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What Apple’s Discontinuation of Fleetsmith Means for Companies

The clock is ticking for MSPs and IT teams that use Apple’s Fleetsmith Mobile Device Management (MDM). Apple announced early this year that it will discontinue the service in October, which means companies that rely on it will need to find an alternative in the next few months if they want to continue offering Apple device management.

Fleetsmith helps IT admins automate device setup, updates, patching, security, and other management tasks for Apple devices, including Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. It also helps provide intelligence and full fleet visibility across a customer’s environment. Apple infamously acquired the tool in 2020.

The shutdown comes as many device admins face higher demand for Apple device management than ever before. Apple devices have been growing in popularity in the workplace, with IDC reporting that the average penetration of macOS devices is 23 percent in the United States, up from 17 percent in 2019. That’s a fast rise from the two percent of devices Apple accounted for in the office 20 years ago.

What should companies do if they leverage Fleetsmith MDM today to manage Apple devices? The first step is to start considering alternatives sooner rather than later, so they can make a thoughtful and educated decision on what tools they should migrate to in order to ensure continuous support for their end-users.

The good news is there are plenty of alternatives today for companies to consider. Apple, for one, offers Apple Business Essentials, which is a free offering from Apple for businesses to support device management, 24/7 support, and cloud storage for the business. This tool also incorporates some of the functionalities that Apple received as part of its acquisition of Fleetsmith; however, while Apple Business Essentials may provide many of the basic needs for device management, IT administrators and MSPs may also want to consider more sophisticated, third-party solutions.

Thanks to the continued growth in the space over the past few years, there are now a number of third-party Apple-focused MDM solutions on the market that can also be good for IT administrators and MSPs to consider. Many of the third-party tools, such as Addigy, offer much more advanced and comprehensive capabilities for Apple device management, which could be a significant differentiator for an administrator and allow them to provide better, more meaningful services to customers that fully cover their needs. 

As customers continue to advance their digital transformation strategies, with 25 percent of SMBs saying they planned to invest in this area in 2021 and beyond, it’s important that MSPs and IT admins continue to ensure they have the tools to support those needs. As many of these strategies may include Apple devices, this means IT teams should take the time to ensure the tools they have in place are fully able to support these strategies, and proactively adapt as needed if the tool they currently leverage (such as Apple Fleetsmith) is being shuttered.

The good news is that Apple device management continues to pose a significant opportunity for MSPs to differentiate their services if they’re able to provide levels of support above and beyond the competition. Having the right tools in place to do this will allow IT admins and MSPs to seize this opportunity and act as trusted advisors to their customers.

To learn how Addigy is making it easy and cost-effective for Fleetsmith customers to migrate, request a free 14-day trial today!

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