Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Squeezing Extra Email Out Of One Gmail Account?

With many campuses introducing groups of iPads into the classrooms, one of the barriers to success is creating and managing campus-owned Apple ID accounts.  One great trick with Gmail email is the ability to have more than one email address for your one Gmail account.

Normally, your personal Apple ID will be used with the App Store to install free or paid apps onto your iPads. In an educational setting like AISD, the district wants to maintain ownership of all apps purchased with district money. In that case, you do not want to install apps onto an iPad using a teacher's personal Apple ID, because doing so will forever marry the ownership of the app to your personal ID. You cannot later transfer ownership of an app from one Apple ID to another one.

The problem get worse when a campus decides to create a campus-owned email account for each set, classroom or teacher that will be adding apps to the iPads.  Nobody wants to maintain a bunch of new email addresses that don't belong to a specific person.

Gmail to the rescue!  One strategy for maintaining a large number of iPads in a setting where they don't all use the same apps is to use the Gmail+ email addresses.  The campus creates one Gmail account, favoriteschool@gmail.com .  That account lives as an admin email account that one person will administer during the year.  For each set or teacher that needs an Apple ID, create the free Apple ID account by using a "+name" designation like, "favoriteschool+bluebirdcart@gmail.com", "favoriteschool+room102@gmail.com", or "favoriteschool+5thgrd@gmail.com". 

The Gmail+ email is seen by Apple as a different email account, so all of the examples above would be seen as different Apple IDs.  Being that they belong to 'favoriteschool@gmail.com', all email would go to that one gmail account. The administrator will be able to see all App Store receipts and communication for each ID.

All the teachers need to do is create the Apple ID using a designated Gmail+ address and use that ID for their iPads.  After that, all of the iPad apps will be installed using that ID and the campus will always have ownership over the app, no matter who it belongs to on campus.

For more on creating Apple IDs that are not connected to any credit card, see this article.

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