Android system updates: Adjust MDM settings now

25. February, 2021

Android’s market share of mobile operating systems is 68% in Austria in January 2021.[1] Around 55 per cent of them now run on Android 10, just under 19 per cent on Android 9, and the rest are distributed down to Android 4.4.[2]

In September 2020, Google released Android 11. Google’s Pixel has already received the update, and other manufacturers will follow later this year. Android 11 should improve the privacy of users. Like Android 10, it also influences the management of the devices via IKARUS mobile.management. We have summarised the most significant changes again.

Update to Android 10

After the update to Android 10, devices that are rolled out with the device administrator are rejected by the MDM server and can no longer be managed. Google no longer supports the combination of Android 10 and the device administrator activation method.

In order to fully manage a device with Android 10 via IKARUS mobile.management, the Device Owner method must be used. For this, the device must either be new or reset to factory settings. When starting the device, a code can be scanned in the MDM system. Thus the MDM activation is performed directly during the device setup.

Privately-owned devices can also be managed via IKARUS mobile.management under Android 10 with the Work Profile setting (without a device administrator).

Our tips:

  • The Device Owner method already works from Android 8. We recommend that you always create new MDM devices as Device Owner to avoid future problems when updating the operating system.
  • Existing devices rolled out with the device administrator should be switched to the Device Owner (company device) or Work Profile only (a private device with business use) before the system update to Android 10. This is how you avoid the devices losing the connection due to the update.

Update to Android 11

Android 11 also only allows administration as a Device Owner. Furthermore, it is no longer possible to manage both the device and the Work Profile – Google is forcing administrators to decide between the variants. When updating to Android 11, a device with both settings loses the connection to MDM, but the Work Profile remains manageable.

Our tip:

  • If the device itself continues to be managed after the update to Android 11, the work profile can be deactivated in advance. The device will then remain manageable with Android 11 without further action.
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