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Removal of the Device Admin API for Android Devices

Vikram Derebail

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May 9, 2018 3:31 pm

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In December 2017, Google announced that it will deprecate the Device Admin API in the next Android release (Android P), scheduled for 2018 and subsequently, it will be completely removed from the Android 2019 release (Android Q onwards).

With the introduction of Android Enterprise features (work-managed device and work profile modes of management) since Android 5.0, the Device Admin feature is now considered as a legacy approach to manage Android devices. As the Device Admin API’s are no longer relevant to the present day enterprise requirements, Google recommends that customers adopt the work-managed device mode and work profile mode to manage their Android devices.

What this means for ZENworks?

ZENworks will eventually discontinue the Device Admin API feature (also known as the basic mode of enrollment) in its early 2019 release. Thereafter, the only ways to manage an Android device would be either in the work profile mode or work-managed device mode.

If you are currently managing Android devices in your Management Zone using the basic mode of enrollment, that is the Device Admin API, then we recommend that you upgrade ZENworks to either of the following versions, based on your requirements:

  • To support BYOD devices (Work profile): ZENworks 2017 Update 2 or a later version
  • To support company-owned devices (Work-managed): ZENworks 2017 Update 3 or a later version

Migrating from Device Admin to Work Profile Mode

The work profile mode is typically meant for personally-owned (BYOD) devices. You can migrate from basic mode (Device Admin) to the work profile mode with minimal disruptions. To migrate from the basic mode to the work profile mode:

Step 1: Upgrade your ZENworks zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 2 or a later version.
Step 2: Create an Android Enterprise Subscription.
Step 3: Create an Android Enterprise Enrollment Policy and assign it to users.

Users who have already enrolled in the basic mode will receive a notification to set up the work profile; they simply need to follow the prompts to setup their devices. New users can download the ZENworks agent app from Google Play Store and begin enrolling their devices in the work profile mode, right away.

For more info refer Integrating ZENworks with Android Enterprise documentation

Migrating from Device Admin to Work-managed Device Mode

The work-managed device mode is typically meant for company-owned devices. As you need to factory reset your device to migrate to the work-managed device mode, this method can be considered to be disruptive for users. Therefore, we recommend a phased migration process in which new devices are enrolled as work-managed devices and existing devices are treated like BYOD devices and enrolled into work profile for the time being, until these devices can be migrated to the work-managed device mode.

To migrate from the basic mode (Device Admin) to the work-managed device mode:

Step 1: Upgrade your ZENworks zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 or a later version.
Step 2: Create an Android Enterprise Subscription.
Step 3: Create an Android Enterprise Enrollment Policy and assign it to users.

The existing users need to factory reset their devices and simply follow the prompts to setup the device as a work-managed device. New users can enroll their device on first-time boot or on factory reset boot and follow the prompts to setup the device.

FAQs:

  1. My zone is currently at ZENworks 2017 / ZENworks 2017 Update 1 and I want to start managing Android devices.
    :: Upgrade your zone ZENworks 2017 Update 3 and benefit from the extended Android enterprise features that will enable you to manage Android devices.
  2. How do I manage BYOD devices?
    :: Ensure that you upgrade your zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 2 or a later version.
  3. How do I manage corporate-owned devices?
    :: Ensure that you upgrade your zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 or a later version.
  4. How do I manage both BYOD and company-owned devices?
    :: Ensure that you upgrade your zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 or a later version.
  5. Our zone is currently at ZENworks 2017 /ZENworks 2017 Update 1 and I am managing Android devices with ZENworks App version 17.3. However, the ZENworks App was automatically updated on the device to the latest version and now I see only the login screen of the app. What do I do next?
    :: In this case, the devices will now be unmanaged. You need to upgrade your zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 or a later version and enroll the device in either the work profile mode or work-managed device mode.
  6. I do not wish to upgrade my zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 and would like to remain at ZENworks 2017 /ZENworks 2017 Update 1 to manage the Android devices.
    :: We recommend that you upgrade to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 to better manage Android devices. However, if you still want to remain at the 2017 or the 2017 Update 1 version, then refer to the following steps:

    • Uncheck the automatic update of the app on WiFi/Data network option in the Google Play Store app of your managed device.
    • Request your users to not update the ZENworks App, if prompted for an update.
  7. My zone is at ZENworks 2017 / ZENworks 2017 update 1 and I am not able to enroll new users using ZENworks App v17.3 or a later version.
    :: You need to upgrade your zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 or a later version and then start enrolling users in either the work profile mode or work-managed device mode.
  8. a) My user’s device, which had ZENworks Agent App, was updated to Android Q (2019) and I am now not able to manage this device.

    b) My user complains that ZENworks Agent App crashes after updating his device to Android Q (2019).
    :: You need to upgrade your zone to ZENworks 2017 Update 3 or a later version and re-enroll these devices in either the work profile mode or work-managed mode of enrollment using the latest ZENworks Agent App version.
  9. Can I manage Android 4.x devices as work profile or work managed devices using ZENworks?
    :: No. The work profile or work-managed device modes are applicable only on Android 5.0 and later versions.
  10. Can I still manage my Android 4.x devices?
    :: If you still have ZENworks Agent already installed on Android 4.x devices, it may continue to work in the basic mode; however, you will not be able to get any App updates on these devices.

Note: At the time of publishing this post, ZENworks 2017 Update 3 is currently in Beta (Until end of May 2018) and release is scheduled for Q3 2018. If you wish to participate in the Beta program, please send an email to zen@microfocus.com.

 

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Categories: Configuration Management, Endpoint Security, Security, Technical, Unified Endpoint Management, ZENworks, ZENworks Configuration Management, ZENworks Mobile Management, ZENworks Suite

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