Apple Classroom Doesn't Work - Banging my head against a brick wall!

Question:

Hi all,

We are still experiencing a variety of issues with Apple Classroom not working as expected. Mostly devices show as being offline, when they are online, connected to the same wifi network, in use, in correct classes and with the correct teacher etc. Some classes do work, but some don't - all are set up in the exact same way. I have spent a significant amount of time and effort training teachers on how to use it, then it doesn't work. Many now no longer get their pupils to use iPads in lessons since they can't monitor & lock them.

The latest issue is that a couple of teachers who have recently had their iPad swapped out for a replacement (for a variety of different issues), now have the attached error appear when trying to use AC. After researching, the fix appears to be de/reallocating the iPad to someone else then back to them. The issue with this is that they will lose apps and potentially data when this happens. One is very twitchy as has backed up iDoceo before a factory reset/swap before and has still lost data. iDoceo is a specific app many teachers here use and are horrified at the thought of losing any data. I usually back it up and restore it for them, but sometimes it's impossible to prize their iPad out of their hands!

Any suggestions much appreciated. Rant over!

Jo

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Question marked as Helpful

Posted on May 13, 2024 in response to Jalapenojo

I don’t have any advice for that error message from the teacher side, but I can share what has worked for us in the past with the students showing that they are offline.

  1. Have student sign out of iCloud in their settings.
  2. Restart iPad.
  3. Sign student back into iCloud.
  4. If after the restart, the student was automatically signed in, sign out and restart again.
Question marked as Helpful

Posted on May 14, 2024 in response to Jalapenojo

Thanks. Jo, for flagging this. I'll get one of our team to advise.

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Question marked as Helpful

Posted on May 13, 2024 in response to Jalapenojo

I don’t have any advice for that error message from the teacher side, but I can share what has worked for us in the past with the students showing that they are offline.

  1. Have student sign out of iCloud in their settings.
  2. Restart iPad.
  3. Sign student back into iCloud.
  4. If after the restart, the student was automatically signed in, sign out and restart again.

Posted on May 14, 2024 in response to evlamis

Hi @Eileen,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. We lock iCloud settings down on our school iPads, to prevent pupils from being able to sign out of their managed Apple ID and in with their personal Apple ID, to try and circumnavigate the restrictions. Otherwise I would definitely give that a go.

Jo

Question marked as Helpful

Posted on May 14, 2024 in response to Jalapenojo

Thanks. Jo, for flagging this. I'll get one of our team to advise.

Posted on May 15, 2024 in response to PeterF-AppleEDU

Hi Peter,

Many thanks, much appreciated.

Jo

Posted on May 16, 2024 in response to Jalapenojo

We've had a carbon copy of what you have described here in Glasgow. That said, I like to fix things and I was determined to get it working and got it working I did in my own school and have manged to replicate it across the city. I would reitterate what Eileen said but I'd also make sure:

  1. iOS is up to date with the latest version on teacher and pupil devices (doesn't always matter but no harm in doing so).
  2. Apple ID Passwords have been reset to allow students to recall them for step 3.
  3. If devices don't appear at first as Eileen said have them log out and back in of their Apple ID - it can sometimes hang at this step and throw up an error - persevere and the student will appear on Classroom once they have logged back in.

In terms of you not allowing logging in and out of your Apple IDs so they can't use personal accounts, can you not prevent this with your MDM solution?

Also you are correct, if a user signs out of their Apple ID (User A) on an iPad (1) and another user signs in with their Apple ID (User B) into the same iPad (1). User A's details remain on Apple Classroom and are visible via the (pupil) iPad (1) Apple Classroom settings. The only way around this I've found, is to completely wipe the device and start again.

That said, it does actually work when you work through the steps, I created a guide for our teachers with 23 different steps to take to get it working and it works. It's simply a process of elimination. However, if your pupils cannot sign in or out of their Apple IDs I'm afraid the process stops at that point.

Happy to discuss further if you like.

Posted on May 23, 2024 in response to Señor-Chris

Hi Chris, thank you so much for your reply and helpful tips. Much appreciated.

I am the same and I have tried everything I can think of, but nothing seems to be working. Apple have now reached out and are supporting. We can unlock and lock Apple IDs in Jamf Pro, but some of our pupils are very switched on, and may identify that their Apple ID is no longer greyed out, so they can therefore sign out and sign in with a personal Apple ID - correct me if I'm wrong and there's another method in Jamf Pro of preventing this.

Also, playing Devil's advocate, this is a lot of work considering how many devices are affected. Surely we shouldn't have to do this? Especially considering the volume of devices affected. I don't have time to do this on top of my workload.

I admire your dedication. Our teachers would throw a fit if they had to follow 23 steps to resolve an issue. Just not prepared for the backlash at this point.

I have sent a connection request on LinkedIn :)

Many thanks again!

Jo

Posted on May 20, 2024 in response to Jalapenojo

Hello Jo: 

Sorry you’re having this experience! Let’s see what we can do to troubleshoot.

This is a very helpful screenshot you included. This tells us that your IT team has chosen MDM synced classes. MDM synced classes require the third party Mobile Device Management solution to push down a profile to the correct devices belonging to the correct users. This is probably why the “swapped out” devices are not working as expected and “de/reallocating” seems to provide a fix. 

Here’s my recommendations: 

1) Before doing any Classroom troubleshooting, ensure that all devices are on the most recent operating system and that all users are on the same WiFi network with Bluetooth enabled. MDM solutions can assist in managing/enforcing these.

2) Check the MDM vendor on a better device “swapping” and/or de/reallocation workflow. I’m not sure which MDM vendor your institution uses, but your IT team will know. 

3) If there isn’t a satisfactory resolution with your MDM vendor, consider alternate Classroom types. There are alternate Classroom types that may produce better results and do not require MDM involvement, such as Apple School Manager synced or nearby unmanaged classes

Now that most institutions are on summer break, it may be a good time to see if one of these alternate classes produce a better experience for your teachers and your learners.

Posted on May 23, 2024 in response to KevinF-AppleEDU

Hi Kevin,

Thank you very much for your reply. I actually look after our iPad estate (700+ devices) as well as our MDM, and still try and keep my hand in, when it comes to teaching, as much as possible.

  1. As many devices as possible are on the latest iOS. This is almost impossible to realistically enforce though. They are on the same WiFi network, all with Bluetooth enabled.
  2. We use Jamf Pro. Not sure what you mean about the device “swapping” and/or de/reallocation workflow. We have always followed the same, quick and easy workflow and it has always worked perfectly until a month or so ago.
  3. Ah interesting. I'm reluctant to implement the ASM MIS sync as I haven't heard positive things about it, in comparison to manually updating ASM. There is also a difference in our Managed Apple ID/email address as we were an early adopter (8 years+) of 1:1 iPad, so it was pre-ASM. We were told the Managed Apple IDs had to be different to email addresses by our AAES at the time. I'm unfamiliar with nearby unmanaged classes, so I'd need to take a look at this. Again, willing to do so, but just trying to understand why this has stopped working and if we can get to the root of the problem, rather than implement a workaround at this stage.

Many thanks for your advice and suggestions. I do really appreciate it.

Jo

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