Making a Master

Process for Syncing/Cloning Multiple iOS devices from a Master

The Master

Who should be the iOS Device Master Builder?

If you know how to organize files into folders you can be taught to be a Master Builder. Since the process is fairly simple it is a prime opportunity to get your most knowledgeable content teachers involved. I don’t know many tech support staff who would feel comfortable or knowledgeable enough to organize the multitude of apps into folders that facilitate curriculum integration. The role of the tech staff should be one of support coach through the building process. 

The Master Builder(s): This should be someone or a team knowledgeable about the apps and their curriculum. They should be trained on how to install and organize apps.  I suggest getting them a sub or paying them a stipend during the summer to get the Master ready for fall deployment. Mastering an iOS device that facilitates curriculum integration and fit for  takes concentrated time with help around if needed.

Types of Possible Masters

I have mastered and seen several types of masters.  The biggest determining factor is intended user or group. 


Scenario 1: 1 school set of iOS devices used cross grade levels and content areas.

Master Content: The Master should be eclectic with a variety of apps and levels.  Group in folders according skill or content area
Scenario 2: Grade level class set- The classroom teacher should be the be the one to master the iOS device.  It should be organized into folders, but can be more specific and organized in a way the teacher feels best for their classroom.

Choosing a Device to Master

Size is important when choosing a Master 1st make sure it is the same size as the iOS devices.The biggest problem is if the master is a 32 gig and the ones to be cloned are 8 gig. You are apt to have too large of a Master for the clones. I have successfully restored a larger clone from a smaller master

Generation or model of the iOS devices can be important. I haven’t noticed a difference in Generation 3 & 4 yet for iPods. Generation 2 can NOT be updated past 4.2.1 at this time.  Generation 2 devices: As of right now I haven’t noticed many apps not working, but I’m sure over the next year there will be several apps that utilize features in upcoming versions of the iOS. I have yet to experience cloning cross-generation for iPads.

Building the Master

Step 1: Preparing the Master- Hard Restore

  1. Hook up to the Mothership you intend to sync the apps and all clones from.
  2. Do a Hard Restore*. If the device also needs the iOS firmware updated the Restore process will complete that. 
  3. Set Up a New Device: Name it with a system in mind and uncheck all boxes. Click Done.

Step 2: Install the Apps you want with no care to the order.

Click the Device

  1. Click Device's Apps Tab
  2. Check Sync Apps
  3. UN-Check Automatically Sync Apps-This is a headache if left checked.
  4. Select all the Apps you want for this Master with no care to order.
  5. Click Apply-(lower right corner)

Note: Let it Sync UNDISTURBED. Can take 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on amount syncing. (This makes the next step quicker and makes it less likely to blow out folders)

Tip: If you plan to put ALL the apps on the device or if you are installing more than you’re not: Click in an empty box next to an app while holding down the Command Key will SELECT ALL.  Then just uncheck the ones you don’t want.

Step 3: Make Folders

  1. Organize into Content, Skill, or Category folders. Avoid storing in grade level folders.  Often apps are applicable to many grade levels. 
  2. This is an ideal time to team with content and grade level specialist to get helping organizing the Master to facilitate curriculum integration.
  3. You can click Apply often.  Since all apps were already installed the device will now sync quickly.  

Step 4: Master Settings

When talking time savers this is a BIG one.  Preset ALL Restrictions, settings, etc. on the Master and they will transfer to the clone.  The ONLY Essential Restriction that MUST be left on is Installing APP

Restrictions: Let's Talk:

For Student Devices

Tip: Restrictions Code: Use a different Restriction Code for Each School.  Makes it easier to change.

If the Device is going Home, Turn Off Safari and put on a Safe Browser (iNetSafety Bubble, Mobi).  Watch for Updates that allows us to put in our School Filter.

It will be up to each school system to decide these Setting.

Other Things to Sync: Other things you may want to install on the Master: 

    • Pictures.
    • Rules, care instructions, or other in iBooks

What NOT to install on the Master

    • Videos-It eats up precious memory.  Consider using web-based videos through Youtube or School Tube.
Your Master is Ready to go for the Cloning Process. If there is considerable time between Mastering and cloning, make sure Apps and Firmware are up to date before Cloning.