. Windows Intune lets you upload and deploy mobile applications (apps) to iOS and Android devices. In this post, we’ll show you how to publish apps, select the users who can download them, and also show you how people in your company can download these apps to their devices.
Let’s make sure we have the right application files before we start. For Android apps, ask your developers for the .apk file containing the application binary. For iOS apps, ask your developer for the .ipa binary file and for the manifest XML file. This file is an XML plist file that is used to find, download and install any iOS applications that are located outside the Apple store. You can find more information on this topic in Apple’s documentation.
Make sure you have the right user group setup to match your deployment plan. For example, if you want to make the application available to all the people in the sales department, you should create a group with the relevant users associated to that group.
Let’s Upload a Mobile App
We’ll login to the Windows Intune administrator console and select “Software” from the menu on the left (like shown below).
We’ll click the “Add Software” Tasks from the list of tasks on the right to launch the software publishing application.
The software publisher will launch. Let’s click “Next”.
In this example, we’ll deploy an iOS app.
We’ll select the supported platform and provide the application files. For iOS apps, we provide the .ipa file and the manifest file. As we mentioned earlier in the post, this file is an XML plist file that is used to find, download and install any iOS applications that are located outside the Apple store.
Let’s click “Next” to show the Software description screen.
In the Software Description Screen we’ll provide information that will be shown to users in the mobile company portal when they browse the app details. Clicking “Next” takes us to the “Requirements” screen.
As a quick heads up, the screenshot below shows you how this information will show on the mobile company portal when the user browses to see app details.
Back to our admin experience, in the Requirements screen, we specify our app is only available to 4.0 OS version and beyond (we could also add a requirement that this app will only be available for tablets).
We’re almost done, let’s click “Next” to show the Summary page.
In the Summary page you can review your selections before you upload the app. Let’s click “Upload”.
When the upload is completed, the message below is shown. We’ll click “Close” and proceed to selecting the user group(s) to whom the app will be made available.
Back to the console, we’ll click “Manage Software” from the menu on the left and select the app we just uploaded. Then, we’ll click “Manage Deployments”.
When the deployment pop-up shows, we’ll select the user group called “MyGroup” and click “Add”. When we’re done, only users from this group will see the new app listed for them in the company portal. After adding the group, let’s click “Next”.
We’ll select “Available Install” from the deployment drop-down to make this app available to users from “MyGroup” and then we’ll click “Finish”.
The application is now available to the group, so let’s go download it and see what the end user experience looks like. We’ll login to the company portal from an iPhone to download the new app. The portal can be accessed at http://m.manage.microsoft.com.
Here’s the mobile company portal homepage. We’ll tap “Get Apps”.
There’s one app waiting for us in the list. The text below the app name designates the app publisher. We’ll tap the row to browse more info.
We’ll review the app details quickly, then hit “Install”.
Before the download begin, the device asks us to approve the installation – so we’ll tap “Install”.
The app will now install on the device!
Voila – This is how users download apps to their iOS devices. It’s a very similar process for Android as well.
See you on the next release,
Sharon Nakibly & Yuval Goldstein